William Jack (Jack) GIDDINGS


GIDDINGS, William Jack

Service Number: SX17803
Enlisted: 3 March 1942
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Naracoorte, South Australia, 20 July 1912
Home Town: Naracoorte, Naracoorte and Lucindale, South Australia
Schooling: Narracoorte School, South Australia
Occupation: Boot Repairer
Died: Died of wounds, Tarakan, Borneo, 22 May 1945, aged 32 years
Cemetery: Labuan War Cemetery
Labuan War Cemetery, Labuan, Malaysia
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Naracoorte War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

3 Mar 1942: Involvement Private, SN SX17803
3 Mar 1942: Enlisted Wayville, SA
3 Mar 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX17803, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement
Date unknown: Involvement 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion

Exceptional Footballer

(Jack) William Jack GIDDINGS
Born at Naracoorte on the 20th July 1912, William Jack was the elder son of Samuel Myrtle and Giddings. He was one of four children, two sisters Isla and Nan and a brother, Ross who later worked for Dalgety & Co., Ltd. Most of Jack’s schooling was at the local school. For a short time, the family moved to Adelaide where Jack played football in Norwood.
Jack gained his Qualifying Certificate in ’24 at the Naracoorte Primary School, (the same year that young Ross also gained an award for attending every school day that year).
From an early age, Jack proved to be a talented sportsman in both football and cricket, but excelled particularly in football. As a 12-year-old he was selected in the Naracoorte Representative team which played in 1924. Jack kicked 11 of his team’s 16 goals being the major contributor to soundly defeat Penola who managed just 4 goals. In the following year, Jack was part of the team which won the McBain-Clements Challenge Cup. When his family briefly returned to live in Adelaide, Jack had a stint playing for suburban team, Maylands. The suburban journal quaintly wrote: —"J. Giddings, a bright youth, over whose golden curls fourteen summers have gently slipped, put up a good goal-kicking record last Saturday. Playing for Maylands First against the Oriental Uniteds, young Giddings booted seven goals in a style that stamped him a. potential league champion, considering he was playing against a team who would go up the pole if any of them were termed youths."
The family soon returned to Naracoorte where Jack immediately became a regular member of the local team in the Central South-Eastern and Border District Football Association's Competition, playing close to 150 games for them. There Jack was a speedy full forward who consistently and accurately converted kicks into goals. For many years Jack was the leading goal kicker of the Association. In a match against South Mount Gambier in June ’26, Jack bagged a remarkable eight goals with the local ‘Naracoorte Herald’ football writer commenting that “Narracoorte's advantage lay in the pace and smartness of their smaller players, and the marvellous accuracy of J. Giddings and the other forwards. Souths fought hard to hold the visitors in check, but Giddings flashed up time after time, and with uncanny accuracy scored goals.” He followed this with ten goals the following week against Lucindale, scoring three in the first minutes of the game. Jack was obviously a regular in the nominated best players each week. His speed was frequently a focus for comment as he would often elude several opposing defenders.
A match against Millicent in ’27 was reported as: “J. Giddings, in the full forward position, helped by the other forwards, gave a remarkable exhibition of goal kicking, his tally being eight goals. He has been sadly missed for a good part of the season.” Jack had badly sprained his ankle earlier in the season in a match against North Mount Gambier. J. Giddings thrilled the spectators and his many admirers with some particularly clever goals. Fourteen goals in the last two matches was a very meritorious performance.
An astute observation by the ‘Naracoorte Herald’ football writer in ’28 observed that “J. Giddings strikes one as being too good a man to leave full forward, although he is undoubtedly a big asset to his team in that position. He displayed dash and initiative when on the ball, and one of his two goals was the result of a fine dash, in which he outplayed; many North defenders.” Jack did finish that season playing both as a rover and full forward, always scoring multiple goals each match with his cool play.
Jack established a gaol kicking record in 1927 with 59 goals in the season. He broke that record two years later with a five-goal haul against Penola. This feat was even more remarkable as he had been sidelined with both shoulder and ankle injuries during the season. He was impatient to play, taking the field with a heavily bandaged shoulder. The ‘Border Watch’ reported that “he Narracoorte full forward has easily been the most prolific goal getter in the Association, and has headed the list every season. At the present moment he has 61 goals to his credit this, season, and his tally would no doubt have been much greater but for- absence for many weeks on account of ankle and shoulder injuries. Though his shoulder was still bandaged on. Saturday, and he was playing against medical advice, he proved a snag to the Penola back men, and in the welters or out in the open always played the correct game.” Jack finished the season with a tally of 63 goals.
Jack mixed his lightness of foot to the dance hall in an evening designed to raise money for tennis courts. He and his partner won the foxtrot competition!
The Narracoorte Herald in ’31 described Giddings as ‘one of the smartest and most elusive men on the ground. His bag of eight goals speaks for itself, and was a striking return to form in the face of strong opposition.’ However, a debilitating injury that year severely affected Jack’s illustrious season. The Naracoorte Herald later reported that “Jack Giddings, Narracoorte's nimble goal sneak, who met with an accident when playing in the match against Penola here on Saturday, will be out of action for some time. He sustained a fractured collar bone, and some of the ligaments were torn. It is unfortunate for the Narracoorte team in losing the services of so valuable a player at this stage of the competition, when the full strength of the combination is so badly needed.” This was also a precursor to Jack’s long-standing five season record of goals to be broken by Penola’s T Bridgman.
However, a further milestone of playing 103 games was achieved in 1932. The ‘Border Watch’ reported that He had been playing 'for Narracoorte ever since the Association was launched in 1926, and for five seasons in succession topped the goal kicking list. Up, to date he has kicked a total of 332 goals in Association matches, which is an easy aggregate record. Although out of the game with a sprained ankle on several occasions, he has been a regular and consistent performer. Both as a rover and forward he has starred on many occasions and is generally among the best players.’ That season in a match against Mount Gambier the paper reported that ‘There was none more useful and ubiquitous than J. Giddings, who kicked four goals, and gave a smart exhibition of roving and forward work. He was unlucky enough to sustain another ankle injury in the last five minutes of the game.’ His football career overall was exceptional. The Naracoorte Herald of ’34 summarised ‘During the first nine years in Association matches he has reached an aggregate total of 458 goals. He topped the list for the first five, years with totals of 40, 59, 52, 63, and 47. whilst in the next four years his totals were 48, 64, 28, and 57’, statistics which clearly indicate also his time off the field for injuries sustained.
While still playing skilful games, in September ’36 Jack Giddings, their popular Captain, announced his retirement from the game. Giddings has been one of the greatest footballers the South-East has produced, having been actively engaged in the game for nearly 15 years and close to 150 games. Over that time his aggregate of goals far exceeded that of any other player. Topping the list of goalkickers for five successive years, Giddings' tally for the whole period was 554, and when not first on the list, his name was invariably not far down. His highest total for one season was 64. Recognised as the cleverest forward in the Association for years, Giddings had the knack of getting his boot to the ball in crushes the moment it touched his hands, and shooting with deadly accuracy. Jack retired on a high as Captain and a Premiership. At huge celebrations in the Town Hall, attended by close to 400 people, Jack cut a magnificent two-tiered Victory Cake The top tier represented a football field, complete with model players and goalposts.
Jack continued to be involved with football as coach of the North Narracoorte, even turning his hand to umpiring in an honorary capacity, a match between married and single players. This was organised with gate proceeds going to patriotic funds.
Besides his illustrious career as a footballer, Jack also played cricket for the Colts and was described as a formidable batsman.
A boot repairer by trade, Jack was regarded as a splendid tradesman. He enlisted to serve in WWII on the 3rd March 1942, aged 29 becoming SX177803 with the 2/48th Battalion. As Private Jack Giddings, he had a brief weekend leave with his parents before undertaking training with a number of fellow South East sportsmen who had enlisted. Private Hill wrote to the ‘Border Watch’ about being with Jack as both had been cricketers and footballers. He commented that “Jack Giddings was probably the best full forward the football game has known down our way, while the Cliffords, Ian Balnaves, Jim Caddy and Nev Smith were, or are, all capable players. " This group then headed first to the Middle East in October of ’42, at the end of which Jack returned to Melbourne in February ‘43 . Perhaps as a result of his extensive football career he suffered from an inflamed knee joint before undergoing training in Queensland prior to heading to Port Moresby and serve in New Guinea. There he was involved in the battle of Sattleburge. Unfortunately, he contracted malaria, returning to Australia for treatment. He then returned to Tarakan via Maratai in April ’45. Within a month of his return, he received a gunshot wound to his abdomen and died on the 22nd May ’45 aged 32. In a twist of fate, a letter from Jack dated May 11 arrived after the tragic news. Sergeant Derrick, V.C. a friend of the family, had added a note “Cheerio, Mrs Giddings, Jack is 100% fit.” Sgt Diver Derrick was killed just two days after Jack.
Initially Jack was buried in the field but later reburied in the Tarakan War Cemetery. His headstone reads ‘God Knew Best When He Laid Him to Rest’.
His family and fellow members of the tight-knit 2/48th Battalion continued to remember Jack
Narracoorte Herald Monday 20 May 1946, GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our friend, Jack, who was killed in action at Tarakan on May 22nd, 1945. To be with us in the same old way Would be our dearest wish today. —Ever remembered by Mr. and, Mrs. Wooffinden and Jean.
Border Watch Thursday 23 May 1946, GIDDINGS (SX17801)— In memory of my dear friend Jack, killed in action at Tarakan, 22nd May, 1945. Always remembered. —Inserted by his pal, Lindsay Flett.
Advertiser Thursday 23 May 1946, BADMAN. GIDDINGS. DERRICK. —In memory of Alf. Jack, and Tom. 2/48th Batt., killed in action. Tarakan. May, 1945.—Always remembered by Art Williams, ex-2/48th Batt., A.I.F. GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our dear son and brother SX17803. Pte. Jack Giddings, 2/48th Batt, died of wounds. Tarakan, May 23. 1945. A thousand sweet memories are holding him here, in our home that he blessed with his presence so dear; how dearly we loved him. how dear to us still, but in grief we must bend to God's holy will. —Lovingly remembered by mum, dad and Ross. GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our brother, SX17803 Pte. Jack Giddings. 2/48th Batt, died of wounds. Tarakan. May 23, 1945. Deep in our hearts a memory is kept of a brother we loved and will never forget. —Sadly missed by his sister Isla, brother-in-law Gordon, and Billy and Trevor. GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of Jack, who died of wounds at Tarakan. Not only today, but every day. In silence I remember. Also other pals of the 2/48 to who paid the supreme sacrifice. —lnserted by C. Fryar. ex-2/48th. GIDDINGS. SX17803, 2/48th Battalion. —ln memory of Jack, killed in action at Tarakan. May 23. 1945.—Inserted by Marian and Denny. GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of Jack. A.I.F., K.I.A., Tarakan. Years pass by but memories stay. —Ever re-membered by Nan and Reg.
Narracoorte Herald Thursday 23 May 1946, GIDDINGS—In loving memory of Jack, 2/48th, died of wounds, Tarakan, 23rd. May, 1945. It is not the tears at the moment shed That tells of the hearts that are torn, But the loneliness of after years, And the sadness silently borne. —Ever remembered by mum, dad, and Ross. GIDDINGS. —In memory of our loving cousin, Jack, died of wounds, Tarakan, May 25ih, 1945. It takes no special days to bring him back to mind, The days we do not think of him are very hard to find. —Lovingly remembered by Auntie Maggie and cousins.
GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our dear Jack, 2/48th. Died of wounds Tarakan, 23rd May, 1945. We have a beautiful memory To treasure our whole lives through, The sweetness will linger for ever, The memory, dear Jack, of you. —Lovingly remembered by mother, dad, and Ross.
Advertiser Friday 23 May 1947, GIDDINGS. —In remembrance of Jack, who gave his life at Tarakan May 23, 1945. Also Alf Badman, Tom Derrick (Tarakan), Max Trengrove (Satelberg), and other members of the 2/48th. Time passes, memories stay. —Inserted by Colin Fryar. GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our dear brother Jack, May 23, 1945, at Tarakan. Too dearly loved to be forgotten. —Ever remembered by Isla, Billy, Trevor and Gordon. GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our dear son and brother Jack (2/48th), Tarakan, May 22, 2945. There’s a face that is always with us, a voice we would love to hear, a smile we will always remember and a memory so precious and dear. —Always remembered by mum, dad and Ross. GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our dear brother, Jack, killed at Tarakan, 1945. Deep in our hearts a memory is kept of a brother we loved and will never forget. —Sadly missed by Nan and Reg.
Narracoorte Herald Thursday 20 May 1948, GIDDINGS (Pte. Jack, 2/48).—In loving memory of our dear son and brother, killed Tarakan, May 23rd, 1945. Till we meet again. —Always remembered by Dad, Mum, and Ross.
Advertiser Saturday 22 May 1948, GIDDINGS. —In loving memory of our clear brother Jack. May 23, 1945. Tarakan. Time passes but memories stay. —Remembered always by Nan and Reg. GIDDINGS. —A tribute to the memory of my pal Jack, died of wounds at Tarakan, May 23. 1945. Always remembered. Also other boys of the 2/48th who lost their lives. —lnserted by Colin Fryar. ex 2/48th Btn. GIDDINGS. Jack. 2/48tb Batt. —ln loving memory of our dear brother. Killed at Tarakan. May 23. 1945.— Inserted by his sister Isla and brother-in-law Gordon. GIDDDINGS. Pte. Jack. 2/48 Batt. —In loving memory of our dear son and brother, killed Tarakan May 23, 1945. His memory our dearest keepsake—Always -remembered, dad. mum and Ross.
Advertiser Monday 23 May 1949, GIDDINGS. —In memory of Jack, who gave his life at Tarakan, May 23, 1945 Time moves on, but memories stay. —Inserted by his pal Colin. GIDDINGS, Jack, 2/48th Batt. —In loving memory of our dear brother, killed at Tarakan, 1945. —Always remembered by Nan and Reg.
Advertiser Tuesday 23 May 1950, GIDDINGS, Jack. 2/48th. —Treasured memories of our dear son and brother, who made the supreme sacrifice at Tarakan on May 23. 1945. For those he loved he gave his all. —Always remembered, dad, mum and Ross. GIDDINGS, Jack. —In loving memory of our dear brother, killed Tarakan. 1945.— Always remembered by Nan and Reg.
Narracoorte Herald Monday 21 May 1951, GIDDINGS. -In loving memory of our beloved son and brother, Jack, 2/48 Battalion. Killed on Tarakan, May 23, 1945. Always remembered toy Mum, Dad and Ross.
Advertiser Friday 23 May 1952, GIDDINGS, W. J., 2/48th Btn. — In loving memory of our dear son and brother, killed Tarakan. May 23. 1945.— Always remembered, dad. mum. Ross.
Advertiser Saturday 23 May 1953, GIDDINGS. — In loving memory of dear Jack. 2/48th Bat., killed Tarakan. May 23. 1945.— Always remembered, mum. dad. Ross. GIDDINGS. — In loving memory of our dear brother Jack, killed at Tarakan. 1945.— Always remembered by Nan and Reg.
Advertiser Saturday 22 May 1954, GIDDINGS. Jack. —In loving memory of our dear son and brother, killed May 23. 1945. at Tarakan. —Lovingly remembered by mum. dad and Ross. GIDDINGS—In loving memory of our dear brother Jack. May 23. at Tarakan. — Remembered always by Nan and Reg.
Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion.

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