Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Tale of 2 Jacks and a Jim

This piece of Trench Art was made by my Great Uncle Jim for his sister, my grandmother, to commemorate their brother Jack.
It's made from 2 spent .303 bullets they were issued with in WW1.
Jim WW1.
Jim was at the landing of Gallipoli with his brother Jack and he was fortunate in that he kept body (but not so much his soul) together all the way through the bloody battles of WW1, to return home to his family.

Jack WW1.
Jack was, according to his enlistment papers, a blue eyed, brown haired 23 year old farm hand with a "fresh faced" complexion.
At 5 foot 9 inches he was someone's brother and someone's son but in the end he was just another piece of cannon fodder.
Jack survived Gallipoli and numerous admissions to hospital with several ailments, bullets and shrapnel wounds.
In the last letter he wrote home, to my grandmother dated October 31, 1916, he mentioned how "us Australians aren't doing too badly for a group of amateurs", and also asked after his "namesake", my grandmother's first-born baby she had named after her favourite brother.
Jack was killed 3 days later on November 3, 1916 in France.

Jack WW2.
In an ironic twist of fate, Jack's namesake, my Uncle Jack, also joined up for war.
He wrote to my grandmother, asking how his own young daughter was, in a letter dated May 29, 1945.
Jack, the namesake, followed his uncle's fate and was killed in New Guinea June 6, 1945.


  1. Awww... :(

    That's sad and sweet all in one.

  2. My 'hamster vampire' joke seems a bit out of place now that I know that. Very poignant story, and unfortunately one of those history lessons that fails time and time again to be learned.

  3. A very sad post but thanks for sharing their story Jayne. Lest we forget.

  4. It is, isn't it Naomi.

    Nah, jokes like that are ok Brian. They all had great senses of humour and were never without a smile on their faces or joking around.

    Thanks LiD. Indeed, Lest we forget.

  5. Beautifully told and a credit to your wonderful family.