This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Monday, April 15, 2013

Private Sproston and the Gallipoli Landing

Lenoard G Sproston of Ascot Vale enlisted on 17 August 1914, one of the very first.  Embarking just a few weeks later with 7 Infantry Battalion, he celebrated his 21st birthday in Egypt while preparations were made for the landing on that fateful shore of Gallipoli.

Marilyn Kenny tells the poignant story of Len Sproston, who is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial.

Images courtesy of Kim Phillips of The Spirits of

Friday, April 12, 2013

Is this Shorty Jackson?

Is the man standing at the rear wearing a tie Shorty Jackson?

Hunting around for people related to Henry George Jackson of Ascot Vale, I found the above photo attached to the file of Henry's nephew, Robert S Jackson - and based on the photo in the previous post, Who was Shorty Jackson?, I think the fellow standing at the back with the tie could well be Henry George Jackson.  I would love it if someone could confirm that for me.  The photo would appear to be post-war.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Who was "Shorty" Jackson?

Shorty Jackson on the left, and James Simonsen on the right. 
James Andrew Simonsen's grandson says that his grandfather had a great mate from the war called Shorty Jackson, and the photo above shows Shorty Jackson on the left, and Jim Simonsen on the right.

The problem is to identify Shorty Jackson.

James Simonsen embarked in 1915 with the 6th Field Ambulance.  He was dispatched to join the MEF on Gallipoli Peninsula on 30 August 1915.    A few months after the evacuation he was transferred to the 12th Field Ambulance, and embarked to join the MEF in France.

The photo of Shorty Jackson shows him as a Staff Sergeant.   I have searched the Embarkation rolls using the search terms 'Jackson' and 'Field Ambulance', and by checking their B2455 records only found two men who achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant who embarked with a Field Ambulance unit.  This doesn't mean someone didn't transfer in from a non-ambulance unit, but I'm inclined to think that those who did were not likely to rise to the rank of Staff Sergeant without experience in a Field Ambulance Unit.

The two men on my shortlist are Henry George Jackson who embarked and returned with the 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance Unit, and Herrick Jackson who embarked with the 4th Field Ambulance who likewise returned to Australia with his original unit.  Of the two men, Henry George Jackson was the most likely to have known James Simonsen both before and after the war, as they both came from Ascot Vale.  Herrick Jackson, on the other hand enlisted and was demobilised in South Australia.

The only period of service where they are most likely to have met up with each other was on the Gallipoli Peninsula.  After the war Henry and James possibly joined the same RSL at Moonee Ponds, and continued their friendship that way.

But is the man in the photo Henry George Jackson?  Henry never married.  His next of kin was named as his sister, Elizabeth Sophia Jackson who lived in Maribyrnong Road, Ascot Vale, and he had other brothers and a sister, so perhaps there is someone out there who is able to say whether or not Shorty Jackson is Henry George Jackson.  Anyone?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lieutenant J E Marshall, remembered at Lone Pine

Lone Pine Memorial
Jack Marshall of Balmoral St, Essendon, was a member of a well-known theatrical family, but Jack was drawn to the theatre of War, and played out his last act at German Officers Trench, Gallipoli.  Marilyn Kenny tells the story of  Jack and the Marshall family.