James Jamison (Jim) BLACK DSO, VD, MID*

BLACK, James Jamison

Service Numbers: Officer, VX114275, V144420
Enlisted: 20 August 1914
Last Rank: Colonel
Last Unit: AIF Headquarters
Born: MELBOURNE, VIC, 23 August 1887
Home Town: Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Scotch College, Melbourne
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1 January 1952, aged 64 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

20 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 6th Infantry Battalion
19 Oct 1914: Involvement Captain, 6th Infantry Battalion
19 Oct 1914: Embarked Captain, 6th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
6 Sep 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, 6th Infantry Battalion
16 Sep 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Major, 14th Field Ambulance
20 Nov 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 7th Field Ambulance, To be Lt. Col and command 7th Field Ambulance
3 Dec 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, AIF Headquarters, Transferred to AIF HQ London
1 Jan 1918: Honoured Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, LONDON GAZETTE: 1 January 1918 on page 27 at position 3
25 Feb 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Officer, Appointment terminated

World War 2 Service

21 Aug 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Colonel, SN VX114275
21 Aug 1946: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Colonel, SN VX114275
Date unknown: Enlisted SN V144420
Date unknown: Discharged SN V144420

Help us honour James Jamison Black's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Zidane McNamara

Courtesy of the Scotch College

James ‘Jim’ Black was a qualified medical practitioner when he enlisted on 20 August 1914. He was appointed Captain and made Regimental Medical Officer of the 6th Infantry Battalion. He embarked with it on 5 December 1914. On 5 April he embarked for Gallipoli. He was at the landing on 25 April, where he clearly did a superb job. the Collegian quoted an article from The Argus of 11 June 1915: ‘Jim Black (Dr.) has made a great name for himself. He did a hero’s work, being up with the men all the time, instead of behind them, and time after time he was out in a hell of a fire, calmly tying up wounds and dressing them, then picking the men up, he carried them back to some safe spot, and ran back into the line again. All the men of the 6th Battalion to whom I have spoken say they will never forget him. He must have at least fifty lives to his credit, and to get each of these he took his own life in his hands.’

He was Mentioned in Despatches for this work on 25-6 April and for similar efforts at Cape Helles on 8 and 9 May. Jim was praised for ‘attending to wounded under fire and showing great devotion to duty under great risks and in the face of danger.’ [see original document below – some of his service record suggests he won this for ‘conspicuous gallantry’ at Gallipoli in May –June, but this date sounds improbable.].

On about 12 May Jim received a gunshot wound to the left knee. He was evacuated to a hospital ship, where he was attend by another old Collegian, Lt-Colonel Fred Bird. A piece of shell was removed from Jim’s knee in Alexandria. He returned to Gallipoli in mid-July and although the knee wound re-opened and became septic, remained on duty until 25 August. He also contracted a fever, possibly enteric, in this period and was evacuated to Malta shortly after being promoted to Major. Later in September he was sent to England. For a time in 1916 Jim was Senior Medical Officer at Epsom Military Hospital. He was Mentioned in Despatches again in April 1916. He was in Egypt by mid-1916 and after attachment to various units, including an engineer unit, he was sent to France in June.

In November 1916 Jim was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and given command of the 7th Field Ambulance. He served in the terrible battle of Bullecourt, and it was for his work here that he received his Distinguished Service Order in January 1918 (see recommendation below). His recommendation explained that during the battle Jim commanded an Advanced Dressing Station at Vaulx-Vracourt, where ‘he worked magnificently, often under heavy shell fire and was largely responsible for the early evacuation of the wounded, large in numbers’. It praised Black’s devotion to duty.

In May 1917 Jim was hospitalised with an accidental wound to the forehead. He rejoined the unit later that month. He was Mentioned In Despatches again in December 1917. That month he was also transferred to AIF Headquarters in London and later that month embarked for Australia at his own expense. In February 1918 he was discharged from the Army at the age of 30. He served with the Australian Army Medical Corps again in the Second World War, as a Colonel (1942-46).

Jim resumed civilian medical practice. He had married Eva Waratah Brown (d. 1980), sister of Old Boy Royston John Danks Brown (SC 1902-09) in 1910 and they had four daughters. He died at East Melbourne in 1952.