John Wesley Blacket was born on the 20th July 1886 in Gumeracha. He was the eldest of fourteen children born to the Reverend John and Martha Jane (nee Fidler) Blacket. Blacket attended Prince Alfred College from 1891 and later studied at Adelaide University. After university he taught at Prince Alfred College for 10 years before enlisting in the army at the outbreak of World War I.
He played nine games for the very strong Norwood side in 1907, although he did not feature in either the Premiership or the Champions of Australia teams for that year. He does not appear to have played any league games in 1908 although he was named in a representative Norwood side that played against the Gawler Association at Gawler in August. He also played a game for Prince Alfred Old Collegians against St Peters Old Collegians and another for Adelaide University against Melbourne University in 1908. His final appearances for Norwood were two games in 1909.
After 1909, newspaper reports indicate that John Blacket continued playing football for St Bartholomew in the local Association and was also selected for Adelaide University in the Amateur League. An all round sportsman, Blacket was also wicketkeeper for Adelaide University in the A Grade District competition.
John Blacket applied for a commission in the Australian Imperial Forces on the 30th January 1915. He was first appointed to the 10th Battalion before being transferred to the 24th and later the 27th Battalion where he remained. His initial rank was Adjutant Lieutenant but he was later appointed as Captain.
He joined the expeditionary forces at Gallipoli in September 1915 and was wounded just two weeks later. After recovering in England and a brief assignment with the British Expeditionary Force, he rejoined his battalion at the front line trenches in Belgium in May 1916. John Blacket was killed in action near Messines on 4 July 1916 during a heavy artillery bombardment.
He was mentioned in a despatch from General Sir Douglas Haig, dated 13th November 1916, for gallant and distinguished service in the field.
John Blacket’s brother Joseph also played for Norwood in 1915 and served in the 27th Battalion. He was killed in action in France on 10 June 1918. Two other Blacket brothers, Maurice Newton and Samuel Bertram enlisted in 1916 and both survived the war.
W Heading Mar 2014