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Joseph Helton Tuckett (1890–1922)

by R. E. Cowley

This article was published:

Joseph Helton Tuckett (1890-1922), soldier and auctioneer, was born on 19 March 1890 at South Yarra, Melbourne, son of Arthur Helton Tuckett, auctioneer, and his wife Margaret, née Gibson, both Melbourne born. Joseph attended Melbourne Church of England Preparatory Grammar School (1898-1900), Malvern Grammar School and Hamilton Academy before starting work as an auctioneer. About 1913 he became a partner in his father's firm, Arthur Tuckett & Son.

Two days after enlisting in the 5th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, Tuckett married Edith Eliza Eva ('Queenie') Fenton on 24 August 1914 at St Peter's Anglican Church, Melbourne. On 16 September he was promoted sergeant and transferred to the Australian Army Ordnance Corps. He embarked for the Middle East on 21 October with the 1st Division headquarters; promoted staff sergeant next January, he sailed for Gallipoli via Lemnos on 5 April 1915. Brought to notice for his gallantry and valuable services from 25 April to 5 May, he was awarded the Military Medal and promoted warrant officer, class one.

In Egypt on 21 February 1916 Tuckett was commissioned lieutenant and appointed deputy assistant director of ordnance services, 4th Division, with the temporary rank of captain. Proceeding with the division to France, he was confirmed in rank on 20 August. For over two years he played a pivotal role in the often hazardous task of providing stores to forward units. He was awarded the Military Cross on 1 June 1917 for his work, promoted major in November and thrice mentioned in dispatches. Appointed temporary assistant director of ordnance services to the Australian Corps in October 1918, he became the A.I.F.'s senior ordnance officer in France on 4 December. He was A.D.O.S., Australian Corps headquarters, with the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel from March 1919; in September, with the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel, he embarked for home. His A.I.F. appointment terminated in January 1920.

A small man with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion, Tuckett left Australia about 1921 to work as a gazetted official in the Chief Engineer's Department, Iraq. On the night of 25-26 March 1922 he was shot dead by Arab intruders in his bungalow in Engineer Field Park, Baghdad. Survived by his wife, he was buried in the local war cemetery.

Joseph's cousin, Lieutenant Richard Joseph Tuckett (1890-1954), was awarded the Military Cross for his services at the battle of Dernancourt in April 1918.

Select Bibliography

  • J. B. Kiddle (compiler), War Services of Old Melburnians 1914-1918 (Melb, 1923)
  • Melbourne Church of England Grammar School, Liber Melburniensis (Melb, 1937, 1965) and Melburnian, 8 Dec 1954
  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, vols 3, 5 (Syd, 1929, 1937)
  • Argus (Melbourne), 31 Mar, 1 Apr 1922
  • private information.

Citation details

R. E. Cowley, 'Tuckett, Joseph Helton (1890–1922)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 8 December 2023.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne University Press), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

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