John BLACKIE

Poppy

BLACKIE, John

Service Number: 3248
Enlisted: 26 July 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Liberton, Scotland, 1884
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Police Constable
Died: Killed in Action, Villers-Brettoneux, Department de la Somme, Picardie, France, 25 April 1918
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
His name is recorded on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial to the Missing
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide The 50th Battalion Commemorative Cross, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, SA Caledonian Society Soldiers Memorial WW1 Honour Board, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

26 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3248, 10th Infantry Battalion
27 Oct 1915: Embarked Private, SN 3248, 10th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Benalla embarkation_ship_number: A24 public_note: ''
8 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3248, 50th Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3248, 50th Infantry Battalion, Messines
9 Sep 1917: Wounded Mouquet Farm, Evacuated to the UK
25 Apr 1918: Involvement Private, SN 3248, 50th Infantry Battalion
25 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3248, 50th Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux
Date unknown: Wounded SN 3248, 50th Infantry Battalion

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Biography

Son of Thomas BLACKIE, and born near Edinburgh in Scotland in 1884, by 1914 John Blackie  was married to Violet May Blackie, with one child, resident at 11 Surflen St in Adelaide and serving as a foot Constable with the South Australian Police.

He enlisted in July of 1915 into the 11th Reinforcements for the 10th Infantry Battalion and undertook training at the Exhibition Grounds on North Terrace Adelaide, which is now occupied by the University of Adelaide.  He embarked with on the HMAT Benalla in October, too late to take part in the Gallipoli campaign.  Along with a great many 10th Battalion reinforcements, he was transferred to the 10th Battalion as part of the process known as 'doubling the AIF', and embarked with his new unit for France.

John Blackie served throughout in the 50th Battalion in the 13th Brigade of the 4th Division.  He was wounded at Mouquet Farm on 18 August 1916 and recorded as sufffering from shell shock which is unsurprising given the intensity of the artillery fire they were subjected to.  He returned to duty relatively soon after.   He was again wounded the following month, this time a shrapnel wound to his thigh necessitating evacuation and hospitalisation in England.

John Blackie's service included a numberr of minor misdemeanours and periods of hospitalisation, but he served through some of the 50th Battalion's major engagements.

The Battalion's two largest engagements of the war were at Noreuil in March -April 1917, and in the recapture of Villers Brettoneux on ANZAC Day 1918, when the 13th and 15th Brigades recaptured the town in a sweeping pincer movement to the south and north of the town respectively.  The 50th Battalion suffered heavy casualties, many of them in the thick vegetation and woods to the south of the town so many of the dead lay where they fell, undiscovered.  John Blackie was among their number.

He is thus declared to have no known grave and his name is recorded on the Memorial Wall at the the Australian National Memorial nearby.

 After his death, Violet later re-married and relocated to Kalgoorlie in WA.

 

Steve Larkins 17 April 2016

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