Almanac Poetry: Albert Jacka Earns Australia’s First VC of The Great War

 

Captain Albert Jacka, VC, MC and Bar, 1917. He was memorably described by Les Carlyon as ‘the one-man epic’. Many thought his exploits during WW1 deserved three Victoria Crosses. (Source: Australian War Memorial Collection.)

 

Albert Jacka Earns Australia’s First VC of The Great War
(Courtney’s Post, Gallipoli, May 19-20, 1915)

 

Wielding a bolt action
Lee-Enfield .303,
bayonet attached,
in a feat of brilliant athleticism
as much as bravery,
Lance-Corporal Jacka leaps into a trench,
shoots dead five Turks,
bayonets two more,
and the remaining enemy
‘think it best to leave’.
His platoon commander,
Crabbe, finds him
after the affray
leaning against the parados,
face flushed, unlit cigarette
dangling from his lips:
“I managed to get the beggars, sir.”

 

 

Read more from Kevin Densley HERE

Kevin Densley’s latest poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, is available HERE

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About

Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, has just been published (late 2020) by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Recent other writing includes screenplays for films with a tertiary education purpose.

Comments

  1. He’s an extraordinary character. Thanks for this Kevin.

    I’ve read quite a bit about Jacka over the years. He’s as intriguing as Ned Kelly.

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Cheers, Dips! I appreciate your comments.

    Yes, I agree that Jacka is right up there in interest with other ‘mythic” Australians like Kelly. Some of Jacka’s wartime exploits border on the superhuman. His VC at Gallipoli was just the beginning.

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