John Thomas (Jack) MARTIN


MARTIN, John Thomas

Service Number: 2452
Enlisted: 21 July 1916, Adelaide South Australia Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Yankalilla, South Australia, 15 February 1899
Home Town: Blyth, Wakefield, South Australia
Schooling: Armagh School
Occupation: Horse & trolley driver (West End Brewery)
Died: Killed in action (shell-fire), Passchendaele, Belgium, France, 1 October 1917, aged 18 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium, Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, Haute-Normandie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Clare Original Clare School WW1 Memorial, Clare Schools Old Scholars who Fell WW1 Memorial, Clare WW1 Memorial Arch, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient)
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World War 1 Service

21 Jul 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide South Australia Australia
28 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2452, 48th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
28 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2452, 48th Infantry Battalion
6 Feb 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2452, 48th Infantry Battalion, Menin Road
1 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2452, 48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement 48th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour John Thomas Martin's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Thomas John (Jack) MARTIN - enlisted under the name John Thomas Martin, he also stated he was 21 years and 4 months old - but he was still only 17years of age.

Father Thomas Patrick Martin and Mother Ann Sarah (nee Quinlan). Jack was only two tears old when his mother died in 1901 - his father later remarried.

Next of kin: Mary Margaret Martin (sister), The Home for Incurables, Fullarton S.A. (later known as the Julia Farr Centre).

He was educated at Armagh School before returning home to assist his father on the family farm at Armagh.

Jack later moved to Adelaide with his two older sisters, Maida and Nell. Maida supported Jack until she was able to find him a job as a horse and trolley driver for the West End Brewery.

At just 15 years of age, Jack stood almost 6 feet tall and was of strong build.

During the First World War, Jack received several white feathers (the symbol of cowardice), from people who felt he should be fighting for his country.

He tried several times to enlist but was rejected on each occasion, due to his age.

The Brewery laid off many of its workers and once again Jack was pressured to enlist in the Army.

He asked his eldest sister, Maida if she would speak to the Recruiting Colonel on his behalf. On this occasion he was accepted and enlisted on 28 August 1916, giving his age as 18 years when in fact he was aged 17.

Described on enlisting as  21 years 4 months old; single; 5’ 11 ¾” tall, 164 lbs, fresh complexion, clean shaven, hazel eyes; brown hair, Catholic; scar over outside of left hip and below left knee.

21/7/1916          He had been currently serving with the 80th Infantry (Militia) as a Senior Cadet, at the time of enlisting.

21/7/1916          Completed medical – fit for service

21/7/1916          Enlisted in Adelaide
                          as a Private in the A Co. 2nd depot battalion

28/8/1916          Commanding Officer appointed Jack to 5th Reinforcements of the 48th Battalion, in training at Mitcham Camp

28/8/1916          Embarked from Adelaide on HMAT A68 Anchises
11/10/1916        Disembarked into Plymouth, England
12/10/1916        Marched out to 12th Training Battalion, Codford

14/10/1916        Admitted to hospital – Codford – Military Hospital, Sutton Veny

28/12/1916        Proceeded overseas per ‘Princess Clementine’ ex Folkestone
29/12/1916        Marched in from England to Etaples, France
5/2/1917            Marched out to unit, Etaples

6/2/1917            Taken on strength 48th Battalion, France

16/4/1917          to hospital sick, from the field (septic hand)
18/4/1917          transferred to ambulance train
19/4/1917          admitted to Convalescence Depot, Rouen, 11th Stationary hospital
3/5/1917            admitted to No. 2 Convalescence  Depot
26/5/1917          Admitted to 39 General Hospital, Havre, France

9/7/1917            Discharged to duty

28/7/1917          Marched out to unit, Havre, France
31/7/1917          Rejoined unit in field

Sadly, on the 1 October 1917, Jack was killed in a trench at Passchendaele Ridge in France, while delivering Company dispatches.

Like so many others at the time, Jack’s family were devastated at the loss of their son and brother, none more so than Jack’s sister Maida, who throughout her life never forgave herself for helping her younger brother to enlist.

Lance Corporal C Hunter #2924 01 October 1917 (stated):
“Private Jack T Martin of A.Company was within 50 metres of me, when a shell hit.  Jack was standing in front of a dugout door, at Westhoek Ridge, on the Menin Road, with another man from the Artillery around 9.30pm.  I went back to examine him, he had been killed instantly.  I helped to bury him, at the back of the dugout and put up a temporary cross with his name and number.  There are about 8 dugouts all in a line built by the Germans.” per Red Cross report

1/10/1917          Killed in action outright
                          Passchendaele, Belgium - "NO KNOWN GRAVE"

Memorial at:      The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium

His name is located at panel 146 in the Commemorative Area ( at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT.

British War medal (46071), Victory Medal (45542);
Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll (334326).

Sourced and collated by Julianne T Ryan 27 May 2014.  Lest we forget.