Albert Jacka was born on the 10th of January 1893 in a small dairy farm in Winchelsea, Victoria. On the 17th of the first 1932, seven days after his 39th birthday, he died of chronic nephritis. He was the fourth child of 7 of Nathaniel Jacka and Mary Elizabeth Kettle. He spent most of his life in Wedderburn after his parents decided to move the family there in 1898 when Bertie was the age of 5. After completing elementary school, he found work as a labourer with his father, and later for the Victorian State Forests Department.
On 18/8/14, Bert enlisted into the Aussie Imperial Force, assigned 14 Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Division and began training at Broadmeadow camp. Jacka’s battalion then left for further two months of training in Egypt. After that, his battalion then joined the fight in Gallipoli, arriving on Anzac Cove through the Dardanelles, 26/4/15. A month later on the 19th, the Turkish began an assault along almost the whole Anzac line, and captured a small twelve yard section of the trench, leaving one end being guarded by Jacka.
For longer than several minutes, he shot warning shots into he trench until, finally reinforcements had arrived.
Everybody but Jacka were hit so he leapt back into the communication trench. He had then thought up a new plan, two bombs would be thrown at the Turks, as Bert would walk around and flank them from behind. He shot five and bayoneted two as the others retreated. “l managed to get the begars, Sir”, he was quoted to have said to the first officer to arrive.
For doing this act of courage, he was awarded with a Victorian Cross, which appeared in a section of the London Gazette. War Office, 24th July, 1915 His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers and Non-commissioned Officers:No. 65 Lance-corporal Albert Jacka, 14th Battalion, Australian Imperial Forces. For most conspicuous bravery on the night of the 19th-20th May, 1915 at “Courtney’s Post”, Gallipoli Peninsula. Lance-corporal Jacka, while holding a portion of our trench with four other men, was heavily attacked. When all except himself were killed or wounded, the trench was rushed and occupied by seven Turks. Lance-corporal Jacka at once most gallantly ttacked them single-handed, and killed the whole party, five by rifle fire and two with the bayonet. Albert was immediately known as a national hero.
He began to be used on recruiting posters John Wren, gave him E500 and a golden watch, after promising the first Victorian Cross winner a reward of so. After the 28th of 8th he began to skyrocket from rank to rank, beginning with Corporal, then on the 12/9, Sergeant, then Company Sergeant Major on 14/11, and finally Second Lieutenant on the 29/4/16 after completing officer training. Early in June, the 14th Battalion were then sent to France. On the 7th of August, Bert’s platoon then moved into the line close to Pozires, a small French village.
One night after dawn, Just as Jacka had completed his surveying of the area, two German soldiers had overrun a part of line. They came to the entrance of Jacka’s dugout, rolling a bomb down the doorway, killing two men. Jacka survived, rushing up the steps, tiring as ne moved. He got up and came upon German soldiers rounding up about forty Aussies as prisoners. He spoke out to his platoon and charged against the enemy. Men threw away their rifles and began to participate n wild hand to hand combat, while the prisoners turned on their enslavers.
On that night, they took capture of fifty Germans and retook back the line. Everyone was severely wounded, Jacka received serious neck and shoulder injures and was sent away to London hospital. On the 8th of the 8th, London newspapers sent out false reports claiming that Bert was killed in action. After this, Albert was promoted to captain and was authorised as the 14 Battalion’s Intelligence officer on the 15th March. Albert got back into the fght and led a night scouting party on the 8th of April, to inspect the enemy’s defences.
He infiltrated the wire at two places, reported back, then he went out again to watch the laying of the guide tapes for the infantry. As the Job was almost done, two German soldiers creeped up, Jacka, realising that theyd see the tapes, he knew that they must be captured. He pulled out his pistol, misfired, so he rushed on towards them and captured them by hand. His smart, quick thinking, had saved the Anzac soldiers from discovery and possibly bombardment and had earnt himself a bar to his military cross. The newly captained Jacka, on the 8th July, was wounded by a sniper’s bullet near Ploegsteert Wood.
Two months later on the 26th, he was back on his feet and back on the front, he led the 14th battalion against German Pillboxes(small underground outposts) at Polygon Wood. In March 1918, Jacka unknowingly faced his final fght, after being cruelly gassed at Villers-Bretonneux. A few months later, he boarded the Euripides, for Australia. A large crowd, including the Governor General, greeted him on his arrival in Melbourne. A few months after being discharged, R. O. Roxburgh, E. J. L. Edmonds and himself, created an electrical goods importing and exporting business.
The following year on the 17th January, Jacka was hitched to Frances Veronica Carey, a typist at his Electrical Goods business. A few moths later, the moved to St Kilda and adopted a daughter. Eight years later, he was elected to the St Kilda Council and a year later elected as mayor. On the 18th of December 1931, he mysteriously fell ill during a council meeting and on January 17th, a year later, he died of chronic nephritis. Over 60,000 people paraded by his coffin as it lay in Anzac house. He was buried with complete military honor in the Presbyterian section of the cemetery.