Private John Broomhall
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
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