John (Jack) JONES #9622

Indigenous Australian, John (Jack) JONES, 3rd Artillery Brigade, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column.

In September 1915 Jack was living with this family at Highland Plains near Oakey on the Darling Downs, when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF. He was assigned to the 13th Reinforcements for the 3rd Artillery Brigade and embarked on board HMAT Berrima from Sydney in December, bound for Egypt.

Whilst at sea Jack escaped from the ship’s isolation ward, where he had been admitted suffering from a ‘contagious disease’ most likely mumps, he was later fined for his efforts.

By the time Jack arrived in the Middle East, allied troops had been evacuated from the Gallipoli Peninsula. Units were being reorganised and men transferred to where they were now most needed. Jack was transferred to the 1st Divisional Ammunition Column and appointed Driver, before embarking for France.

They left Egypt in April arriving at the port of Marseilles where they boarded a ‘troop’ train, which took them on a 2-day journey north. Having reached Havre they camped for 5 days before being entrained once again north to Godewaersvelde on the Belgium border. From here they marched 8 miles to Three Farms; their next camp being Doulieu where they commenced supply operations.

This was to be the life Jack Jones experienced while he served with the Artillery Division, always travelling towards the front lines where supplies were required.

For a short time he was appointed temporary Bombardier in November 1917, but reverted to his role as a Driver at his own request.

Jack’s older sister Alice wrote to District Headquarters from her residence in Victoria, querying why her letter to Jack had been returned ‘Not 1st A.D.C.’ As was sometimes the case when men changed units, the field post office had difficulties tracking some men down, however considering the huge flow of mail they must have had to deal with everyday they responded very apologetically and ensuring that action had been taken to ensure that it would reoccur.

Drivers resting on Menin Road, Ypres, 1917. AWM E01083

Jack’s brother Alfred Jones served with the 41st Infantry Battalion, from June 1916 to January 1919. He was awarded the Military Medal for his courageous actions in August 1918, the same day he was wounded in action.

Many thanks to Christine Cramer for her meticulous research into the Jones family.

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Marg Powell & Des Crump

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