World War I Victoria Cross Recipient. First World War Victoria Cross. John William Alexander Jackson was born at Gunbar near Hay, New South Wales and worked as a drover in the Merriwa district before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force under the name William Jackson as a private on February 20, 1915. He was allotted service number 588 and was an original member of the 17th Australian Infantry Battalion. After training in Egypt his battalion landed at Gallipoli on 20 August and he served on the peninsula for six weeks before being evacuated with dysentery. He rejoined his unit in time to embark at Alexandria, Egypt, for the Western Front. On the night of 25-26 June he acted as a scout to a raiding party that entered the forward trenches of the 231st Prussian Reserve Infantry Regiment. Having returned to the Australian trenches with a prisoner he immediately went out again under very heavy shellfire and assisted in bringing in a wounded man. He and a sergeant went out a second time and when bringing in another wounded man his left arm was severely wounded by a shell and the sergeant was rendered unconscious. He returned to the Australian trenches and obtaining assistance and despite his severe wound with resulted in his arm being amputated he went out again to find the two wounded men. Jackson was first Australian awarded the Victoria Cross on the Western Front and at 18 years old was the youngest Australian ever awarded the Victoria Cross. He was evacuated to England and repatriated to Australia where he was discharged on September 15, 1917. On January 12, 1932 he married a Ivy Muriel Alma Morris. There was one daughter of the marriage which was dissolved in 1955. He again served in the Second World War from 1941 to 1942 as an acting sergeant under the name John William Jackson. In 1953, he moved to Melbourne where he died of arteriosclerotic heart disease at the Austin Hospital, Heidelberg.
Bio by: Anthony Staunton