James Currie BLACK


BLACK, James Currie

Service Number: 2119
Enlisted: 9 July 1915, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, October 1893
Home Town: Footscray, Maribyrnong, Victoria
Schooling: Mossvale Public School, Paisley, Scotland
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: SWs to arm, chest & leg, 20th Casualty Clearing Station in Vignacourt,, France, 12 June 1918
Cemetery: Vignacourt British Cemetery
Plot 111,Row C, Grave 7
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Footscray Presbyterian Church Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

9 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
27 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2119, 24th Infantry Battalion
27 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2119, 24th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
27 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2119, 24th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , GSW left thigh
16 Dec 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 6th Machine Gun Company
1 Dec 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 24th Infantry Battalion
12 Jun 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2119, 24th Infantry Battalion, SWs to Chest, right leg & wrist, Buire, France. DOA at 20th Casualty Clearing Station in Vignacourt, France
Date unknown: Involvement 24th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Arrived in Australia aged 17 years

24 Battalion

Rank - Private

28 July 1916 Wounded - gunshot to the thigh

12 June 1918 Wounded in action - wpunds to the chest and leg

Son of Thomas and Janet Currie Black, of 23, Craswick St., Footscray, Victoria, Australia.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 2119 James Currie Black
24th Australian Infantry Battalion, 1st Australian Imperial Force, 6th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division
In the fields of the Somme, stand in silence, the white and silent cities, the cemeteries in which, under the poppies and their eternal graves, rest in peace a whole generation of young men who, on the battlefields of the north of France and in the muddy trenches, did their duty with pride for freedom and peace and who, under fire, in barbed wire, with determination and bravery, gave their today and their lives for our tomorrow.They all answered to the call of duty and together, side by side they gave their youth, they shared the joys and sorrows and moved forward under the fire of machine guns in unity and fraternity in which, more than a hundred years later, always unite them and stand proudly behind the rows of their graves on which we will always remember who they were and what they did for us, we will always honor their memory and their stories with the utmost respect so that they live forever.

Today,it is the story and the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme that I would like to honor with gratitude. I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 2119 James Currie Black who fought in the 24th Australian Infantry Battalion, 1st Australian Imperial Force, 6th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division and who died of his wounds 103 years ago, on June 12, 1918 at the age of 24 on the Somme front.

James Currie Black was born in 1894 in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland,and was the son of Thomas and Janet Currie Black. James was educated at Mossvale Public School, Paisley, Scotland, and after graduation at the age of 17 he left with his parents to live in Australia and settled at 23 Craswick Street, Footscray, Victoria, then at Shepherd Street, Middle Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria.Before the outbreak of the war, James was a member of the Hamilton Rifle Club located in Hamilton, Victoria, Australia, and worked as a bank clerk.

James enlisted on July 9, 1915 in Melbourne, Victoria, in the 24th Australian Infantry Battalion, 4th Reinforcement. The 24th Battalion was raised at Broadmeadows north of Melbourne, in early 1915, to form the fourth Battalion of the 6th Brigade in the 2nd Division.

Along with the 21st, 22nd and 23rd Battalion, the 24th formed part of the 6th Brigade, which was assigned to the 2nd Division. It had originally been planned that the battalion would be raised from personnel drawn from outside of Victoria and it was designated as an "outer states" battalion meaning that it would draw its recruits from the less populous states of Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

After a period of two months of training, James embarked with his unit from Melbourne, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on September 27, 1915 and sailed for Egypt and was disembarked at Tel-El-Kebir on January 10, 1916 then two months later, on March 20, he proceeded to join the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in Alexandria and embarked with his battalion and proceeded overseas for France and was disembarked in Marseilles on March 26 then was sent to the Somme where he fought with great courage at Pozieres then at Mouquet Farm in July 1916 which were among the deadliest fights for the Australian army in the Somme and where James was wounded a first time in the left thigh on July 27 then was evacuated the same day at the 2nd Field Ambulance then at the 22nd General Hospital in Camiers on July 28.

A month later, on August 6, 1916, after recovering from his injuries, James was sent to the 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples and four months later, on December 15, 1916, he was taken on strength in the 6th Machine Gun Company but ten days later, on December 25, 1916, he fell ill and was sent to hospital then joined his unit, the 6th Machine Gun Company on January 5, 1917 and was transferred again to the 24th Australian Infantry Battalion on November 26, 1917.

On April 18, 1918, just before the Australian offensive on Villers-Bretonneux on April 24, James fell ill again and was evacuated to the 6th Field Ambulance on April 19 then to the 20th Casualty Clearing Station at Vignacourt, Somme on April 21 then was evacuated to the 39th General Hospital in Le Havre on April 23.
On May 18, 1918, after a period of rest, James proceeded to join his unit and on May 20 he rejoined his battalion in the Somme but unfortunately, a month later, on June 12, 1918, he met his fate.

On June 12, 1918, between 2:00 am and 3:00 am, while he was in the front line at Buire, near Amiens, Somme, the German artillery opened fire on the Australian front line trenches and James was seriously wounded by a shell in his arm, his chest and his leg and was immediately evacuated to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance then to the 20th Casualty Clearing Station in Vignacourt,Somme,where he died of his wounds a few hours later despite the greatest care, he was 24 years old.

Today, James Currie Black, who was affectionately called Jimmy by his comrades, rests in peace with his friends and brothers in arms at Vignacourt British Cemetery, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "While he was in the silent sleep the memory we will always keep ".

James you who with the greatest courage fought on the battlefields of the great war and who, alongside your comrades gave your life through the fields of poppies of the Somme which grow today through the rows of thousands of white tombs, I would like, with all my heart and with gratitude to say thank you for all that you have done united with your brothers in arms for us and for the peace and freedom in which we live today and for which so many young men fought and fell so that we could live without fear of the morrow when over a hundred years ago, in noise and fury, in the endless hell of a world at war devoured by the flames, thousands of men fought in mud and blood under the devastating fires of thousands of cannons which, hour after hour, poured out tons of shells, the howling and burning steel which transformed peaceful landscapes into fields of death on which were poured torrents of tears and blood in the steel of the barbed wire in which collapsed and were mown down a whole generation of young men under rains of bullets, under the murderous and implacable fire of the machine guns.Determined and brave, in fire, under fire, they never ceased to fight, holding their positions with exceptional courage in a thick and sticky mud in which were buried forever, under a deluge of metal and fire, in a few minutes. fractions of seconds, men whose lives were shattered and stopped by the brutality of the war in which they all did their duty with devotion and conviction in the name of justice, freedom and peace, in the trenches, for their loved ones, for their comrades, they gave their youth, they gave their lives and made their country proud through each of their acts on the battlefields, on the lands of France, on the soils of remembrance.They were young and came to France, a country they did not know much for but for which they did so much and which will be forever grateful to them, to each of them and to their families who let their boys go to put an end to has all the wars and who never had the chance to return home but who, in France, became our sons on whom we will always watch with the highest respect, with dignity and care so that they are never forgotten and whose stories we will keep strong and alive so that they live forever.We will never forget who they were and what they did on these sacred grounds, we will never forget their courage and their sacrifices and we will always carry high and proud above their graves, in our hearts,the flame of remembrance that will never cease to shine.Thank you so much James, for everything.At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him,we will remember them.