John Henry Vigor

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Jack Vigor with his younger brother Bob on his left. They went through a lot together, fighting in Gallipoli, France and then stationed in England

On the left is Private J. H. Vigor, who has been serving with the Australian Imperial Forces at the Dardanelles. He was wounded at ANZAC on September 27th, and is now in England convalescent. He had a miraculous escape. The bullet (shown in his back in the centre picture) went through his right ear, entered the neck behind, and was deflected downward, and extracted from between the shoulder blades. The other portrait is of Private Robert Vigor, his brother, also with the Australian Imperial Forces in Gallipoli. They are sons of Mr A. Vigor, grocer, Hollington”.

John Henry Vigor was a draper’s assistant in 1901. He migrated to Australia on the “Carpentaria” in 1909 with his brother Thomas.

Jack joined the 25th Battalion, 7th Infantry Brigade at Enoggera on 13 April 1915 at the age of 30. By September 1915 he had embarked at Alexandria, Egypt, headed for Gallipoli.


He must of seen action very quickly as one newspaper reported “A MIRACULOUS ESCAPE”. With photographs of Jack and Robert Vigor, referring to an event that took place soon after. War records indicate that he was “wounded behind ear by Bullet when in Bivouac at Bauchops Hill. He took a bullet in the subcutaneous tissues at the back of his neck. It entered through the anterior border of the right sterno-mastoid and through lobe of right ear.

After receiving his wound, he remained in ANZAC until October 1915 when he was shipped to Gibraltar aboard the HMS Gascon. Later that month he was dispatched to England aboard the troopship SS Ballarat, which was sunk by a German submarine in 1917. He was temporarily placed at the Administrative Headquarters in July 1916 and then in the Australian Provost Corps at Tidsworth in January 1917. He soon transferred to the ANZAC Provost Corps and was promoted to a Lance Corporal in June 1917. He proceeded to France in October 1918, re-joining the Australian Provost Corps, having been promoted to ER Sergeant. He was back at Tidsworth in March 1919. He returned safely to Australia aboard the SS Ceramic on 3 October 1919. He was awarded the 1914/15 Star; the British War Medal; the Victory Medal; and the ANZAC Commemorative Medal.

He married Ethel Knight from Cobar, on 1 January 1920. He was in Papua with his brother Bob before returning to Sydney to set up, with another partner, a small bus service between North Bondi and Central Station. The 25th Battalion was raised at Enoggera in Queensland in March 1915 as part of the 7th Brigade. Although predominantly composed of men recruited in Queensland, the battalion also included a small contingent of men from Darwin. The battalion left Australia in early July, trained in Egypt during August, and by early September was manning trenches at Gallipoli. At Gallipoli the 7th Brigade reinforced the depleted New Zealand and Australian Division. The 25th Battalion, however, had a relatively quiet time because the last major Allied offensive had been launched, and turned back, in the previous month. It left the peninsular on 18 December 1915.

After further training in Egypt

After further training in Egypt, the 25th Battalion proceeded to France. Landing on 19 March 1916, it was the first AIF battalion to arrive there. Now fighting as part of the 2nd Division, it took part in its first major battle at Pozières between 25 July and 7 August in the course of which it suffered 785 casualties. This was one of the most horrendous battles fought by Australian troops in France. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division came south in October to attack again in the Somme Valley. The 25th Battalion took part in two attacks to the east of Flers, both of which floundered in the mud.

Although it acted in a supporting role at the second battle of Bullecourt, the 25th Battalion did not carry out a major offensive role again until 20 September 1917, when it was part of the 2nd Division’s first wave at the battle of Menin Road in Belgium. Victory here was followed up with the capture of Broodseinde Ridge on 4 October. The 25th reprised its role from Menin Road, in what was its last large-scale offensive action for the year.

1918 was an exhausting year for the 25th Battalion. It fought to turn back the German spring offensive in April, and then participated in battles at Morlancourt, Hamel, Amiens and along the Somme Valley as the German Army was pushed ever closer to defeat. These actions sapped the strength of the AIF, already terribly weak due to earlier casualties and lack of reinforcements. In September, the 25th was one of several battalions ordered to disband to reinforce others. Its troops mutinied, winning the Battalion a temporary reprieve.
The battalion went into the line one last time on 3 October 1918 and took part in a successful attack to break through the German defences around Beaurevoir. It was disbanded nine days later.

o one could accuse the Vigors of shirking duty in WW II. This photo was taken in England with their brother George, who served in the British army, and brother Edward seated