J for Johnny Turk

J for Johnny Turk (The Australian soldiers landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, 1915 and evacuated in December 1915. During their time there a number of slang terms used by the soldiers came into currency. Several names were given to the Turkish enemy, for whom the Australian soldiers developed a certain respect. These names included Abdul, Johnny Turk and Jacko.) Ozwords

Who was this man who somehow shares my DNA?  I suppose I am  fortunate to have more information on this stranger than I do about my real father.  Incredibly, my probable biological father, Ted, was born way back in 1892 in the town of Hamilton in the Western District of Victoria.  He attended the local primary school and the Hamilton and Western District College where he was dux.  For a time he worked as a cadet reporter for the Hamilton Spectator before landing a Public Service position in the Meteorological Branch of the Home Affairs Department in Perth.  Sensing that there might be a war in Europe he took an evening class in French conversation. He was also accepted into the Western Australian Artillery and for something to do sat for and passed an exam for Drivers of the Battery. Little did he realise what an impact passing that exam would have on his future in the war.

On August 4, 1914, war was declared with Germany.  In December of that year Ted returned to Hamilton and enlisted at the age of 22 years and six months.  When he embarked on the SS Chilka he was a Driver in the 3rd Light Horse Brigade Train. After spending three months in Cairo he arrived in Gallipoli on 20th May, 1915, leaving the horses behind.   On July 31 he was wounded with shrapnel in his right upper arm and shortly after was admitted to the AS Hospital in Lemnos, Greece and later transferred to Cairo.  He may have been fortunate to depart Gallipoli as one of the wounded because 8,709 Australians were killed there in the ten month battle.


Landing at Gallipoli Photo by Charles Bean

In 1917 he was transferred to the Supply Section of the 26th ASC (Army Service Corps).  The next year he was awarded the Military Medal six months before the Armistice.

On his way home to Australia he visited New York and San Francisco.  He was back home in Hamilton in May 1919 and two weeks later met the woman who was to become his wife and the mother of his children (except for one!).

8 thoughts on “J for Johnny Turk

  1. Hi, Linda – it is truly incredible that you have been able to gather all this information on your biological father. Amazing research!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hari OM
    that’s one of the great beauties of military connection – they know how to keep a record or two! This is wonderful history to trace, whether or not connected, but certainly all the more poignant for it. YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

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