Albert JACKA VC, MC+Bar

Badge Number: 00001, Sub Branch: St Kilda, Victoria
00001

JACKA, Albert

Service Number: 465
Enlisted: 15 September 1914, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 14th Infantry Battalion
Born: Geelong, Victoria. Australia, 10 January 1893
Home Town: Wedderburn, Loddon, Victoria
Schooling: Wedderburn School
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Natural causes (kidney disorder), Caufield Military Hospital, Victoria, 17 January 1932, aged 39 years
Cemetery: St Kilda Cemetery, Victoria
Memorials: Forest Service of Victoria Roll of Honour, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, North Brother War Memorial, Wedderburn Memorial Gates & Jacka Park, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

15 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 465, Melbourne, Victoria
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 465, 14th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 465, 14th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 465, 14th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
28 Aug 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 14th Infantry Battalion,

Promoted following award of VC

12 Sep 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 14th Infantry Battalion
29 Apr 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 14th Infantry Battalion
7 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 14th Infantry Battalion, Pozières
15 Mar 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 14th Infantry Battalion
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 14th Infantry Battalion, Messines
8 Jul 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Captain, 14th Infantry Battalion, Shot by a sniper at Ploegsteert Wood
26 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 14th Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood
16 May 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Captain, 14th Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux, Mustard gas attack
10 Jan 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, 14th Infantry Battalion

WW1

The details provided are taken from the book "Stealth Raiders - a few daring men in 1918" written by Lucas Jordan, published 2017, refer to page 268. Prior to the war he was a labourer of Wedderburn Vic. He enlisted 18th Sept 1914 aged 21 years. He was allocated to the 14th Infantry Battalion, and was promoted through the ranks reaching the rank of Captain. During this war period he earned the VC and the MC and bar. He survived the war and departed the UK for home 6th Sept 1919.

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"Jacka and the RSL"

An excerpt from the Biography, "Jacka VC" by Ian Grant (McMillan, Australia 1989)

" ... Jacka became a prominent official in the 14th Battalion Association and also successfully sought office in the St Kilda Branch of what was to become known as the Returned Soldiers League. The St Kilda Branch became known as The Hero's Club because of Jacka's association with it. The RSL provided a meeting ground where common experiences could be remembered and shared. It was also seen to provide the most appropriate vehicle for ensuring the well-being of the returned men. ..."

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Biography contributed by Kathleen Bambridge

He was a fencer employed by the Forestry Department in Wedderburn Victoria.  Returned to Australia on Euripides and returned to his home in Victoria.  October 1919.

Biography

"Albert Jacka (1893-1932), soldier and merchant, was born on 10 January 1893 at Layard near Winchelsea, Victoria, fourth child of Nathaniel Jacka, a Victorian-born labourer, later a farmer and contractor, and his English wife Elizabeth, née Kettle. The family moved to Wedderburn when Albert was 5. After elementary schooling, Bert worked as a labourer with his father, then for the Victorian State Forests Department. He was a shy youth, but excelled at sports, especially cycling.

Jacka enlisted on 18 September 1914 as a private in the 14th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, and trained at Broadmeadows camp. His unit embarked on 22 December and spent two months training in Egypt before landing at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli Peninsula, on 26 April 1915. Early on 19 May the Turks launched a massive counter-attack along practically the entire Anzac line. At about 4 a.m. they rushed Courtney's Post. Amid frenzied fighting some Turks captured a twelve-yard (11 m) section of trench, one end of which was guarded by Jacka. For several minutes he fired warning shots into the trench wall until reinforcements arrived and, after shouting his instructions, he and three others sprang out into the trench. All but Jacka were immediately hit so he leapt back into the communication trench. A new plan was devised. Two bombs were lobbed at the Turks while Jacka skirted around to attack from the flank. Amid the smoke and the noise he clambered over the parapet, shot five Turks and bayoneted two as the rest hastily retreated. 'I managed to get the beggars, Sir', he reputedly told the first officer to appear. For this action he received the Victoria Cross, the first to be awarded to the A.I.F. in World War I.

Instantly Jacka became a national hero. He received the £500 and gold watch that the prominent Melbourne business and sporting identity John Wren had promised to the first V.C. winner. His image was used on recruiting posters and magazine covers. On 28 August 1915 he was promoted corporal, then rose quickly, becoming a company sergeant major in mid-November, a few weeks before Anzac was evacuated. Back in Egypt he passed through officer training school with high marks and on 29 April 1916 was commissioned second lieutenant.

The 14th Battalion was shipped to France early in June. Jacka's platoon moved into the line near Pozières on the night of 6-7 August and as dawn broke German troops overran a part of the line. Jacka had just completed a reconnaissance and had gone to his dug-out when two Germans appeared at its entrance and rolled a bomb down the doorway, killing two men. Jacka charged up the dug-out steps, firing as he moved, and came upon a large number of the enemy rounding up some forty Australians as prisoners. He rallied his platoon and charged at the enemy, some of whom immediately threw down their rifles. Furious hand-to-hand fighting erupted as the prisoners turned on their captors. Fifty Germans were captured and the line was retaken. Jacka was awarded a Military Cross for his gallantry. Charles Bean described the counter-attack 'as the most dramatic and effective act of individual audacity in the history of the A.I.F.' The entire platoon was wounded, Jacka seriously in the neck and shoulder; he was sent to a London hospital. On 8 September London newspapers carried reports of his death but Bert Jacka was far from done for. He had been promoted lieutenant on 18 August, rejoined his unit in November and was promoted captain on 15 March 1917 and appointed the 14th Battalion's intelligence officer..." - READ MORE LINK (adb.anu.edu.au)

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