His photograph reveals a cheeky grin and a good-looking face wanting into the digicam.
It was a face that made girls smile and males wish to purchase him a beer. At 28 years outdated, Jack French, could be considered one of solely 20 Australians to obtain the Victoria Cross, the very best award for gallantry within the British and Commonwealth forces.
Jack French. Courtesy Wikipedia.
Born John Alexander French in 1914 to Albert and Lucy (nee Donaldson), at Crows Nest, simply north of Toowoomba in Queensland, Jack got here into the world at first of the Nice Battle and he was to make his mark within the second largest world battle of the 20th century.
As a younger lad he was fairly the sportsman, particularly when he performed rugby league. After his education at Toowoomba he joined his father, who was a hairdresser and barber, in his enterprise as an apprentice.
Life might have been fairly regular for Jack if it weren’t for the outbreak of World Battle Two. Jack enlisted in 1939, the primary in Crows Nest to take action, as a part of the Second Australian Imperial Pressure, becoming a member of the two/ninth Battalion. He stored the information of his enlistment a secret from his mum for 2 months. Lucy solely came upon when her son was notified of his fundamental coaching begin date.
After coaching in Redbank, Queensland, Jack’s battalion was shipped off to England the place they grew to become a part of the sixth Division. They have been transferred to the Center East, reaching Alexandria in December, 1940. It took just a few months earlier than the battalion noticed motion and the primary time was in March, 1941 capturing the Italian fort of Giarabub.
By December of the identical yr, Jack was promoted to Corporal. By now they have been a part of the seventh Division and moved again to Australia in response to Japan’s entry into the conflict after the assaults on Pearl Harbour and Malaya. Presently, Jack was given seven days depart, so he headed again to Crows Nest and his household. It might be the final time they noticed him alive.
With some extra coaching, this time in jungle warfare, the two/ninth Battalion headed to New Guinea to struggle the Japanese. It was right here that Jack would earn his Victoria Cross.
It was late August, 1942 and the two/ninth Battalion had been deployed to Milne Bay to fight the Japanese who have been advancing south alongside the Kokoda monitor. They have been decided to take the Allied airports, however the Australians have been equally decided to struggle them off.
It was late within the afternoon on 4th September, 1942 and as corporal, Jack was answerable for an infantry battalion that attacked a Japanese place. They have been attacked by hearth from three separate enemy machine-gun posts.
Jack ordered his males to take cowl whereas he superior in silence and threw a grenade on the first submit, successfully muting them. He went again to his males for extra grenades, then repeated the identical on the second submit, additionally taking them out. With the third submit he took his Thompson machine gun, and firing from the hip, he went ahead.
Jack French’s grave at Bomana Battle Cemetery, Port Moresby.
Witnesses noticed him wounded from an assault by the third submit however he continued to advance. When capturing ceased, his battalion moved ahead to search out that every one members of the enemy gun posts had been killed. However in addition they discovered Jack mendacity in entrance of the third enemy gun pit.
In line with his quotation, ‘By his cool braveness and disrespect of his personal private security, this non-commissioned officer saved members of his part from heavy casualties and was accountable for the profitable conclusion of the assault.’
Jack was alive when his part superior, however he died shortly after, realizing what he had accomplished to save lots of his mates. He’s buried on the Bomana Battle Cemetery at Port Moresby and was survived by his fiancee, Dulcie McCahon, who mentioned that she ‘knew he would at all times perform his obligation no matter his security’.
The John French, V.C., Memorial Library at Crows Nest was opened on 18 July 1958, by the governor-general, Area Marshal Sir William (Viscount) Slim.
Anthony Staunton, ‘French, John Alexander (Jack) (1914–1942)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Nationwide Centre of Biography, Australian Nationwide College, revealed first in hardcopy 1996, accessed on-line 10 November 2023.
‘John (Jack) French’, Anzac portal, accessed tenth November, 2023,
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