Headstone for unmarked grave of forgotten ANZAC

A forgotten soldier of World War I will have a headstone installed on his previously unmarked grave in a commemorative service at the Ballarat New Cemetery.

Albert Charles Jones was a 21-year-old baker when he enlisted on April 12, 1915.

Since his death in 1930 he has been lying in an unmarked grave with nothing to identify him or acknowledge his service to his country.

Ballarat Cemeteries Community Advisory Committee member Garry Snowden said he had been doing some research into the cemeteries’ connection with World War I when he came into contact with the grand daughter-in-law of Private Jones.

“I’m passionate about World War I and I believe any person who has put their life on the line for their country deserves as a minimum having an identity on their grave,” he said.

Plans are now in place for the placement and dedication of a headstone which has been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ballarat South. 

Two months after enlisting, Private Jones sailed from Australia on the “Wandilla”, and joined the 7th Battalion at Gallipoli. 

He landed there on August 5 just in time for the August Offensive and the fierce fighting at Lone Pine and the Nek. 

After Gallipoli he was withdrawn to Egypt before being transferred to the 59th Battalion, then to the 4th Field Bakery in France. 

“Private Jones was a battler, like tens of thousands of young men who answered their country’s call at that time, and like many of them, he had his brushes with military authority,” Mr Snowden said.

“On one occasion he was charged with not complying with a command in that ‘when ordered by an N.C.O. to clean windows he neglected to do so’. Nevertheless, he served on through the horrors of Gallipoli and the Western Front, and eventually returned to Australia in early 1919.”

After the war he moved to Skipton Street in Ballarat, and worked as a shunter in the Ballarat railway yards. 

On June 7, 1930 he had both legs severed in a shunting accident and died the following day.

He was 36 and left behind a widow and four children. 

Since that time he has lain in a bare dirt grave in the Ballarat New Cemetery. 

More than 100 official guests, including ancestors who will travel from as far away as Queensland, are expected to attend a commemorative service in his honour this Saturday.

Guests will assemble at the Crematorium car park at 10.25am and follow a piper to the graveside. 

Wreaths will be laid during the service, and a bugler will sound the Last Post.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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