Exactly two years to the day ‘Gentleman Jack’ passed away at the age of 95, the commemorative guernsey includes 24 poppies in the red sash, the number 24 on the front and the poignant words ‘Lest We Forget’ alongside a poppy incorporated into the design on the back.
Famously, the number 24 was dearly special to Jones for many reasons.
The triple premiership player and club Hall of Fame member served with the 24th Infantry Battalion in New Guinea during World War II.
As an acknowledgement of his time spent with the 24th Infantry Battalion and in honour of his fallen comrades, Jones proudly wore the #24 during his 175 games for the Bombers.
In another special link to the number, Jones was born in 1924 and sadly passed away on March 24, 2020 after a battle with cancer.
A childhood Essendon supporter, Jones came to the Bombers’ attention when playing football while stationed in New Guinea during World War II.
In 1946, Jones’ dream of donning the sash alongside his childhood idol, Dick Reynolds, became his reality and the then-21-year-old didn’t look back.
Jones went on to play 175 games in the red and black, including a consecutive streak of 133 games between round 11, 1946 and round 14, 1952, which remains a club record.
Following his retirement, the much-loved football figure dedicated his time to the Club by hosting match days, running tours of Windy Hill and educating the Bombers’ younger players, with his legacy living on through the Club’s Jack Jones Academy aiding the younger players in their development off the field, as well as the recently named Jack Jones Café at the NEC Hangar honoring his love of a sweet biscuit and hot chocolate with staff when he would visit the Club.
Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell said there was no better occasion than honoring the beloved Jones at the Bombers’ home game for Anzac Day this year.
“Jack was a captivating footballer who had a thumping kick and aerial prowess. He achieved the ultimate team success three times over, but it was his work off the field that has left a long lasting legacy on the club and continues to do so,” Campbell said.
“His name is synonymous with our Club’s Anzac Day experience. He took utmost pride in educating our young men on the stories of war and provided them with important historical perspective year in and year out.
“Jack ensured that every player who donned the sash understood the history and importance of Anzac Day, something that the club will carry on in Jack’s honour.
“We continue to miss our Gentleman Jack dearly, and we know his wife Mary, children Anne Maree, Brian, John, Lynn, Peter and Tony will take great pride in seeing our players run out in this special guernsey on April 25.”
Essendon Football Club wishes to thank apparel partner Under Armour for their care, consideration and support for the creation of this guernsey
A part of proceeds will be donated to the RSL's 2022 Anzac Appeal