John Vernon Larkin

July 20, 2015

LARKIN, John -‘Jack’ Vernon- – – – SPC 1903-1905

DoB:- – – c1893, Hawthorn, VIC

Father:- – Michael Larkin

Mother:- – Elizabeth, nee Guerin (both Michael and Elizabeth were- – – immigrants from Ireland -“ they met and married in Melbourne)

John Vernon attended St Patrick’s as did his brother William -‘Bill’ Leo (SPC 1909-1913). Bill also enlisted in the AIF. In 1905, John completed his Junior Sub-Matriculation year, and was a prize winner in his class.

The Annual of 1916-1917 noted that,

-‘-¦ Pte J V Larkin has written a most interesting account of some of his experiences in France. He describes how twenty or thirty boys in his section, while the shells were landing just in front of their parapet, were ready with their rifles fixed and loaded for a charge. At first he felt somewhat nervy, but after ten minutes all feeling of fear disappeared, and he became quite accustomed to the continual whizzing of the bullets -¦’

Service No:- 3160

Rank:- – 2nd Lieutenant

Unit:- – 8th Battalion

John enlisted on 20th July 1915 at the age of 23 years and three months. He was a single man who worked as a clerk in the Crown Lands Office in St Arnaud. He was five feet, 11 and a half inches tall, with a dark complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair.

Private Larkin embarked from Australia on 26 November 1915, bound for Egypt. He was taken on strength on 24 February 1916, joining the 8th Battalion at Serapeum. After a few weeks training, he proceeded from Alexandria on 26 March to Marseilles where he arrived on 31 March 1916. A few months later, Larkin was wounded in action, sustaining a gunshot wound to his finger and right hand. He was invalided to England for treatment.

By 2 November 1916 Private John Larkin returned to France. Over the next several months he was promoted through the ranks, firstly to Corporal late in 1917, then to Sergeant in February 1918, and finally to 2nd Lieutenant on 24 May 1918. Less than three months later, he was killed in action on 13 August 1918 at Rosieres-en-Santerre in northern France, near the Somme.

Lieutenant Colonel J W Mitchell reported on the events that lead to Larkin’s death -“

-‘-¦ 2/Lieut LARKIN J V 8th Battalion AIF. Killed in Action 9.8.18

2/lt J V LARKIN was wounded during the advance of the Battalion North of ROSIERES on 9.8.18 by a Machine Gun bullet through the body. He was carried back about half a mile on a stretcher but died before reaching the dressing station. He was buried by Chaplain HAYDEN 12th Battalion AIF -¦ 2,400 yards South South West of cross roads in VAUVILLERS and a cross was erected over the grave -¦’

John Larkin’s widowed mother received correspondence on 12 January 1920 informing her that her son’s remains -‘have been exhumed and re-interred at Rosieres Communal Cemetery Extension, ten and a half miles South East of Corbie. This work is carried out with every measure of care and reverence in the presence of a Chaplain -¦’