Jack Auguste Emile Harris attended the Cleveland Street School and served as an officer cadet with the 28th (Militia) Battalion, a unit of Australia's home army, the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces. He lived with his family at 165 Dension Street, Waverley, in eastern Sydney.
When the first accounts of the fighting on Gallipoli arrived back in Australia in May 1915, the Great War was still regarded by most as a noble crusade. Heroic stories of the Anzac landing dominated the press, and the published casualty lists were relatively short, printed under headings such as ‘Our Glorious Dead’ and ‘For King and Country’.
At the time the minimum age for enlistment in the AIF was 21 years, or 18 with a guardian’s written permission. Although aged only 15 years, Jack Harris persuaded his father, Albert Harris, to sign consent to allow Jack to join the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces.