Farewell to Jack, an Albury hero

FROM the horror of Hiroshima to the fun of trying out for Hawthorn Football Club, Jack Sheridan had an incredible life’s journey between the ages of 17 and 24.

Mr Sheridan was a 19-year-old Royal Australian Navy stoker when he watched the mushroom cloud of the world’s first atomic bomb on August 6, 1945.

He left the navy in December, two days after he turned 20, married Joan Warner in 1946, played for North Albury when it joined the Ovens and Murray Football League in 1947 and later played a few practice matches for Hawthorn.

Mr Sheridan died in hospital on Monday, aged 86, 17 weeks after his wife died in an Albury nursing home.

Jack Sheridan was born at Culcairn but his family moved to Lavington in 1929 to run a dairy farm near Lyne Street.

Lavington was then a small village surrounded by farms and orchards but it did have a football team, and Jack’s father, Charlie, was the secretary in the 1930s.

Naturally, young Jack got caught up in the footy and remembered the violence of the 1938 grand final when about 16 of Lavington’s 18 players were put on report for fighting.

Mr Sheridan’s war began when he was just 17 and one month old.

After training he sailed on the destroyer Quiberon with 190 other men across the Indian Ocean and in the South Atlantic.

Later in the war the ship helped the US and British fleets bombard Japanese-held islands and the coast of Japan.

It was a duty that qualified Mr Sheridan to receive the Burma Star medal with Pacific clasp.

He also was awarded The Philippines’ special Liberation Medal.

After his marriage to Joan Warner at Tumbarumba, Mr Sheridan became a house painter and the couple settled in Albury and raised four children.

Mrs Sheridan had five brothers with a war experience quite different from that of Mr Sheridan.

They joined the same battalion, the 2/7th, in 1940, were all captured in the Battle of Crete a year later and all survived prison camps in Germany from 1941 to 1945.

Daughter Tanya Sheridan said yesterday that Mr Sheridan was in the Hoppers’ first premiership team in 1948 and played 169 games for the club.

“About 1950 he was invited to Hawthorn and played a few practice matches for them, but mum had children and didn’t want to move to the city,” she said.

Mr Sheridan eventually switched from house painting to real estate but retired many years ago.

He was among ex-servicemen involved in additions to the Lavington war memorial in the 1950s and 2003.

A long-time mate, Kokoda veteran Wally Moras, 93, of North Albury, yesterday recalled playing junior football with Mr Sheridan, as well as Anzac Day marches for the next 75 years.

Mr Sheridan had been in hospital just a week.

“Dad watched Hawthorn play in the grand final in my home and went into hospital afterwards,’’ his daughter said.

Mr Sheridan is survived by his children, 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

NOTE: The print article about Mr Sheridan in today's The Border Mail included the incorrect time for Mr Sheridan’s funeral tomorrow.

The funeral will be held at 11am at St Mark’s Anglican Church in North Albury.

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