Jack Wilfred USHER

USHER, Jack Wilfred

Service Number: 1223
Enlisted: 21 September 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Noarlunga, South Australia, 11 November 1884
Home Town: Victor Harbor, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Norwood Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Farm labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Bloody Angle, Gallipoli, Turkey, 2 May 1915, aged 30 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Norwood Primary School Honour Board, Norwood War Memorial, Tumby Bay RSL Portrait Memorials, Tumby Bay War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

21 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1223, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Morphettville, South Australia
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 1223, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1),

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '12' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Ceramic embarkation_ship_number: A40 public_note: ''

25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1223, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), ANZAC / Gallipoli
2 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1223, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), ANZAC / Gallipoli

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Private Jack Wilfred USHER; 16th Battalion; 
Killed in action 2/5/1915 Gallipoli Peninsular, Turkey.

Seven hundred and ten pounds would have been a great deal of money in 1915, especially for a 20 year old young man whose occupation was listed as a Farm hand. That’s what soldier Private Jack Wilfred Usher had in his bank account when he was killed at Gallipoli Peninsular, Turkey on 2nd May 1915.

Jack Wilfred Usher was born on 11th November 1894 at Noarlunga in the Fleurieu Peninsular of South Australia and was the second son of William Usher and Mary Ann Sophie (nee Bates) with siblings Victor Herbert and Ivy Mertle.  He named his brother Victor as his next of kin.

He enlisted for war service on 31st September 1914 and departed from Melbourne on HMAT Ceramic on 22nd December that year with the 16th Battalion infantry brigade. 

Jack’s mother had been married previously to a Thomas William Dungey to whom she had three children, Arthur Theophilus, Olive Blanche and Ethel Lucinda, hence they were Half siblings to Jack.

It was to Arthur Theophilus Dungey that Jack had willed his estate. Probate was in progress following news of the death of Jack Wilfred when a letter was handed to the London War Office by Private Willas Henry Gordon Morrell who was a serving soldier and who had known Jack when residing at Lipson on the west coast of South Australia.

The letter stated that Jack was in fact a prisoner of war somewhere in Turkey and was asking for money to be sent to him. Private Morrell handed the letter in to the London office and stated later that he wished he hadn’t as he had no proof as to the contents and could only swear to what he remembered the letter contained. 

Notice of its contents had been sent to Jack’s father William Usher who had been searching for information and wished to have a death Certificate issued by the War office so as to finalize Jack’s Estate.

Private Morrell concluded the statement letter with “Trusting you receive this safely and trusting it will assist you in getting details of Jack who I am confident is still living” the letter is dated May 18th 1916, so it was over a year since the report of Jack’s death. William Usher notified the Officer in charge of Base Records in Melbourne on 5th September 1916 that he had received the effects of his son and asked for a reply to his letter of 3 months earlier asking for results of the letter handed in by private Morrell, which had been sent on to London.

He stated in his letter that “Morrell had sworn to a JP of the truth of the letter” and also that the “man in whose favour the will was made (AT Dungey) has cut his throat in his anxiety to get the money”. Arthur Dungey was saved in this attempt of suicide, but succeeded in his attempt 18months later at the age of 32years. His death notice inserted by his young wife and 6 children states.

The Advertiser 10th January 1919.
DUNGEY.- In sad but loving memory of our  dear husband and father, who passed away, January 10, 1917. "Some day we will understand." - Inserted by his loving wife and children.

Jack’s mother Mary Ann Sophie Usher, was from the Bates’s Salve manufacturing company so it is very likely that as the children were involved in the business, that is where Jack came by the amount of money he had.

There is evidence in letters written to the war office, that Jack’s Father William Usher, was still trying to finalise Jack’s estate in 1920, five years after his death.


Submitted by Marcelle Edwards