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australian rowers profiles and history

Jack C Paul

Barwon Rowing Club (VIC)

John Charles Paul was born in Queenscliff in 1893 and attended Geelong College. When he enlisted he was 21 years old, 6 ft., 12st.10 lbs., and worked as a wool traveller for Dalgety and Co's Geelong office.

His father, J.K. Paul, a permanent army officer based at Fort Largs, South Australia had served in the Sudan, North-West India and the Boer War. Jack had seen previous service as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 70th Infantry, E Coy, in Geelong.

He had joined Barwon Rowing Club by 1910 and rowed 4 seat at the 1912 Henley Regatta and was stroke of Barwon's winning Maiden Eight at the Ballarat Regatta in 1913 and 1914.

He enlisted on 24 August 1914 as a Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion, B Company, and embarked on 19 October 1914. Jack took part in the Gallipoli landing as part of the second wave on 25 April 1915 and was almost immediately severely wounded. Fellow Barwon member, Norman Hurst of the 4th Light Horse, described the circumstances:

That a lieutenant of Geelong, whose death at the Dardenelles was reported last week, drew his revolver when wounded and by threats made his comrades desist from risking their lives to save him, is asserted by Private N. Hurst, in a letter to Dalgety and Co., dated 22nd June.

All we know of him, he says, is that he was wounded during the retreat of April 25. He and his party chased the Turks inland, but ammunition was running short. Then they had to come back to our present position. When he was hit, five fellows went out under heavy machine gun and shrapnel fire to bring him in. He ordered them to leave him and save themselves. When, however, they went to get hold of him he drew his revolver on them, and they had to leave him. On the day of armistice they hunted everywhere for his body, but could not find it. Some hope that he is a prisoner.

Jack's identity disc was discovered on a body by members of the 9th Battalion on 28 June and he was buried in a shallow battlefield grave. He was originally listed as missing in action and it was more than three months before he was confirmed as killed and his family notified. At the end of the war his grave was not found.

The biography in the Geelong Advertiser following his death described him as of splendid physique and rare dash - one of the most dashing Lieutenants in the AIF. He was the third member of Dalgety's Geelong staff to die in the fighting at that time.

An 'In Memorium' notice appeared in The Argus on Anzac Day, 1919:

In sad and loving memory of Jack (Lieut. J.C. Paul), 8th Battalion, killed in action Gaba Tepe, April 25, 1915. Sadly missed.

One of Australia's best and bravest.

John Charles Paul is commemorated at Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey.

Karen O'Connor 2015

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