Private Jacko goes to war…

2018 marked the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. I’ve always been interested in the history and stories of this conflict, and am left saddened at the sheer brutality and senselessness of much of it.

In the lead-up to the 11th of November 2018 I began thinking about what my life would have been like if I had been born 100 years earlier so in 1886, not 1986. If I had there is a good chance I would have been in the trenches in World War I and if not the trenches some form of other involvement.

Stoking my curiosity I started searching service records of the War Memorial to find someone who was born on the same day as me. I found this difficult but searching for names was easy so I instead looked up someone with my name and given I have a very common name found a young man from Newcastle in New South Wales.

I started researching the battalion he was with as his service records don’t tell you much other than when he left Australia, then the UK for Belgium and his subsequent date of death. He did not serve long in fact he was killed on his first time up to the front which was a fate experienced by many. He was not killed in a major battle or action but in a minor thrust by the German forces.

During the years after I traveled to Newcastle on a couple of occasions for business and visited the street that he came from, the local Cenotaph where his name is etched as well as a larger memorial as he was part of a Battalion made up of men from Newcastle and surrounding regions.

I grew an odd connection to this man and would one day like to visit his grave. His story seemed like so many from the war, his stay at the front was short, another statistic, another one slaughtered but he had a mother at home who must have wondered the point of it all.

He performed no great heroics he just got trained and went and then was killed.

In response I began writing and ended up with a tribute of sorts to this man and the many like him who served in that war. I now publish what I wrote in full starting from Nov 11 (Armistice Day) I’ll release a chapter a day.

Please note this is a work of fiction, I studied bits and pieces but really it’s me writing what I think life may have been like (and I may be way off the mark). This includes the language (there’s swear words) much of if I believe was not used at the time, but I wrote imagining myself in the shoes of a young man in a country he’d never seen seeing sights one should never have to see.

So enjoy Private Jacko goes to war (if you don’t, don’t read it!).

For Chapter 1 click here

21 thoughts on “Private Jacko goes to war…”

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