Letter from first VC recipient preserved on Fraser Coast
THE Maryborough Military Museum is filled with many artefacts from conflicts throughout Australia's history, including a letter written by Lieutenant Albert Jacka; the first Australian soldier to be decorated with a Victoria Cross.
Lieut Jacka was in the 14th Battalion, and fought in Gallipoli during the First World War.
The Maryborough museum has been able to preserve a letter he wrote to the sister of a friend of his who was killed in battle.
The letter was written from France in January, 1917.
Dear Miss Carroll
Your letter of the 18th November has just arrived asking if I could give you any information about your brother.
I remember your brother very well & always look on him as one of the best soldiers in my platoon.
I remember him particularly when we were in the trenches before going up to the Somme.
I was wounded in the same attack as your brother & to know for certain what really happened to him.
I know that practically the whole platoon was killed or wounded on the same morning the 7th August 1916.
I was also told that your brother was badly wounded & died before he reached the dressing station.
It is possible that your brother was buried by some of the enemy shells and that is how he has been reported missing.
I do not think for a moment that he was taken prisoner.
I am telling you the true facts and hope I do not appear too brutal to you but I think it better for you to know the truth than to be given false hopes which will never come true.
I hope you will accept my heart-felt sympathy in your great loss.
You can be comforted by the knowledge that your brother died a hero fighting till the bitter end and when the fight was the thickest.
I wish you the best of luck and sincerely hope that your other brother will soon return to you safe and well.
Albert Jacka Lieut.
The original letter is preserved at the Maryborough Military Museum on Wharf St.