Quick Facts

When:15 -29 July 2016
Key Highlights:
  • Guided battlefield tour
  • Attendance at Pozieres Commemoration Ceremony
  • Presentation by WW2 French Resistance
  • Attendance at Ravivage de la Flamme

Contact Details

 

4507 PTE J.P. Gordon

4507 PTE J.P. GORDON – 47th BN AIF

By Anthony Hambleton AM CSC
After completing 32 years in the Australian Regular Army I was delighted to be invited by Legacy Australia to plan and lead a tour of young adults to the Western Front battlefields in July 2016. The centrepiece of this tour is the commemoration of the Battle of Pozieres.

Both my grandparents served in the First World War. My father's father served in the Light Horse in Palestine and was badly wounded in the Battle of Amman. He survived the war with permanent damage to his right shoulder that made his right arm and hand completely useless.

My mother's father, John (Jack) Peacock Gordon, served with the 47th Battalion on the Western Front.

While I had been to the Western Front battlefields previously I had not taken a keen interest in my grandfather’s actions. The family originally believed that he was badly wounded in the battle of Fromelles however retracing his footsteps as part of the Legacy tour identified a different story.

Jack Gordon enlisted in September 1915 as a reinforcement to the 15th Battalion who were fighting in Gallipoli. He embarked from Australia in January 1916 and on arrival in Egypt was allocated to the newly created 47th Battalion as part of the round out of the Australian 4th Division.

The 47th Battalion arrived in France in June 1916 and after a brief period in the line before the battle of Fromelles, it was moved south with the First ANZAC Corps to participate in the attack on Pozieres. The Legacy tour now took on a personal journey for me.

While in the trenches at Pozieres, Jack received gun shots wounds to his legs on 14 August 1916. He was evacuated to hospitals in England for surgery, eventually returning to his Battalion in March 1917. He survived the major battles of Messines, Passchendaele, and Dernancourt. In May 1918 the 47th Battalion was disbanded and Jack was allocated to the 45th Battalion to see out the war. He was repatriated to Australia in April 1919.


Jack was a man of many sporting talents. In 1919 he played two matches for Queensland in Rugby League as a winger. In the 1920’s he was a professional runner under the pseudonym of Jim Oliver.

Right: 45th Battalion Rugby Team – Belgium 1918
(John Gordon, back row second from the right)

He went on to be the first Queenslander to win the Australian Singles Lawn Bowls Championship in Hobart in 1948.
Regrettably I never knew my grandfather as he passed away five months after I was born but his spirit was kept alive by my Grandmother.

I find it very humbling to now trace his war time journey.


     

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