Samuel John JENKINS


JENKINS, Samuel John

Service Number: 3862
Enlisted: 20 June 1917
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wasleys, South Australia, March 1898
Home Town: Ungarra, Tumby Bay, South Australia
Schooling: Wasleys Public School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 18 September 1918
Cemetery: Hancourt British Cemetery
Hancourt British Cemetery, Hancourt, Picardie, France, Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, Roisel, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Freeling Boer War, Boxer Rebellion and WW1 Memorial Panel, Tumby Bay RSL Portrait Memorials, Tumby Bay War Memorial, Yallunda Flat Memorial Park
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World War 1 Service

20 Jun 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private
30 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3862, 5th Pioneer Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
30 Oct 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3862, 5th Pioneer Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Melbourne
18 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3862, 48th Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Stewart

Sam was born at Wasleys (near Gawler SA) on 3 March 1899 to Richard Burton Jenkins and Jane Jenkins (nee Selich).  Sam was the eldest of 5 children in the family, 2 boys and 3 girls,.  His father was a farmer, initially in the Wasleys area before moving with his family to Stokes.                                

It is thought that he started school at Gawler.  After the death of his sister, Margaret, the family moved to the Stokes area and he completed his schooling at Stokes in a class room in the house of the Provis family, which was also the Post office (the teacher was Miss Provis). After completing his schooling he worked on the family farm and other farms in the Stokes area until his enlistment at Port Lincoln in June 1917.  At this time he gave his occupation as farmer and his postal address as Ungarra.

On enlistment he we was sent to Mitcham for processing and then to 2nd Depot Battalion for basic training, which he undertook between June and September 1917.  He was then allocated to 10th Reinforcements/5th Pioneer Battalion and undertook further specialist sapper training at Mitcham.

The 5th Pioneer Battalion was raised in Egypt on 10 March 1916 and assigned to 5th Division.  It then saw service on the Western Front.  Pioneer Battalions performed construction tasks in the forward areas not requiring the special equipment of engineers, such as constructing trenches and dugouts although they occasionally acted in an engineer role on tasks such as the construction of bridges. They were organised the same as infantry battalions and also served as infantry in the front line.

On 27 October 1917 Sam entrained for Melbourne and then embarked aboard HMAT “Aeneas” bound for Devonport (UK), disembarking on 27 December 1917.  Whilst undertaking further training in the UK he was transferred to 32nd Battalion on 2 January 1918.  He remained on the strength of this unit for 3 months before again being transferred, this time to 48th Battalion.

The 48th Battalion was raised in Egypt on the same day as 5th Pioneer Battalion (16 March 1916) as part of the reorganisation and expansion of the AIF following the Gallipoli Campaign. The unit's personnel were drawn mainly from SA and WA.  The Battalion was sent to the Western Front in June 1916.

 In March 1918, following the collapse of Russia, the Germans launched the “Spring Offensive.   As the Allies were pushed back, the 48th Battalion undertook a defensive role around Dernancourt, blocking the Amiens Road, before joining the final Allied offensive around Amiens in August 1918. During the fighting, it suffered 843 killed in action or died of wounds and 1,628 wounded.

It was during the Battalion’s last battle at Le Verguier, north west of St. Quentin, that Sam was wounded in action (WIA) with a gunshot wound to the leg on 18 September 1918.  He was evacuated to 141st Field Ambulance for treatment but died of wounds (DoW) later the same day.   After this battle the Battalion was withdrawn from the line and did not see action again before the war ended in November 1918.

He was buried at Estrees on Chausee in France, 5¾ miles south east of Peronne.   His body was exhumed and reinterred at Hancourt British Cemetery, 6 ½ miles east south east of Peronne on 14 April 1920.

His name is recorded on the Tumby Bay Memorial

His family moved from the Stokes area back to Adelaide in 1919