John Henry (Jack) LOCKETT OAM

LOCKETT, John Henry

Service Number: 1194
Enlisted: 24 March 1916, Mildura, Victoria
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 38th Infantry Battalion
Born: Waanyarra, Victoria, 22 January 1891
Home Town: Linga, Mildura Shire, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural causes, Bendigo, Victoria, 25 May 2002, aged 111 years
Cemetery: Bendigo Civil Cemetery
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World War 1 Service

24 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1194, Mildura, Victoria
20 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1194, 38th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Jun 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1194, 38th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Runic, Melbourne
20 Aug 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 1194, 38th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Australia's oldest man dies at 111

Australia's oldest man and oldest war veteran, Jack Lockett, has died in Victoria, at age 111.

Mr Lockett's son Kevin today confirmed his father died peacefully at 11.15pm (AEST) yesterday at Bendigo's Mount Alvernia Hospital, to which he was admitted with failing health on Friday.

"He has had a very good life at 111 years and four months and he has gone out peacefully," he said.

John Henry (Jack) Lockett's death came just four days after that of 114-year-old Christine Cock, who was Australia's oldest person. Mrs Cock died in Melbourne on May 22.

State Premier Steve Bracks announced that Mr Lockett would be given a state funeral.


He did so before Mr Lockett's family were informed. They had meanwhile met a funeral director to arrange a funeral in Bendigo for Thursday.

Mr Lockett had been the world's 19th oldest person and his family believed he had been the world's second-oldest World War I veteran, with the oldest living in Italy.

Politicians and veterans' representatives paid tribute to Mr Lockett, with RSL national president Major-General Peter Phillips hailing him as "part of the Anzac legend".

"He was widely admired, not just because he was a World War I veteran but because he was such a nice guy," he said.

"I am saddened that we have to count off the last dozen World War I veterans," Maj-Gen Phillips said.

"He is part of the Anzac legend and it is sad to see him go, but we will keep the legend alive."

Veterans' Affairs Minister Danna Vale said Mr Lockett's death was a sad loss to Australians, who held him and his fellow diggers in their hearts.

"Our World War I veterans typify the courage, endurance, good humour and mateship that is an Anzac tradition, a spirit that we strive to pass on to our children," Ms Vale said.

Mr Bracks said Mr Lockett's passing was of enormous significance to Victorians.

"It is a sad day for Mr Lockett's family, a sad day for Bendigo and a sad day for Victoria," he said.

Mr Lockett, who had been one of only 15 Australians still alive after serving in World War I, was born in Mildura on January 26, 1891.

He enlisted in the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on March 24, 1916, and arrived at the Western Front in France at age 25.

Except for a brief period of leave in Britain in 1918, he served on the Western Front throughout the war and as a bomb thrower was lucky to escape serious injury several times.

Last year, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and cited as "an inspiration to the Bendigo community".

He also was awarded France's Legion of Honour." - from the Melbourne Age 27 May 2002 (www.theage.com.au)

Kevin Lockett, who with his sister Joyce, had been maintaining an alternating bedside vigil, said his sister had just left their father's side when he received a call from the hospital to say his father had died.

It was believed his kidneys had failed due to old age.

He walked regularly and exercised every day until his health began to fail about a month ago, Mr Lockett said.

"He was a man who worked hard all his life," he said.

"He has known hard work and hard times but the last four years have been really good for him and good to him and he enjoyed that."

Mr Lockett's wife of 58 years, Maybell, whom he called Doll, died in 1981. He is survived by their four children, Kevin, Jack, Ron, and Joyce, his 15 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

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