Solomon William (Sullivan William) JACOBS

Badge Number: S125930, Sub Branch: St. Morris

JACOBS, Solomon William (Sullivan William)

Service Numbers: 3225A, 6525
Enlisted: 19 July 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: London, England, 15 May 1896
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Flinders Street City Model School
Occupation: Printer's apprentice
Died: Natural causes, Hove, South Australia, 16 January 1981, aged 84 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park - South Australian Garden of Remembrance
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

19 Jul 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3225A, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3225A, Keswick, South Australia
14 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3225A, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
21 Jul 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 3225A
25 Sep 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6525, 10th Infantry Battalion, Adelaide, South Australia
23 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6525, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
23 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6525, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
9 Apr 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 6525, 10th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages, GSW (hand)
31 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6525, 10th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
4 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6525, 1st to 5th Divisional Signal Companies, "The Last Hundred Days"
21 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 6525, 10th Infantry Battalion

A little more

Solomon William Jacob's father was Jacob Jacobs.

He died in 1914.

Solomon was wounded in the early stages of the battle of Passchendaele near Polygon Wood on 21 Sep 1917.

He suffered shrapnel injuries to his legs, which were to plague him with illness for the rest of his life.

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Real name Solomon William Jacobs

Father and Mother Mrs Hanna Jacobs,
living at Saracens Head Hotel, Carrington St, Adelaide

Previous service:
3 years in Senior Cadets in 76th Battalion, transferred to Citizen Military Forces


Next of kin (brothers) in service:

Will Jacobs was one of 6 brothers who enlisted and served in World War 1. They are;

Sgt. Charles Isaac Jacobs, born 1886. Sergeant in the South African Forces. Served in German East and West Africa.

2294. Mark Freeman (/explore/people/302683) (/explore/people/302683), born 1880, 5th Field Ambulance .

66 Sgt. Arthur Abraham Jacobs (/explore/people/5279) (/explore/people/5279), born 1894, 10th Battalion, AIF.

4359 Cpl. David Jacobs (/explore/people/251757) (/explore/people/251757), born 1897, 27th Battalion & 5th Field Ambulance, AIF. 

4807 Pte. Emmanuel Martin Jacobs (/explore/people/135768) (/explore/people/135768), born 1901, Private 50th Battalion, AIF. (enlisted while underage) - Addition by Susan Nicholls


Solomon William Jacobs was the fourth son Jacob and Hannah Jacobs.  Born in London in 1896, he had older half-siblings from his mother's first marriage.  Mark Freeman (b1880) a younger sister Rebecca (1881), brothers Isaac Charles (b 1886), Harry Klufeld (1887)  and a younger sister named Sophie (1888). 

His mother Hannah, had been a Jewish refugee from the pogroms (Jewish persecutions) that had swept Russia and Hannah’s native Warsaw in Poland which at that time was part of the vast Russian Empire.  She was also embarking on a career as a successful publican.

Alfred Freeman her first husband had died in 1887.  Hannah re-married, to cigar-maker Jacob Jacobs, another Polish Jew émigré. More children began arriving.  Arthur in 1894, Solomon William in 1896, David in 1897 and sister Deb 1900 and youngest brother Emmanuel (aka Martin) in 1901.

In 1898, the family emigrated, initially to South Africa where they remained for several years, before continuing the journey to Adelaide South Australia.

This move split the family.  Isaac enlisted in the Cape South African forces during the Boer War and again for service in East Africa in 1915.  The family did not hear from him after 1917.  In fact he had been killed on 11 August 1916, and is buried in Dar Es Salaam military cemetery in modern day Tanzania.  He was the first of the siblings to die in service.  He would not be the last.

Rebecca appears to have remained in London.

Sophie remained in South Africa where she married.  She later fled an extremely violent relationship after her husband had thrown acid at her.  She joined her mother and younger siblings in Adelaide.

The rest of the family had relocated to Adelaide, and Hannah Jacobs embarked on a career has a very well known publican in the Adelaide CBD and beyond, operating a string of hotels many of which remain to this day.  Her husband Jacob had unfortunately become a chronic alcoholic and developed throat cancer, which eventually killed him in 1914.

All four of the Jacobs brothers enlisted in the AIF when War broke out.  Oldest sibling Mark Freeman, appears to have remained in London.  Anecdote suggests he was estranged from his mother and he did not adopt the new family name.  He emmigrated to Australia in 1911, but he went to Sydney, from where he enlisted on 17 March 1915, with the 5th Field Ambulance.  He survived the war but passed away in 1936. 

Arthur was first, enlisting on the outbreak of war into the 10th Battalion with which he served at Gallipoli, where he was badly wounded in October 1915.  He was repatriated to Australia and returned to the Front only to be killed at Passchendaele in October 1917.

Solomon (or Will as he was known to the family) followed, also into the 10th Battalion.  He declared himself to be Anglican, as Arthur had.  Will, as he was known, sustained a serious injury on the voyage to Egypt, was repatriated and returned to Australia and discharged medically unfit before promptly re-enlisting by Anglicising his name to Sullivan in lieu of Solomon, and being assigned a new service number.  We went on to serve throughout the rest of the war and was just metres away when Arthur was killed in October 1917.  He was wounded and gassed, the effects of which dogged him for the rest of his life.

David enlisted  into the 50th Battalion and Emmanuel enlisted underage at just 16yo, although he could easily pass for an older man, serving in the 50th and 32nd Battalion until the authorities became aware of his circumstances and he was removed from the front line and returned to Australia.  Family anecdote has it that Solomon tipped off the authorities after Arthur was killed, believing the family had done enough.  This apparently caused a life-long rift between the two brothers.


A detailed biography of Solomon William Jacobs was published in 2016;  "The Private War of Solomon William Jacobs" - ISBN 978-0-9945753-2-6 2016, Susan Nichols


Steve Larkins August 2016


Service Chronology

Service # 3225a

19/7/1915        Initially enlisted  

14/9/1915        Embarked from Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide, on board HMAT Ballarat A70
                       as a Private in the 10th Battalion

Recorded as 'Wounded'

January 1916   Returned to Australia with Asthma

21/7/1916        Discharged from service

Service # 6525

Described on enlisting as 20 years 4 months old; single; 5' 6" tall; 118 lbs; medium complexion;
blue eyes; light brown hair; Church of England.

18/9/1916        completed medical - fit for service

25/9/1916        Re-enlisted as "SULLIVAN WILLIAM JACOBS"

18/10/1916      Commanding Officer appointed Solomon to 21st reinforcements, 10th Battalion
                       Mitcham Camp

23/10/1916      Embarked from Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide, SA
                       on board HMAT Port Melbourne A16, as a Privte in 10th Battalion, 21st reinforcements

Three months training in the UK at 3rd Training Battalion.

28/3/1917        Embarked for France

1/4/1917          Joined 10th Battalion

8/4/1917          Wounded  -  Gunshot wound left hand, evacuated to the UK

29/7/1917        Rejoined the Battalion

His brother Arthur had recently returned to the Battalion having been wounded
in November 1916 and priorto that at Gallipoli in October 1915.

Served through the Third Ypres campaign Polygon Wood and then Paschendaele.

S.W. Jacobs was wounded on the 21st. September 1917 during the Third battle of Ypres campaign; specifically in the vicinity of Polygon Wood.
Leg wounds from shell and shrapnel were sustained. 

He was in an adjacent trench to his brother (Arthur Abraham) and was on the
scene moments after his death on 7/10/1917, providing a report to the Red Cross
around the circumstances of his brothers death.

He had a period of leave to the UK in March 1918.

May-June 1918  the 10th Battlion was in northern France engaged in operations
                       around Merris, thereafter taking part in the Hundred Days campaign.

Sept 1918        Solomon was detached to Headquarters of the 3rd Brigade Signals Company.

30/10/1918      injured, by which time unbeknown to the AIF they had fought their last
                       battles with hositlities ceasing before they went back into the line.

He was thereafter attached to 1 Division Signals Company.

early 1919       Sick in hospital - hernia.

5/4/1919         Returned to Australia on board Armagh, ex Devonport, England

12/6/1919       Discharged from service

WW1 1914/15 Star (635); British War medal (5404); Victory medal (5358)

Claimed his brother Arthur's Gallipoli Medallion in 1967 per service record 66 Jacobs AA.