Harold Melmoth JACKSON


JACKSON, Harold Melmoth

Service Number: 4634
Enlisted: 10 November 1915, Perth, Western Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: North Adelaide, South Australia, 12 February 1889
Home Town: East Fremantle, East Fremantle, Western Australia
Schooling: East Fremantle Public School, Western Australia
Occupation: Horse Driver
Died: Killed in Action, France, 6 August 1916, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, East Fremantle Municipality Roll of Honour, Fremantle Fallen Sailors & Soldiers Memorial
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World War 1 Service

10 Nov 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4634, Perth, Western Australia
12 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4634, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4634, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Miltiades, Fremantle
6 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4634, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Battle for Pozières

Killed in France

Harold Melmoth Jackson was born 12 February 1889 North Adelaide. South Australia.
His parents were Alexander Melmoth Jackson and Mary Ann Elizabeth Gibson.
Harold had two brothers Ernest Alexander Jackson and Roy Melmoth Jackson also served in France in the First World War. Harold Melmoth Jackson was killed at Ypres and is buried in Pozierres Cemetery France.

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 4634 Harold Melmoth Jackson
16th Australian Infantry Battalion,
4th Brigade, 4th Australian Division
More than a hundred years ago, in the blood red fields of the Somme, bravely served and fought a whole generation of young men who, united in camaraderie and brotherhood came from the other side of the world to do their part, to do what was right and with courage faced the fire of machine guns and shells to preserve humanity and side by side went over the top bayonets forward in the name of peace and freedom for which they paid the supreme sacrifice and through the poppies, eternal shroud of their memory, gave their today and their lives for our tomorrow. Today, thousands of these young men who did not have the chance to return home rest in peace on the sacred grounds of northern France where they still stand proud and young, silent and solemn behind the rows of their white graves and will never be alone because I will always watch over them to maintain their memory, to bring them back to life by telling their stories so that they are never forgotten and so that their names live forever.

Today, it is with the utmost respect and with the deepest gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who gave his today for our tomorrow. I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 4634 Harold Melmoth Jackson who fought in the 16th Australian Infantry Battalion, 4th Brigade, 4th Australian Division, and who was killed in action 106 years ago, on August 6, 1916 at the age of 28 during the Battle of the Somme.

Harold Melmoth Jackson was born on February 12, 1889 in North Adelaide, South Australia, and was the son of Alexander Melmoth Jackson (1863-1922) and Mary Ann Elizabeth Jackson (née Gibson, 1866-1950), of 76 Duke Street, East Fremantle, Western Australia. He was educated at East Fremantle Public School then after graduation served two years in the Senior Cadets, worked as a horse driver and lived at 41 Glyde Street, East Fremantle.

Harold enlisted on November 10, 1915 in Perth, Western Australia, in the 16th Australian Infantry Battalion, 14th Reinforcement, and after a training period of just over two months in Melbourne, embarked with his unit from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A28 Miltiades on February 12, 1916 and sailed for Egypt.

On March 11, 1916, Harold arrived in Egypt and was disembarked at Port Suez then a month later, on April 2, was taken on strength with the 16th Australian Infantry Battalion at Serapeum which took part in the fighting against the Ottoman forces in the defense of the Suez Canal until the end of May then on June 1, the battalion joined the BEF (British Expeditionary Force), were embarked the same day on board "HMT Canada" and proceeded overseas for France.

On June 9, 1916, after a voyage on the Mediterranean Sea of just over a week, Harold arrived in France and was disembarked in Marseilles. A month later, on July 13, the 16th Australian Infantry Battalion was sent to the Somme and arrived at Doullens then marched through St Ouen, Naours, Toutencourt, and arrived at their billets in the village of Warloy-Baillon on July 29 and where they remained until August 3.

Unfortunately Harold's war was short, and on August 4, 1916, alongside the men of the 16th Battalion, left Warloy-Baillon for the town of Albert, moved to "Brickfields" then to "Tara Hill", bivouacked at "Tara Gully" but were under fire from German artillery and on August 6, joined the front line of what would be the deadliest battle for the Australian Imperial Force on the Somme front, the Battle of Pozieres.

By the time the Australians arrived on the Western Front in 1916 the French, British, and Germans had been fighting for almost two years. The allies planned to launch a large-scale offensive in the Somme region of northern France, but when the Germans launched their own major operation against the French at Verdun the British were left to conduct the battle of the Somme with reduced French assistance.

Intended in part to divert the German army’s attention from Verdun, the Somme offensive included the fighting around Pozières, which dominated the high ground in the British advance towards Thiepval. There the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Australian divisions wrested a small, devastated area from the enemy, but at a staggering cost. Over 42 days the Australians made as many as 19 attacks against the German positions. The final casualties totalled an appalling 23,000 men killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. The losses sustained throughout that exhausting period were almost unsustainable for a volunteer army.

The high ground at Pozières was an essential advantage, and a place from which further attacks could be launched. The 1st Division was the first to go into the battle, and did so on 23 July 1916. The Australians managed to capture the village of Pozières, whereupon they were subjected to relentless artillery bombardment that reduced the village to rubble and inflicted a heavy toll among the allied troops. The 2nd Division relieved the 1st, and suffered even more losses attacking towards the heights east of the village. The 4th Division then went in, pressing its attack north towards Mouquet Farm and holding off German attempts to retake Pozières. Each of the three Australian divisions, though severely reduced, served a second tour on this notorious battleground.

The massive artillery bombardment from the Germans at Pozières inflicted a huge number of casualties among the Australians. Historian Peter Burness stated that "for several weeks Pozières became the focus of the Somme fighting and the worst place to be on earth".

Of the 23,000 Australian casualties, 6,800 men were killed or died of wounds.

Two days after the capture of the Windmill by the men of the 2nd Australian Division on 4 August 1916, Harold joined the trenches and with the 16th Battalion occupied a position known as the "Wire Trench" which was heavily shelled and almost annihilated by German artillery and it was during this fateful day that Harold was killed in action, most likely by a shell, he was 28 years old.

Today, Harold Melmoth Jackson rests in peace alongside his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-La-Boisselle, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription: "So he giveth his beloved sleep."

Harold, more than a hundred years ago, it was with bravery that in the uncertain days of a world that sank into the madness of a terrible war that you answered the call of duty to do what was right, to make your country proud and alongside volunteers, you proudly wore your slouch hat and the colors of Australia guided by the ANZAC spirit and with courage, with unfailing determination, you joined the trenches and the battlefields of the north of france and tirelessly, even if your war was short, you fought with courage, you did your duty without fear under the funeral howls of the artillery and the mouths of fire of the cannons which rained down death and destruction on a world on the brink of annihilation that turned the sleepy villages and verdant fields of the Somme into poisonous quagmires filled with blood and bruised,scarred forever by the relentless deluge of tons of explosive shells that buried and pulverized a whole generation of young men in the mud and the flames.With courage, these young heroes advanced straight and proud, behind their friends, their brothers in arms they went over the top beyond the parapets to face death under rains of bullets, under sheets of poisonous gas, they moved bayonets forward ready to lay down their lives for their country, in the name of peace and freedom and in bloodbaths, in fury and chaos, rage in their hearts, they rose up for the light of peace to break the dark clouds but for each attack, for each step forward the price was terrible and saw around them open cemeteries, fields of poppies in which their brothers lay lifeless in their kakhi uniforms riddled with bullets and shrapnel, men who a few minutes before were full of life, hopes and dreams but who, in this hell on earth, fell into the mud, mutilated, burned, their faces blackened by filth and earth and who , on these sacred grounds gave their today, their youth, their everything and were gathered together forever united in camaraderie in the peaceful cemeteries in which they still stand proud behind their white graves bathed in light.Together, these men who did not have the chance to return home crossed the threshold of death but that did not mark the end of their lives, their memory never ceased to live in the hearts of their loved ones and the French people who admired and adopted the young Diggers, who welcomed and loved them to relieve them of the burden of war which they carried with courage and today, more than ever, we are proud to call these young men "our sons" , we are proud and honored by the unfailing friendship which unites Australia and France and which gathers us around them, around their memory and their graves in remembrance to bring back to life these heroes who will never be forgotten and more than anything, today I am proud, privileged and deeply grateful and honored to watch over them, to walk with admiration and emotion in front of them in the cemeteries and the old battlefields of the Somme through which will live forever the memory of the Australian soldiers and the spirit of the ANZAC which guided them to give their lives for us who will be forever grateful to them.Thank you so much Harold,for everything.At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him, we will remember them. 



"...4634 Private (Pte) Harold Melmoth Jackson, 16th Battalion, of East Fremantle, WA. A horse-driver before enlisting on 10 November 1915, Pte Jackson embarked from Fremantle on 12 February 1916 on HMAT Miltiades with the 14th Reinforcements. He was killed in action in France on 6 August 1916 at the age of 28." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)