|Cathedral closed until further notice|
Private John Till
54th Battalion, The Australian Imperial Force
Born in Hay, New South Wales, in 1895, Jack joined the 54th Battalion when he was 20 and worked as a horse breaker. He was sent with his Battalion to France/Belgium and it was in that area, near Ypres, actually, that he suffered very serious wounds – the records say ‘Multiple GSW’ – meaning ‘Multiple Gun Shot Wounds’. He was taken to hospital in Rouen then evacuated to the UK, to be treated at the 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford, where his left leg had to be amputated. Despite being very ill, he began to progress well and was transferred to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Southall in October 1918, from where he was discharged in mid-February 1919. It is at Southall that he will have contributed to the embroidery of the St Paul’s altar frontal.
The tragedy is that, within a few days of leaving Southall, Jack caught flu and had to be admitted to the 3rd Southern General again and, in the early hours of 22 February 1919, he died. He had contracted pneumococcal meningitis.
Jack was just 23 and recently married; at the end of June 1918, he had married a lady called Martha from the Oxford area. Martha did re-marry at a later date and went on to have a family with her second husband.
Jack was buried with full military honours at Botley, near Oxford, on 26 February 1919. A photo of his grave is attached.
There is a particularly large Service Record of over 80 pages. Included in these are personal letters, such as one which must be from his family, asking for news of his return to Australia and a list of his personal possessions, including ‘1 Pipe (damaged)’.