The myth created by some cynical frontline troops that AASC actually stood for Australian Army Safety Corps was exploded during the three days Private John Joynes stayed steadfastly at his post, issuing supplies in the face of enemy shellfire in France.
Serving with the 4th Divisional Supply Train, part of the Australian Army Service Corps, John was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery on April 19, 20 and 21, 1918 at Corbie, east of Amiens.
The citation read:
“This soldier was employed on an issuer of supplies at Corbie. The vicinity of the dump from which he was issuing was continually under enemy shellfire. The excellent manner in which he performed his duties under such conditions showed great courage and devotion to duty, and worthy of recognition”.
Born in Surrey, England, John had been working as a farmer in the Canungra district and was one of the earliest enlistments from the area, joining up in Brisbane on August 20, 1914, less than three weeks after the outbreak of war.
John was already 33 years old and had previously served in England with the 13th Middlesex Volunteers.
He listed as his next of kin his brother, WH Joynes, living in London, and embarked from Brisbane on the Omrah for the Middle East on September 24, 1914 as part of Australia’s hastily assembled first contingent.
He was enlisted as a Driver in the 5th Company Army Service Corps, 1st Light Horse Brigade Train.
An Englishman, John was among the Australians and New Zealanders who were the original ANZACs, firstly in Egypt and then Gallipoli.
After Gallipoli, John was back in Egypt at Minia and Serapeum, until June 1916 when he embarked on the Haverford at Alexandria bound for Marseilles in France.
Throughout 1916, 1917 and 1918, John served in a number of units on the Western Front, delivering vital supplies of food and ammunition to frontline troops.
Transferred to the 4th Divisional Supply Train in July 1917, he was serving with this unit when he displayed the courage for which he was awarded the Military Medal, coming under continual shellfire at Corbie during the German Spring Offensive of April 1918.
The war was in its final weeks when John embarked for Australia at Taranto, Italy, on September 29, 1918.
He was discharged from the Army on January 24, 1919.