Private John Broomhall

Private John Broomhall Kristy Broomhall holding a rose

Frank MacDonald group 2019

Kristy Broomhall, Department of Communities Tasmania, was the Frank MacDonald MM Memorial Study Tour Leader in 2019. Kristy wrote a poem from John's mother's perspective, which she shared with others during the tour.

Private John (Jack) Robert Broomhall

Born: 20 April 1897, Latrobe, Tasmania

Enlisted: 12 July 1915

KIA: 15 July 1916, France

Age: 19

Unit: 58th Battalion, AIF

To my darling John,

I listened to you, I gave my consent;

I didn’t want to, but I did relent.

I signed the letter, I sealed your fate;

And while at home, all I could do was wait.

You were so determined to serve your Country;

And all I could do was listen to you humbly.

When you signed up for war you were barely eighteen;

A jovial young man, so full of dreams.

You were so young, but wanted to go;

Off to war, but I should’ve said no.

I followed your wishes that led to your death;

To you leaving home and taking your last breath.

I can only imagine the horrors of war;

The nightmare you endured for over a year.

The ongoing battles to gain power and ground;

I imagine it was a constant merry-go-round.

It must’ve been tough for someone so young;

The fighting never ceased, and the worst was yet to come.

The letters you sent gave me some insight;

To the suffering endured both day and night.

The constant conditions of squalor and mud;

And to see your mates all covered in blood.

Or even worse, to see them killed;

What a waste of life, all that blood spilled.

You didn’t return, I lost my son;

My grief is unlimited, it feels like the war has won.

I walk down the street and everyone has a name;

Of someone they’ve lost, their story is the same.

I treasure your memory, now and forever;

I will never forget you, not now, not ever.

You were much loved by me and your dad;

Such a bright and charming and merry lad.

Your sisters both miss you, and ask of you often;

You brightened our days, and will never be forgotten.

I received your effects and will keep them as mementos;

Your identity disc, bible, wallet, ring, letters and photos.

You were only nineteen when the war claimed your life;

You had barely lived, but paid the ultimate price.

I am so proud of you, my dearly beloved son;

For fighting the Great War, which finally we won.

I will never forget you, your memory lives on;

I love you now and forever, your mum.

Jessie (Mary) Broomhall

"When I read about John and saw his age it broke my heart. I imagined if that was my child how I would feel, in particular as she signed the letter of consent." - Kristy Broomhall