Jorgen Christian Jensen VC

b. 15/01/1891 Logstor, Denmark. d. 31/05/1922 Adelaide, Australia.

Jorgen Christian Jensen (1891-1922) was born on 15th January 1891 at Logstor, Denmark. His father, also Jorgen, was a farmer and wool merchant. His mother was Christiane nee Sorensen, and in addition to Jorgen, they had three other children. Jorgen junior became a sailor and moved to England in 1908, but emigrated to Australia, arriving in Melbourne in March 1909. He worked as a labourer at Morgan, South Australia, also at Port Pirie and at one point, worked on a River Murray steamship. He was naturalised British on 7th September 1914 in Adelaide, because there was no Australian Citizenship Act until 1948.

Jorgen C Jensen VC

He enlisted at Keswick Barracks, Adelaide on 23rd March 1915, and embarked on HMAT A30 Borda with 6th Reinforcement Group for 10th Battalion, 3rd Australian Brigade, 1st Australian Division on 23rd June and arrived at Alexandria, Egypt before moving to Heliopolis. He was involved in operations at Gallipoli from 28th September with 10th Battalion. He was admitted sick to 2nd Australian Light Horse Field Ambulance until 5th October. Following the evacuation from Gallipoli, he returned to Egypt.

He had a number of disciplinary problems including being absent from tattoo on 19th April 1916. On 5th June, he left Alexandria for Marseilles, France arriving on 12th June. On 14th August he was wounded by a gunshot to the left shoulder near Pozieres and admitted to 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Dammes-Camiers near Etaples later that day. He was evacuated to Britain and treated at Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester, Sussex. While he was recovering, his disciplinary record worsened. He was absent without leave on two more occasions, resulting in detention and forfeiture of pay.

He eventually returned to France on 16th January 1917. He transferred to 50th Battalion, 13th Australian Brigade, 4th Australian Division on 28th January. On 2nd April 1917 at Noreuil, France, Private Jensen, with five comrades, attacked a barricade behind which were about 45 of the enemy and a machine-gun. One of the party shot the gunner and Private Jensen rushed the post and threw in a bomb. Then, with a bomb in each hand, he threatened the rest and made them surrender. He sent one of his prisoners to another group of the enemy, ordering them to surrender, which they did, but our troops began firing on them, where-upon Private Jensen, regardless of danger stood on the barricade waving his helmet, and the firing stopped. He then sent his prisoners back to our lines.

He received his VC from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21st July 1917. After a period of time in England, he rejoined his Battalion in October 1917. He was appointed Temporary Sergeant on 5th November, and was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the head on patrol near Villers-Bretonneux on 5th May 1918 and reverted to Corporal. He was evacuated to Britain, and never returned to the front. He was one of ten Australian VCs who returned to Australia aboard HMAT D21 Medic to support recruitment, arriving in Melbourne on 15th October. He was discharged at Adelaide on 12th December 1918, medically unfit for further service. He worked at the Truro Hotel, Truro, South Australia then in Adelaide as a marine store dealer and later as a “bottle-oh” (Australian slang for a liquor shop attendant).

On 13th July 1921, he married Katy Herman nee Arthur at Adelaide Registry Office, South Australia. Katy was a divorcee, having married Joseph Louis Herman in 1910 and had two daughters. Jorgen and Katy’s marriage was short-lived, as he never fully recovered from his war wounds. He was admitted to Royal Adelaide Hospital in alcoholic mania and died shortly afterwards on 31st May 1922. He was buried with full military honours in the Light Oval Section of West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. In addition to his VC, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. His VC was donated to the Australian War Memorial by his stepdaughter, Mrs Lois Wagner at a ceremony attended by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in February 1987.






Steve Lee – Image of the Jensen VC Medal Group at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Richard Yielding – Image of the Jensen VC Plaque at Centennial Park Crematorium, Adelaide.