JOHN WESLEY BLACKET
Units Served: 10th, 24th & 27th Btns.
Personal Details: John Wesley Blacket was born on the 20th July 1886 in Gumeracha. He was the eldest of fourteen children born to the Reverend John and Martha Jane (nee Fidler) Blacket. Reverend Blacket was a Weslyan Minister and was posted to Gumeracha at the time of John junior’s birth. John Wesley Blacket was a School Master at Prince Alfred College where he had taught for 10 years prior to his enlistment in WW1. John was a former pupil of the college and had attended Adelaide University. John had also been a Captain in the 78th Battalion Senior Cadets for nine years. He had been promoted to Area Officer of Area 78B three months prior to enlistment. John played 11 league games and kicked one goal for Norwood Football Club between 1907 and 1909. He also played District Cricket.
Enlistment Details: John Blacket applied for a Commission in the Australian Imperial Forces on the 30th January 1915. He was first appointed to 4th reinforcements of the 10th Btn on the 16th February 1915 before being transferred to the 24th Btn and subsequently changed to the 27th Btn where he remained. His initial rank was Adjutant Lieutenant.
Details of his role in the war: John embarked from Adelaide on the HMAT Geelong on 31st May 1915. On the 26th August 1915 he was promoted to Captain of the 27th Battalion. On the 4th September 1915 he proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces at Gallipoli from Alexandria , where he was placed in Temporary Command of C Company until he was slightly wounded by a bomb on the 24th September. He was transferred to the Hospital Ship ‘Grampian’ with a Gun Shot Wound to his shoulder. He was shipped out to England for treatment before rejoining his unit at Tel-el-Kebir in January 1916. He proceeded to join the BEF in March 1916 He was detached temporarily to the 7th Brigade as RTO in France until he rejoined the 27th Btn in May. On the 4th of July 1916 he was killed in action. From the 27th Btn War Diary is the following entry:
‘4th July 1916 – Enemy opened a hurricane bombardment on the right flank of our sector at about 5pm. Trenches very badly damaged. Capt. J D (sic) Blacket and Lieut. Walter Hosking were killed”
On the 12th of August 1916 the following article was written by a former class mate of John’s who wrote for the “Advertiser” under the name ‘Layman’
“'-The Late Captain J W Blacket -: University students, particularly, will regret to hear of the death of Capt. John Wesley Blacket, who was -killed in action at the front. - In 1902 'Layman'' sat in the same form with that fine young officer at Prince Alfred College; and the happy memories that, followed in later years are still firmly, impressed upon the writer's mind. Capt. Blacket developed into a manly broad-minded student and a sports man, and those who accompanied him on cricketing tours to the country found in the young officer, who has paid the price of Empire, all the assets of a gentleman. He was the son of the Rev. John Blacket, of Norwood a scholarly Methodist clergy man. A memorial service will be held at Wesley Church, Norwood, to-morrow evening. Chaplain-Capt. W. Jeffries, Rev. S. Kessell and Mr. W.R. Bayly, B.A., B.Sc. (head master of Prince Alfred College), will be the speakers. The central portion, of the church will be reserved for Prince Alfred old collegians.”
After his death Prince Alfred College awarded the John Wesley Blacket Memorial Prize to the Dux of the Upper Third Form.
On the 22nd March 1917 the following article was in The Register:
LATE CAPTAIN J W BLACKET
The Rev John. Blacket has received .the following communication from the-. Assistant Military Secretary at the War Office, London:-— 'I have it in command from His Majesty the King to inform you, as next of kin of the late Capt. John Wesley Blacket, of the Australian Infantry, that this officer was mentioned in a despatch from Gen. Sir Douglas Haig, dated -13th November, 1916, and published in the second supplement to the London Gazette, for gallant and distinguished service in the field. I am to express the King’s high appreciation of those services, and to add that His Majesty trusts that their public acknowledgement may be of some consolation in your bereavement'.
Burial Details: La Plus Douve Farm Cemetery I.C.4