Title: “Next to Impossible” – The remarkable life of Albert Chalmers Borella VC
Author: Chalmers, Bradley A
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2015
Cover: Hard Cover without Dust Jacket – 510 pages
Comments: Bushman, farmhand, artist, metropolitan fireman, decorated soldier, soldier settler, POW commandant. At ease in the company of the King or the common man, Albert Chalmers Borella VC did it all. This is his remarkable life story.
In 1918 Albert Borella (1881-1968) led a platoon in an attack to straighten the front line beyond Villers-Bretonneux, from which a major British offensive was to be launched a few weeks later. While ahead of his troops, he single-handedly captured a machine-gun. Then, after clearing a trench and dug-outs, he inspired his men to hold out during heavy enemy counter-attacks. Borella had earlier received the Military Medal and been Mentioned in Despatches.
Although he had enlisted in Townsville (from Darwin), after the war he lived in Victoria as a farmer. Borella also served in the Second World War, and afterwards settled in Albury, New South Wales.
His Victoria Cross citation:
‘For most conspicuous bravery in attack. Whilst leading his platoon with the first wave, Lieutenant Borella marked an enemy machine gun firing through our barrage. He ran out ahead of his men into the barrage, shot two German machine gunners with his revolver, and captured the gun. He then led his party, now reduced to ten men and two Lewis guns, against a very strongly held trench, using his revolver, and later a rifle, with great effect, causing many enemy casualties. His leading and splendid example resulted in the garrison being quickly shot or capturred. Two large dug outs were also bombed, and thirty prisoners taken. Subsequently the enemy twice counter attacked in strong force, on the second occasion outnumbering Lieutenant Borella’s platoon by ten to one, but his cool determination inspired his men to resist heroically, and the enemy were repulsed, with very heavy losses.’