Lest we Forget

Blacket(t)s in the First World War

2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, referred to for many years afterwards as “The Great War”.

The spark that triggered the conflict was the assassination at Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, on 28 June 1914. Hostilities broke out shortly afterwards and the British Empire formally entered the war on 4 August 1914 following the German invasion of neutral Belgium. Hostilities continued for four years, finally ceasing on the Western Front at 11.00 a.m. on 11 November 1918 when an armistice came into effect. The war officially came to an end with the signing of a peace treaty at Versailles on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination.

In Britain the armistice is commemorated in November each year by a remembrance service at The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. The images below show (L-R) the Archduke Ferdinand and the apprehension of his assassin (though modern historians maintain that this was an innocent bystander named Ferdinand Behr) in 1914, celebrations in Westminster, London at the moment of the armistice, 11.00 a.m. 11 November 1918, and the temporary wood and plaster Cenotaph, (which was replaced by the present Portland stone structure erected in 1920), at the first Armistice Day in 1919.


The following Blacket(t)s are listed as casualties by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:


Images L-R: (1) Rev. John Blacket, father of Captain John Wesley Blacket and Lieutenant Joseph Arnold Blacket, both killed in action. (2) Private Cuthbert Blackett 1889-1916 (3) Lieutenant Alan Russell Blacket 1894-1916) (4) Memorial Plaque at Chapel of All Saints College, Bathurst, New South Wales for Alan Russell Blacket (5) Headstone at Boulogne, France for Alan Russell Blacket

The family of Rev. John Blacket (image above) was not the only one to suffer more than one casualty in the Great War. Howard “Ted” Blackett, the youngest son of William Alexander Blackett (c1832-1895) of Tasmania, a Private in the Australian Infantry Force, was killed in Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. William Alexander Blackett’s grandson, Horace Raymond Blackett, a driver with the Australian Field Artillery, was killed in the Somme in 1918. Other members of this family to serve in the First World War were Horace’s elder brother William Alexander “Alec” Blackett, who was blinded for life in 1916 at Ypres, his uncle Cephas Augustus (known as Mortimer Charles) Blackett MBE (Mil), who had previously served in the Boer War, and Horace’s aunt, Alice Maude Blackett, who served in France as a nurse and was invalided home in 1918 after suffering the effects of gas.

On 4 October 1917 Private Pierre Ludwig Blackett (1894-1917) of the 3rd Bn., Canterbury Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, was killed at Passchendaele, Belgium. There is a fascinating collection of photographs, letters etc covering him and other members of his family at Paul Dobson’s 100 Years of ANZAC site.

The images that follow are of Blacket(t)s or the spouses or children of Blacket(t)s who served in, and survived, the First World War.
Images L-R: (1) Private Robert Blackett MM 1892-1963 (2) Staff Sergeant Edward Albert Kirtley 1887-1948, later the husband of Julia Blackett (3) Sergeant Isaac Owens 1889-1928 with his wife Elizabeth Graham Blackett 1888-1932 and their daughter Doris (4) Edmund Hoggett 1888-1936 with his wife Emily Hedley Blackett 1892-1958 and their son Eric (5) Private Walter Blackett 1896-1974, seated 2nd from left (6) an informal photo of Walter Blackett, seated far right with spoon in bowl (7) Walter Blackett , seated 2nd left with his unit (8) Dr. James Francis Blackett 1880-1950 and his brother…(9) …Herbert Edmund Blackett 1882-1925 (10-13) Lieutenant and later Major George Raymond Blackett MC 1889-1970

If you have images of other Blacket(t)s, or their spouses or children, which you would like to add to the galleries above please contact us and we will let you know how to email the images to us. (If possible please also let us know the “I” number of the person in the family tree and/or tell us their approximate dates of birth and death.) In the case of those who survived the war we can publish only photos of them in uniform.

Other Blacketts also served in the armed services during World War I. Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett (see A Nobel Prize for a Blackett) served as a midshipman on HMS Carnarvon at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914 and on HMS Barham at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Also at the Battle of Jutland was Captain, and later Admiral, Henry Blackett, who commanded the cruiser HMS Duke of Edinburgh.

Lieutenant Basil John Blackett (see Sporting Blacketts), a former race horse trainer and jockey, became a flying ace, being credited with five aerial victories as an observer and rear gunner.