Upon the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, German possessions and the German Fleet in the Pacific became of significant strategic importance. The German squadron was a menace to Australian shipping and seaboard towns.
Perhaps this was the trigger for Jamberoo local John Andrew Waldron Nelson to join up on 12 August 1914. He and 1500 others embarked on the troop ship Berrima on the 19th August 1914.This was the first force ever to leave Australia with its own ships, under the command of Australian officers.
The years leading to the war had seen Nelson employed in the Department of Electrical Engineers for Railways and Tramways, Sydney. At the outbreak of war, he was in business with his father, John.
Promoted to Corporal, in October 1914 Nelson returned to Sydney with 16 other members from the force, acting as an escort for 31 German prisoners, including the Deputy Governor of New Britain.
Nelson returned to Rabaul not long after, but not before there was a farewell for him and others at the Jamberoo School of Arts, where he was presented with a sheep skin vest from the local Red Cross Society.
Once back at Rabaul, Nelson was promoted to Seargent and secured a position with the First British Administration Treasury. Soon after he contracted malaria, with the rest of his military career being hampered by ill health.
Whilst still a soldier in the A.I.F., Nelson, then aged 29, married 20 year old Josephine Wyborn in September 1919, in Sussex.
Waldron Nelson had survived the Great War, but his son was not so lucky during the hostilities of 1939 – 1945. Lieut. Rupert Nelson was killed in action in Borneo, aged 18.