Friday, 9 August 2013

Which Sergeant?

The image of Jack Wilkinson that illustrated the post about his Military Medal is a detail taken from a postcard that he had made in England on Boxing Day 1917 and sent home early in the new year.

On the back he wrote "Snap of self and my pal Larry ...". Of course, the family members who were delighted to receive news that he was safe and well did not need him to add "that is me on the left" because they would all recognise him immediately. A family historian working almost a century later needs a little help. I have no other photograph that I know to be him.

Fortunately, at the time of enlistment, the AIF recorded and preserved a range of physical characteristics of each man. So I have a sworn statement from Captain Cummins that Jack was 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm) tall and 190 pounds (86 kg).

Measurements made on the postcard indicate that the ratio of the heights of the two pals outside the Sergeants Mess was 17:19. So Larry must be either less than 150 or more than 180 cm tall.

Since the Australian forces did not ever recruit bantam units, Larry must be the towering 6 footer and cousin Jack is indeed the square-built iron worker on the left.

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