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From Bank to Battlefield

Private Roland Alaric Pryce Jackson

Photo of Private Roland Alaric Pryce Jackson
 

Roland Alaric Pryce Jackson was a clerk at the Commonwealth Bank's Brisbane branch. On 29 July 1915, he enlisted in the war at the age of 21. Although he enlisted as part of the 7th Reinforcements for the 25th Infantry Battalion, he was transferred to the 9th Battalion in May 1916 before going to France. Less than a month later, the Battalion saw its first major action on the Western Front at Pozières in the Somme Valley.

During an attack on the German trenches surrounding the village of Pozières in July 1916, Jackson was wounded. Initially reported as killed in action, Jackson had suffered gunshot wounds to the face and leg as well as a severe gunshot wound to the right shoulder and was evacuated to England to recover. He returned to his unit in January 1917 and was attached for duty with the Commonwealth Bank.

Jackson was one of the 65 men from the Commonwealth Bank to enlist who were temporarily assigned to one of the Bank's UK branches during their military service. This was due to the introduction of conscription in the United Kingdom, which caused severe staff shortages in all of the Bank's UK branches. An agreement between the Bank and the Army Council allowed the Bank to take on a temporary staff, mostly consisting of Australian soldiers who were recovering from illness or injury.

Jackson continued to be attached to the Commonwealth Bank until 1919 when he was decommissioned. He returned to Australia and continued to work for the Bank, eventually moving to Head Office in Sydney. He passed away in June 1988 at the age of 93.

WWI Service Summary 29 July 1915, enlisted in 25th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Forces
30 December 1915, embarked HMAT Itonus A50, Brisbane
22 July 1916, wounded in action (GSW face, right shoulder and leg – severe)
14 January 1920, discharged
Rank Private
Service Number 3113A
Age at enlistment 21 years
Role at Bank Clerk

Source: National Archives of Australia

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