John Kerry

Private John Kerry

20th Battalion, AIF

Service Number: 6362

Born: April 1887, Paisley, Scotland

Died: 20 September 1917, Lussenthoek, Belgium

John (Jack) Kerry was born in Paisley, Scotland in April 1887 to John and Annabel Kerry, both of County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. With his family he immigrated to Australia on the Orient in 1889. His parents settled at Jamisontown, establishing a timber and sawmilling business. After completing his schooling at Regentville and Penrith Public School, Kerry completed a four year apprenticeship with the Lucas family, blacksmiths at Emu Plains. Kerry and his brothers established a blacksmithing and horseshoeing business at Emu Plains and later High Street Penrith where they added coachbuilding. Kerry married Alma Christiansen on 23 September 1916 in Penrith and soon afterwards wrote his will leaving his property to his ‘dear wife’ of only a month. Joseph and Jessie Hoe of Penrith were witnesses.

Kerry enlisted on 16 October 1916 at the showground at Moore Park and embarked for overseas the following month on the HMAT Suevic. He fell ill with bronchitis during February and March of 1917. On 16 September, he was wounded in action with gunshot wounds to the legs. He died of his wounds at the 2nd Canadian Clearing Station on 20 September.

At his memorial service at the Jamisontown United Church on 28 October 1917 Reverend Tarn mentioned two other local Jamisontown soldiers, Thomas Williams and Bede Connell, who had also died the same day as Kerry. The Nepean Times report stated ‘What a strange coincidence was this. Little did these three lads think, when they played their games in the old Regentville Public School, that they would die as true soldiers of the King on the same day’. For many years Kerry had been secretary to the Jamisontown Sunday School. He was described as ‘a sterling, cheerful and earnest Christian man’.

Alma Kerry was living in Parker Street Penrith when she received her husband’s war medals and package of personal items. Alma never remarried and died in 1970.

Memorial Details:

  • Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium
  • Honor Roll, Memory Park, Penrith
  • Honor Roll, United Church, Jamisontown
  • Honor Roll, Penrith Superior Public School