|Shorty Jackson on the left, and James Simonsen on the right.|
The problem is to identify Shorty Jackson.
James Simonsen embarked in 1915 with the 6th Field Ambulance. He was dispatched to join the MEF on Gallipoli Peninsula on 30 August 1915. A few months after the evacuation he was transferred to the 12th Field Ambulance, and embarked to join the MEF in France.
The photo of Shorty Jackson shows him as a Staff Sergeant. I have searched the Embarkation rolls using the search terms 'Jackson' and 'Field Ambulance', and by checking their B2455 records only found two men who achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant who embarked with a Field Ambulance unit. This doesn't mean someone didn't transfer in from a non-ambulance unit, but I'm inclined to think that those who did were not likely to rise to the rank of Staff Sergeant without experience in a Field Ambulance Unit.
The two men on my shortlist are Henry George Jackson who embarked and returned with the 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance Unit, and Herrick Jackson who embarked with the 4th Field Ambulance who likewise returned to Australia with his original unit. Of the two men, Henry George Jackson was the most likely to have known James Simonsen both before and after the war, as they both came from Ascot Vale. Herrick Jackson, on the other hand enlisted and was demobilised in South Australia.
The only period of service where they are most likely to have met up with each other was on the Gallipoli Peninsula. After the war Henry and James possibly joined the same RSL at Moonee Ponds, and continued their friendship that way.
But is the man in the photo Henry George Jackson? Henry never married. His next of kin was named as his sister, Elizabeth Sophia Jackson who lived in Maribyrnong Road, Ascot Vale, and he had other brothers and a sister, so perhaps there is someone out there who is able to say whether or not Shorty Jackson is Henry George Jackson. Anyone?