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John "Jack" Malcolm Mackintosh (1885-1948)

Durham City born served in AIF in Gallipoli and on the Western Front

John (Jack) Malcolm Mackintosh liked a bit of a gamble on the cards. A bigger gamble was enrolling in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) early in 1915. Against all the odds, he survived unscathed the fighting in Gallipoli, The Somme Valley and Ypres, to return safely home in 1919.

Jack was born in Durham City in 14 December 1885, the third and youngest son of miner, John Mackintosh, and his wife, Ellenor (Ellen) Moore. The family lived in the parish of St Cuthbert, in the shadow of the cathedral, and when he left school, Jack was apprenticed as a gilder/picture framer to William Rushworth, in Saddler Street. Around the same time. the family knew tragedy when Jack’s second brother, William, died at the age of just 19.

In his spare time, Jack served in the 4th Battalion of the DLI, the local militia force.

On 23 June 1912, Jack married Edith Norton in Byker, Newcastle-on-Tyne. In the next two years, the young couple had a son and a daughter before Jack emigrated to Australia, leaving Edith and the children behind in Newcastle. Perhaps it was intended that the family would follow on later but before that could happen, war broke out. Stuck in Victoria, Jack decided to enlist in the AIF on 28 January 1915, in Tallangatta.

On his recruitment papers, doctors noted that Jack was in good shape and very healthy, apart from his teeth which were “very bad… [he] would be accepted if they were remedied”. Jack must have been accepted as he joined the 5th reinforcements of the 6th Battalion as a private.

With other new recruits, Jack embarked from Melbourne on 17 April 1915, for Egypt and thence to Gallipoli where his battalion was helping defend the beachhead at ANZAC Cove, before being sent into the attack at Lone Pine. On 26 June 1915, Jack was found guilty of “committing a nuisance in the trenches” (he was caught gambling at cards) and was sentenced to 14 days’ Field Punishment Number 2. He committed the same crime and received the same sentence whilst stood down on Lemnos Island four months later on 2 October.

By early 1916, the withdrawal from Gallipoli was complete and the Australian troops spent long hours on route marches and making preparations for their forthcoming deployment to the Western Front. On 13 January, Jack took advantage of this relatively quiet time to break out of camp, only returning four days later. This earned him yet another 21 days of Field Punishment No 2.

On 29 February 1916, Jack transferred to the newly formed 58th Battalion, with half of the recruits, like himself, veterans of Gallipoli, the other half raw recruits from Australia. Jack’s new battalion arrived in France on 23 June and was quickly embroiled in its first major battle on the Western Front at Fromelles on 19 July. It was a disaster, with almost a third of the battalion killed or badly injured.

Nevertheless, Jack survived and with other survivors, would see action again at Bullecourt (May 1917, Polygon Wood near Ypres (September 1017) and at Villers-Bretonneux and Amiens in 1918.

Jack’s luck continued and he survived the war physically unscathed.

He was finally demobbed in London on 27 April 1919, having served a total of four years and 179 days. He chose not to return to Australia but moved back to Newcastle, to settle down again with Edith and their family, with another two children born in the following years. They remained in Newcastle for the rest of their lives and Jack would eventually become a storekeeper in a brass foundry.

Jack died in Newcastle in December 1948. Edith outlived him by two years.

Birth date: 14-Dec-1885

Death date: 1948

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: Field House Lane, Durham City (ecclesiastical parish of St Cuthbert’s 1891 census)
6 Tenter Terrace, Framwellgate, Durham City (1911 census)
5 Thornborough Street, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne (1919 discharge papers)
43 Mason Street, Newcastle (1926 electoral roll)
57 Mason Street, Newcastle (1939 census)

Employment: Picture framer and gilder (apprenticed to William Rushworth in Saddler Street, Durham); storekeeper in brass foundry

Family: Parents: John Mackintosh (b 1849 in Sheerness, Kent) miner (listed on censuses as coke drawer, then leveller), Ellenor (Ellen) Mackintosh (nee Moore b 1847 in Durham City)
Siblings: Thomas Mackintosh (b 1879), William Mackintosh (1881-1900)
Wife: Edith Mackintosh (nee Norton 1883-1950 from Byker)
Children: John Malcolm Mackintosh (1912-1933), Mary Mackintosh (b 1914), Walter Mackintosh (1919-1944), Doris Mackintosh (b 1921)

Military service:

Service Number: 1995
4th Battalion, AIF, in Tallangatta, Victoria on 28-Jan-1915
Transferred to 58th battalion, AIF, on 29-Feb-1916
Discharged in London on 27-Aug-1919

Medal(s): 1914/15 Star
British War medal
Victory Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by Kelloe Visitor, Trimdon Station

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