JACKSON, Walter Henry

NAME:  Walter Henry JACKSON                                                                          098

SERVICE NO:  6292

YEAR OF BIRTH: 1896

PLACE OF BIRTH:  Hamilton

DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 11 April 1916

PLACE OF ENLISTMENT:  Hamilton

AGE AT ENLISTMENT:  19

UNIT: 6th Battalion, 20th Reinforcement

EMBARKED:  11 September 1916

TROOP SHIP:  HMAT A14 Euripides

FATE:  Killed in Action – 20 September 1917 – Passchendaele, Belgium

Walter Jackson was born in Hamilton in 1896, a son of farmer John Jackson and Martha Rigby of Stoe Park, South Hamilton.  He attended Tarrington State School . When he was around seventeen Walter joined the Hamilton branch of the Light Horse.

On 11 April 1916, Walter and his older brother Edward enlisted at Hamilton.  The brothers went together to Broadmeadows to join the 6th Battalion, 20th Reinforcement on 1 June.  They left Melbourne on 11 September 1916 (below).

6th BATTALION, 20th REINFORCEMENT ABOUT TO BOARD THE HMAT EURIPIDES. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PB0402/

6th BATTALION, 20th REINFORCEMENT ABOUT TO BOARD THE HMAT EURIPIDES. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/PB0402/

 

The reinforcements sailed for Plymouth arriving on 26 October and remained in England until December when they left for France.  They arrived at Étaples, France on 14 December and two days later joined the 6th Battalion.  At the time, the 6th Battalion was at Bernafay in northern France and the winter weather had set in.

SOLDIERS AT BERNAFAY JANUARY 1917. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/E00140/

SOLDIERS AT BERNAFAY JANUARY 1917. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/E00140/

On 3 May 1917, Walter’s brother Edward was wounded and left for hospital in England.  During July 1917, Walter, known as Wattie by his fellow soldiers, fell ill and was hospitalised for two weeks. On 15 September, the 6th Battalion received orders to move from Reninghelst, Belgium to Zillebeke to prepare for what would be the Battle of Menin Road.  The objectives were to capture Fitzclarence Farm and Glencorse Ridge.

On the night of 18 September and into the morning of 19 September, the 6th Battalion moved from Zillebeke to take up their positions in the trenches.  During the ensuing hours there was heavy fighting but the 6th Battalion managed to meet its objectives.  They pushed forward into the night of 19 September with periods of heavy shelling.  After 5:40am on 20 September, the Germans mounted a counterattack and the 6th Battalion trenches were hit with shells.  Around 6:00am a shell fell near Walter’s trench with shrapnel hitting him.  He was killed instantly and buried where he fell.  The 6th Battalion had 257 casualties during the battle.

walterjackson

ON WESTHOEK RIDGE LOOKING TOWARD GLENCORSE RIDGE, 20 SEPTEMBER 1917. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/E01037/

News reached home about William’s death in mid-October 1917.  During November, the Jackson’s received a letter from Hamilton’s William Warburton, also a member of the 6th Battalion and with Walter when he died.  He wrote,

"THE LATE PRIVATE W. H. JACKSON." Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 - 1873; 1914 - 1918) 29 November 1917: . .

“THE LATE PRIVATE W. H. JACKSON.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 29 November 1917: . <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119859914&gt;.

Edward Jackson returned to Australia on 8 April 1918.  Walter’s mother Martha Jackson died in 1934

Walter Jackson’s name is on the Hamilton War Memorial and a tree was planted for him along Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue on 28 June 1918.

 

The midnight stars a gleaming

On a grave I cannot see,

Where sleeping without dreaming lies the one so dear to me.

A hero he lived, a hero he fell,

Though only a lad, he did his part well;

He gave his life for a cause that is true,

Fighting for country, for home, and for you.

Duty Nobly Done.

“Family Notices” Hamilton Spectator 21 September 1918

 

 

ONLINE RESOURCES

Australian War Memorial – 6th Australian Infantry Battalion

Australian War Memorial – 6th Australian Infantry Battalion Unit Diary

Australian War Memorial – Roll of Honour – Walter Henry Jackson

Australian War Memorial- WW1 Embarkation Roll – Walter Henry Jackson

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Ypres(Menin Gate) Memorial – Walter Henry Jackson

Discovering Anzacs – WW1 Service Record – Walter Henry Jackson

Newspaper Articles from Trove –  Walter Henry Jackson

The AIF Project – Walter Henry Jackson

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