Aussie Digger's Bravery Shows Why He Was The First Anzac To Receive Victoria Cross

Tens of thousands of Aussies and Kiwis made up the Australia New Zealand Army Corps when they were deployed to fight in World War One.

Many gave their lives and now only exist in their family's memories and at war memorial cemeteries. But there were a few whose valiant and brave efforts are worth being told again and again.

One of those people is Lance Corporal Albert Jacka.

Lance Corporal Albert Jacka. Credit: Australian War Memorial
Lance Corporal Albert Jacka. Credit: Australian War Memorial

He was the first Anzac to receive a Victoria Cross for battling a group of Turkish soldiers in Gallipoli.

His official VC citation reads: "For most conspicuous bravery on the night of the 19-20 May, 1915, at Courtney's Post, Gallipoli Peninsular. Lance Corporal Jacka, while holding a portion of our trench with four men, was heavily attacked.

"When all except himself were killed or wounded, the trench was rushed and occupied by seven Turks. Lance Corporal Jacka at once most gallantly attacked them single-handed and killed the whole party, five by rifle fire and two with the bayonet."

Jacka rushed into no-man's land to attack these soldiers, putting his life on the line to even get close to them. So not only did he manage to avoid gunfire to reach his enemy, but he managed to kill seven once he found his feet.

Credit: Australian War Memorial
Credit: Australian War Memorial

The first thing he said when greeted by Lieutenant K Crabbe after the offensive was: "Well, I managed to get the beggars, Sir!"

When he received his Victoria Cross medal, he was also gifted £500 from Melbourne business identity John Wren, which, in today's money, is a cool $45,000.

After that, he was twice awarded with the Military Cross 'for actions that even that judicious evaluator of men, the official historian Charles Bean, felt should have earned him two bars to his Victoria Cross'.

Jacka's medals on display. Credit: Australian War Memorial
Jacka's medals on display. Credit: Australian War Memorial

During Pozières on the Somme in 1916 he kept up his reputation for being badass and broke into a line of Germans, killing scores of them.

Charles Bean described Jacka's offensive as 'the most dramatic and effective act of individual audacity in the history of the AIF'. Not bad at all.

Jacka's face was used in an enlistment poster in 1917 to help drive up recruitments in Australia. The soldier had earned such a reputation that Army officials thought his image could inspire others to go to the front line.

He died in 1932 and his battalion would hold a vigil for him in St Kilda, Melbourne every year. After many of them died off, St Kilda Council carried on the tradition.

Featured Image Credit: Australian War Memorial

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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