Jack (Clarence John) PITTER

PITTER, Jack (Clarence John)

Service Number: 397
Enlisted: 21 August 1914, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Infantry Battalion
Born: Melbourne, Victoria , 7 March 1895
Home Town: Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: General labourer
Died: Natural causes, Sandgate, Queensland, 26 July 1972, aged 77 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, East Brisbane War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

21 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 397, 9th Infantry Battalion, Brisbane, Queensland
24 Sep 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 397, 9th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 Sep 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 397, 9th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Omrah, Brisbane
25 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 397, 9th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli, GSW (chest)
12 Dec 1915: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 397, 9th Infantry Battalion, Medically discharged due to wound

Help us honour Jack (Clarence John) Pitter's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Paul Trevor

The three enlisted sons of William Rhodes Pitter (recordsearch.naa.gov.au) and Amelia Charlotte (née Gooch) Pitter of Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland:-

50723 Sgt. Leslie Norman Pitter (/explore/people/193881) - returned to Australia;

241 Pte. Raymond Pitter (/explore/people/349349) - returned to Australia;

397 Pte. Jack Pitter - returned to Australia.

 

Private Jack Pitter's true age was closer to 19 upon initial enlistment on August 1914, than the age of 23 years of age that he listed twice in the coming years on his Attestation Paper.

In February 1917 Pte. Jack Pitter attempted to re-enlist for military service again with the Australian Imperial Force, but was deemed medically unfit by the Medical Board due to his previous wound that he received whilst on active service.

On the 16 June 1937, Pte. Jack Pitter contacted Military Headquarters, Canberra to inform that his correct birth name was infact CLARENCE PITTER. He was duelly informed that since he was already discharged from the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) no alteration could be made, but a note would be made to this effect on his military records once he completes a Statuatory Declaration of his true and correct name.

 

'Jacks proper given name was Clarence and his records include correspondence from 1937 showing that he wished his records to be changed to his correct name.  Jack may have also lied about his age as birth records indicate that he was just 19 when he joined up.  His enlistment form claims he is 23 years and 6 months but when he re-enlisted in 1917 he claims to be 23 then as well.  Jack was seriously wounded at Gallipoli and subsequently medically discharged.  He re-enlisted in 1917 but was discharged as medically unfit before he saw further active service.  A letter from Jack to his father written while he was being treated for his injuries at Malta was published in the Brisbane Courier on 29th June 1915.  In this letter Jack tells of his own wounding and also describes his impressions of the Gallipoli landing.

“RAINED LEAD INSTEAD OF WATER.”

Private J. Pitter of the 9th Battalion, who was wounded during the landing operations on Gallipoli Peninsula, writes to his father (Mr. W. Pitter, Baines-street, Kangaroo Point) under date Malta, April 6 :–

“I sent you a cablegram yesterday notifying you of my wound. As I stated in the message, it is not serious, but it gives one a bit of gip. A couple of hours after we had landed and were right in the thick of it there was a  wounded man near me. I was just finished dressing another man’s wound when I saw this one drop. I went over to him to see what was the matter with him, found out where he was shot, got out his first field dressing, and had just got the bandage ready for putting on when I felt something hit me from the back. I thought it was a ton of lead or a big shell that had struck me instead of a bullet. It got me just above the left armpit, and finished down near the kidneys. If it had had sense enough to come out again it would have relieved me of a good deal of pain.  Now I have told you about my wound I will try and describe the fight up to the time I was put out of action. On April 24 A and B Company, with two stretcher squads, were transferred from the —- to the —-. We started for the Dardanelles about 11 a.m., and arrived there about 2 a.m. on Sunday. Just before disembarking we had a basin of cocoa, and after that a basin of soup. We started to disembark about 3 a.m. into the small boats of the gun-boat. There were about eight pinnaces and eight lines of boats about 50 yards apart all parallel. At about half-past 4 we were 300 or 400  yards from the shore and when the pinnace had drawn us as far as possible they were called back, and the soldiers had to row the last 50 yards. Just as we started to row the heavens started to rain lead instead of water, but owing to the breaking of day and the deceiving light very few of us in the first batch of  boats were hit. As soon as the bows of the boat crunched on the land, the lads started to spring out. They threw their packs off, fixed bayonets, and charged. Some crawling, others running, made their way to the bottom of the hill, which afforded some little shelter to them, and lay down in lines and awaited the arrival of a few more of the others. Then all charged up the hill.

On the Turks retreating, we formed up in some sort of order, and kept at them, but we had only advanced a couple of miles when they counter-attacked, for their reinforcements were coming up in thousands. All this time, however, more and more of our troops were landing under shrapnel fire from the forts on our right. Meanwhile the war-ships were booming away at these forts, but it took a bit to silence them, for they had their batteries well concealed. Three aeroplanes were high up overhead watching the effects of the warships’ shooting, giving them directions as to range, place, &c. The forts were pretty well silenced by half-past 1, but opened up at intervals all the afternoon. They were properly silenced next day. The warships also had an observation balloon straight above them out at sea. Just before dusk we were driven back to our first hills by sheer force of numbers and artillery, for our artillery had not landed that night, though a few of the smaller mountain batteries landed about 6 o’clock. Before we came back on our first line of hills the others had dug trenches for us, so we retired into them. We were attacked time and again that night, but without avail. The engineers did some very smart work in rigging in no time a jetty for the boats to land troops and supplies. Those of us who were wounded before Monday morning were taken in lighters across to the hospital ships and troopships fitted up for taking the wounded. Our boats went to Alexandria and took off a few hundred of what were considered to be the most serious cases, and then brought the rest of us here to Malta .” SOURCE (blogs.slq.qld.gov.au)

 

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