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australian rowers profiles and history

Jason (Jay) L B Coulter

Ballarat City Rowing Club (VIC)

Jason (Jay) Leslie Boyd Coulter was born at Ballarat, in August 1877 to parents Irvine and Mary. He was educated at Grenville College and worked in the Commercial Bank in Ballarat. Jason was the third of the Coulter boys to join Ballarat City Rowing Club. In 1895 he coxed the Ballarat crew who won Junior pairs at Upper Yarra Regatta. Jay was then listed as a coxswain at BCRC in 1896 coxing crews in intra-club racing. In 1897 he was elected to the position of club Captain and his brother Graham was on the committee the same year. In 1898 he won the club Trial pairs with R. Anderson and was also listed as competing in Trial pairs in 1899. Jason Coulter was farewelled by the club in 1901 along with Leslie Jenkins who had steered many of our winning crews, when they both transferred to Melbourne. 

Jay signed up for the Boer War on 17th of April 1902.His brothers Graham and Sydney has also enlisted for the Boer War. Sydney was killed in action in August 1901. Graham had returned to Ballarat later in December 1901 after 14 months service. By the time Jason arrived in Durban in June 1902, the war was over and he returned to Australia. He enlisted for World War 1 at Randwick, New South Wales under the name Jason Leslie Boyd on 27 August 1914. At the time Coulter enlisted, the upper age limit was set at 35 but he was 36 at the time, so he enlisted under the surname Boyd. This was later corrected on his service record. His age on enlistment was recorded as 35 and he was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Battalion.

Coulter departed Sydney aboard HMAT Suffolk on 18 October 1914. In March 1915, he was transferred to the 8 Infantry Battalion before being sent to Gallipoli. He was in the landing at Gallipoli on Sunday, April 25th, 1915 at Gaba Tepe. The Australian War Memorial has his personal diary and it records: “ under heavy shell fire. Got straight into action-and it was hell-God how the shells poured over us while the bullets from the enemies’ rifles poured into us-what a day of sorrow…..”

Jason’s brother, Lieutenant Colonel Graham Coulter, was also serving with the 8 Infantry Battalion and later commanded this unit. The Australian War Memorial has in the collection letters between the brothers, so they did stay in contact while fighting the war.

Whilst at Gallipoli Jason was wounded on 1 June 1915, and returned to duty on 27 July. He achieved the rank of Sergeant during August 1915  He also sustained severe gunshot wounds to the right hand and leg, with his hand amputated then gangrene set in. He was wounded in the action in defence of Courtney’s Point on the 5th of August and died on 10th August 1915 at Alexandria, Eygpt. Jason Coulter was 37 years old when he died and he is buried at the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

Kate Elliott
September 2021

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