34th BATTALION AIF
Private: 1936A John Leslie JORDAN
Born: 1899. Mosquito Island, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:26080/1899.
Died: 7th June 1917. Killed in Action, Messines, Belgium.
Father: John P Jordan.
Mother: Margaret Jordan.
Mosquito Island Roll of Honour
Private (runner) Robert Peter McQueen, 54th Battalion, died of wounds on the 5th March 1917, age 21. METHODIST 1 (WESLEYAN) B SW. 43.
One name that could have been added later was Private: 1936 John Leslie JORDAN, 34th Battalion, killed in action on the 7th June 1917 at the Battle of Messines, age 18. Mr Jordan was living at Gipp Street, Carrington, New South Wales and was born on Mosquito Island in 1899.
There are 5 names inscribed that are resting at Sandgate Cemetery.
Corporal Charles Croese, (Croix de Guerre, M.I.D.), 2nd Divisional Signal Company, laid to rest on the 17th February 1941, age 51. CATHOLIC 1-22. 85.
Sergeant: 392 Conealius CROESE, 34th Battalion, laid to rest on the 15th August 1956, 63. CATHOLIC 2-49. 57.
Private: 407 Henry DEMPSEY, 34th Battalion, laid to rest on the 21st October 1966, age 77. CATHOLIC 3-88. 117.
Temporary Corporal Charles Oliver Harrison, laid to rest on the 30th July 1920, age 26. ANGLICAN 1-16. 128.
Private Richard Jordan, 20th Battalion, laid to rest on the 10th July 1978, age 86. CATHOLIC 1-N Spec. 17.
A name not inscribed is younger brother to Charles and Conealius Croese, Private: 393 Thomas CROESE, who enlisted July 1916, but was discharged at parent’s request August 1916, and was laid to rest on the 5th November 1974, age 76. CATHOLIC 2-53. 97.
Another name not inscribed that may have been added later was Private William Cameron Jordan, 19th Battalion, who was living at Bourke Street, Carrington, New South Wales, born Mosquito Island 1882, and was laid to rest at Sandgate Cemetery on the 12th April 1955, age 73. CATHOLIC 1-13. 121.
Also known to have been born on Mosquito Island and maybe inscribed later on the Roll of Honour were Private Isaac James Foster, 4th Battalion, killed in action on the 24th July 1916, age 20, and his older brother Lance Sergeant John Francis Foster, 18th Battalion, both living at Hereford Street, Stockton, New South Wales before enlistment.
See Commemorating our World War 1 Heroes for more detail.
If you recognise a name, tell us a story.
Lest We Forget.
(Garry Mitchell; May 2018)
7th June 1917.
THE BATTLE OF MESSINES
The 3rd Australian Divisions first major offensive was at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917. The Australian 3rd Division was a part of the II Anzac Corps which was allotted to the first assault. The 25th New Zealand, 3rd Australian Division with the 4th Australian Division in reserve. The 4th Division were battle hardened troops who had fought many major battles.The 3rd Australian Division were having problems getting to the "jump off" point. The day before the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades were bombarded by German Gas-Shells around Hill 63 and Ploegsteert Wood. Many of the Aussies were not wearing gas masks, but despite this they pressed on even though they received 500 casualties.
They made it to the "jump off" point but only just with some of the men from the 9th and 10th going straight over the top without stopping. The mines went up and the attack commenced behind a protective barrage. The II Anzac Corps were attacking on the right with their objective being the southern shoulder of the ridge which included Messines, the Dover and St Yves areas as far south to the east of Ploegsteert Wood.
Major General Sir John MONASH's 3rd Division had to contend with a tricky 3 mile approach out of Ploegsteert Wood and after the German gas attack, but they were not deterred. The 9th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General: Alexander JOBSON and the 10th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General W R NICHOLL had just made the jumping off point but some of the men did not stop, going straight into the assault from the approach march.
Their objective lay between St Yves and the Douve. The mines at Trench 127 and Trench 12 at Factory Farm were laid to aid this task. The explosions erupted a few seconds before zero hour and created craters of 200 feet in diameter, completely obliterating the German defense line as the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades went over the top. The mine crates forced the 9th and 10th Brigades to veer to the left and right which caused some confusion with the main assault. It is testimony to the quality of training that every man knew the ground, tasks and objectives so well.
Private: 1804 John CARROLL 33rd Battalion, rushed the enemy's trench and bayoneted four of the German occupants. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties and went to his assistance, killing another German. He then attacked single handed a German Machine Gun Team, killing all three of them and capturing the gun. He later rescued two of his comrades who had been buried alive by German Shell Fire, and in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun fire he dug them out alive and saved them from certain death. John was awarded the Victoria Cross.
The German forward zone was completely engulfed and taken by the main assault. The two supporting battalions of each brigade then passed the leading battalion to continue the advance. The men were constantly re-supplied and the ridge was taken. There were many German prisoners taken during the offensive. The 3rd Division was well ahead with the 9th Infantry Brigade pushing on beyond Grey Farm, and on the right the 10th Infantry Brigade were veering left towards Septieme Barn north of Douve.
The German resistance was heavy but was generally brushed aside by tanks and artillery before the infantry had to become too involved.The 4th Bavarian Divisions Artillery had made little impact, but as the day wore on the 3rd Division and later the 4th Australian Division received many casualties from German artillery. (70% of all casualties during WW1 were from artillery).
By 9:00am nearly 6 hours after the assault began the Germans were in dissaray, but there was a major problem as the Australians received less casualties as anticipated and when ordered to dig into the ridge they had so many men, that some could not find shelter. the 35th battalion were dug in around Seaforth Farm.
The second phase of the operation was to take the Oosttaverne Line. The 3rd Australian Division would now be in reserve with the 4th Division attacking. The 9th Infantry Brigade (33-34-35-36Bn) were near Thatched Cottage facing Warneton. The river Lys was to their right and the Ploegsteert Wood was now behind them.
Once their objectives were taken the troops consolidated. A barrage to stop and counter attack was shortened and caught three battalions which had to retire. By 9:00 pm this part of the Oosttaverne Line was abandoned. At 10:45 pm General: Alexander John GODLEY ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions to retake it. This they did by the early hours of the 8th of June.
The Battle for Messines Ridge during May-June 1917 saw 35 officers and 1,631 other ranks loose their lives.
9th Infantry Brigade Casualties.
|33rd Battalion. AIF||8 Officers||382 Other ranks|
|34th Battalion. AIF||10 Officers||378 Other ranks|
|35th Battalion. AIF||5 Officers||431 Other ranks|
|36th Battalion. AIF||9 Officers||421 Other ranks|
|9th Machine Gun Company. AIF||2 Officer||17 Other ranks|
|9th Light Trench Mortar Battery.||1 Officer||2 Other ranks|
FIELD DRESSING STATION, MESSINES 7th June 1917. 12th June 1917
John was Killed in Action on the 7th June 1917 at Messines.
Menin Gate War Memorial
John is remembered with honour and is commemorated in perpetuity by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at the Menin Gate Memorial.
John was a single 18 year old Wheeler from Gipp Street, Carrington, N.S.W. upon enlistment. He first joined the AIF in 1915 but was discharged at his parents request due to his age at the Newcastle Depot but re enlisted with the 34th Battalion in 1916. John has been Commemorated at the Sandgate Cemetery.
2nd Enlistment Military Records
© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)
Under Construction; 25/05/2018.