Hard Jacka

Lance Corporal William Howard

Lance Corporal William Howard assisted Albert Jacka in his VC action at Gallipoli on May 19th, 1915. He was shot three times by the Turks – in the arm, and twice in the chest - and was fortunate that the bullets were deflected out of his body. He was taken to a dug-out and due to Turkish snipers had to stay there until the following night before he could be taken down to a medical post under cover of darkness.
Courtesy of Aileen and Marie Howard

William Howard’s wounds

(William Howard, Steve DeAraugo and Dick Poliness were the three mates from Bendigo who assisted in Jacka’s VC stunt at Gallipoli – Howard was wounded three times in the action)

One bullet hit a metal binding on a book in his uniform pocket and deflected enough to blow out. A second bullet hit a rib, deflected and also blew out. We feel that it may have taken a rib as the wound in that area was as long as a biro.

He told us that those two bullets were two inches from his heart and if they had blown in they would not have bothered to look at him. The scar in that area was as long as a biro. A third bullet shattered into his right hand.

When the action was over Dad heard the stretcher bearers say, “grab him or he will go”, and he went out to it. They dressed his wounds. He came to in the hot sun with a Minister putting an ‘Urgent’ tag on his stretcher. He was then put into a dugout for the rest of the day as he could not be taken to the beachhead until dark and this was dawn.

Dad’s friends had walked as they thought he would die, and probably Jacka would have thought the same thing after he saw him. When Jacka came to see how Dad was he told him that he had been told he was to be put up for an award or something, and that, “Ooh I did my bloody block.” Exact words as Dad told us.

He had numerous pieces of shrapnel removed over his life, and as we told you when you called, as he got older and thinner he had them appearing on his knee, elbow and even forehead. Said, “They’ve been there so long, they may as well stay”.

Aileen and Marie Howard, Bendigo. October 2007

Lance Corporal William Howard (third from right, back row) recovering in July 1915, possibly at the Woodcope Park Convalescent Hospital, Epsom, Surrey.
Courtesy of Aileen and Marie Howard

Lance Corporal William Howard at a function after the Great War. Howard is fourth from the left in the dark tie with eyes closed. Albert Jacka is standing near the pole at the centre.
Courtesy of Aileen and Marie Howard

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