Wednesday 3 October 2012 by Amanda Rebbeck. 10 comments
News, Personal Stories, New acquisitions

My name is Brady Davison and I am a work experience student from St Stanislaus College, Bathurst. As part of my week at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra I researched the Next of Kin plaque commemorating the First World War service of Private John Joseph Edward Darnedt. Here is his story.

Jack Darnedt's Next of kin plaque Jack Darnedt's Next of kin plaque REL45890

John Joseph Edward “Jack” Darnedt was born in Collingwood, Victoria in 1899, one of eight children to William and Mary Darnedt. He was working as a trainer when he joined the AIF under the alias Jack Kerrigan on 23 August 1916. Enlisting with the 6th Reinforcements of the 59th Battalion he embarked aboard HMAT Nestor on 2 October, bound for training in England.

A month after his arrival, Jack (now a member of 15 Training Battalion) made a sworn statutory declaration confessing that his correct name was John Joseph Edward Darnedt. He had taken the name Jack Kerrigan to pass the medical examination for entry into the AIF as he had already failed under his real name due to a problem with his left foot. It is not known why he chose the name Kerrigan.

After his confession Jack embarked overseas to France on 30 December 1916 aboard the Princess Clementine. The following day he marched into Etaples and was taken on strength by 59 Battalion on 7 February 1917. After only three weeks with his unit Jack was detached for duty with the YMCA, where he worked for five months, rejoining his unit on 1 August.

The 59th Battalion were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres at Polygon Wood from 26 September. Jack was killed in action on that day near Blackwatch Corner. His body was not recovered for burial at the time and could not be located after the war. His name is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

Watercolour of the Polygon Wood and Nonne Boschen Area on the Western Front Watercolour of the Polygon Wood and Nonne Boschen Area on the Western Front ART03148

The unveiling of the Menin Gate Memorial, 24 June 1927 The unveiling of the Menin Gate Memorial, 24 June 1927 H16916
Jack’s widow, Mary Darnedt received his Next of Kin plaque on 16 October 1922. The couple had married in 1916 shortly before Jack embarked for overseas service. She later remarried and died in Castlemaine, Victoria in 1978. The ultimate fate of the plaque was unknown until 2000 when it was found in a paddock in Castlemaine. It was later donated to the Australian War Memorial.

Jack Darnedt's name as it appears on the Memorial's Roll of Honour

Comments

Hi Brady, Thank you for this. I am sure that your week at the AWM is worthwhile and enjoyable. What a great place to spend undertaking work experience. Terry Doherty

Thank you, Brady for this so moved testimony. Now, I can see the nex-of-kind medal. You are lucky to spent a week at the AWM. Cheers, Claire

Hi Brady, I also wanted to say what a terrific opportunity to do work experience at the War Memorial. I am sure that is something that will stay with you for a long time and it would be interesting to have a time machine view of your future career because this blog post obviously proves your terrific writing skills and interest in our military history. What a shame that Jack did not survive the war. But you know you are doing your bit in "remembering them". Well done and best of luck.

Congratulations Brady. What a great story you were able to uncover with your research. Thank you for sharing it with us. All the best for your future. Enjoy.

Hi Brady I can see a budding Military Historian here! Well done and thank you for sharing this with us. I am part of a project researching WW1 Diggers ready for the Centenary and like you, I have found some very interesting stories....also just back from a Battlefields Tour which was wonderful, if somewhat emotional. Thanks again Carol

Brady How I envy you spending a week at the Australian War Memorial. I spent 1 day whilst on holiday from Edinburgh in January 2007. I wished I had more time. The AWM is a magnificent tribute to the Australian Nation

Hi Brady, Well done, young man! I have been a genealogist for 54 years, with a deep interest in WW1 and WW2. My paternal grandfather was killed at the Somme in March 1917 and I have only recently found a photo of him in his army uniform. It is all very moving and I'm glad that your research has brought Jack Darnedt's memory to life again for his family. I go through Canberra three times a year en route to Sydney and always go to the AWM to put a popppy near my grandfather's name on the plaques. Keep up your Military research - it is so important that these men are remembered. God bless you. AEnone.

G'Day Brady, Your efforts are much appreciated by many people. You may not know it, but many of those presently living in Australia, remember the relatives and family friends who did serve in the First World War. Thank You for your contribution.

Well done Brady My paternal grandfather...Captain Albert Edward Harrison served in the 19th Batallion on the western front but remained in England after the War.I have been searching for him for more that 10 years without a result.We would welcome any information???

Hi Brian, I have found information about your grandfather through the National Archives website. If you contact me on bradydavison@gmail.com I will forward you the details.