Coburg State School Soldiers Book. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.
Jack Eadie Aitken was the son of William and Nannie Aitken of ‘Oamaru’, Walsh Street, Coburg. He was a Coburg man through and through. His family had lived in the suburb since the 1880s and probably earlier. He was born there in 1894. He attended Coburg State School from 1905 and won prizes for punctuality, attendance, good fellowship and as a drummer in the school band.
Images courtesy Coburg Historical Society.
Jack’s father William, a miller by trade, died suddenly in January 1913 and his death notice shows that he left behind his widow Nannie and seven children, most of them adults by then.
Argus, 3 January 1913, p.1. William Aitken, died 1 January 1913 (suddenly) at his residence ‘Oamaru’, Walsh St., Coburg. Son of Mrs Robert Aitken of ‘Linwood’, Harding’s Rd and the late Robert Aitken (miller), Melbourne. Also: Husband of Nannie, brother of Mrs D. Scott, Mrs W. Downes, Mrs R.J. Gibson and Miss Meron Aitken. Also: Husband of Nannie, father of Robert, Victor, David, John, George and Nannie and Mrs H. Powell. After a short illness.
A motor body builder by trade, member of the Coburg Presbyterian Church and an athlete and footballer, Jack Aitken enlisted on 30 July 1915 and sailed out of Melbourne in November, not long after his 21st birthday. Apart from a sprained ankle in May 1918, he survived the war and returned to Australia in July 1919.
After his marriage, Jack Aitken and his wife Florence lived in Barrow Street, Coburg until the 1940s when they moved to the street of his childhood – Walsh Street – where they raised their family. The military life must have suited him, because he remained a soldier all his life. He served in World War Two and died in 1976 aged 82 and is buried at Fawkner.