A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Gunner James Allan Blackwood
Born: 30 December 1886 Berwick. Died: 27 October 1959 Pakenham.Enlisted: 25 October 1916 aged 29
Served: Western Front.
Jim Blackwood was a 29 year old farmer when he enlisted in October 1916, becoming the third Blackwood brother to do so. This may have been a difficult decision, seeing as he was helping to support his widowed mother and younger sister.
Jim arrived in England on 19 July 1917, exactly a year after the disaster the AIF had experienced at Fromelles. By August, he was in hospital with the mumps. Jim made it to France in late September 1917 and within a month was assigned as a gunner. Jim was actually on leave in England when the war ended.
In 1921, James married Gladys Lewellin and eventually had two sons. He was active in local community activities, including serving as chairman of the Pakenham South School Committee in the 1930s.
He retired from farming around 1949 and moved into Pakenham East township, passing away in October 1959 aged 71. The Gazette paid him tribute, stating that “all who knew this quiet, kindly man held him in the very highest esteem, and his death has brought sadness to a very wide circle of friends”.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com