Jeremiah Arthur “Bull” Jennings was just one of the hundreds of brave young footballers who enlisted in the First World War. “Bull” was a centre-forward who played for Adamstown, Merewether and Weston.
Bull with his older brother, William, stared in Adamstown’s famous 1909 Gardiner Cup win over Pyrmont in Sydney. Arthur was only 17 years of age.
On August 21, 1915, he scored in the Senior Final to help deliver the “Kerr Cup” to Merewether in their 3-0 win over Cessnock.
On October 30, 1915, Arthur Jennings scored for Merewether in the Ellis Cup Final in their 3-2 win over West Wallsend. It was his last competitive match before he, and other players who took part in the final, enlisted. Arthur joined the 34th Battalion B Company on January 23, 1916.
On June 7, 1917, he was gassed on the front in the Battle of Messines and sent to England to recover.
Whilst recovering in London, he was approached by a Director of the Chelsea Football Club to play a friendly against Fulham. He played centre-forward and scored three goals. The Chelsea directors went mad over him.
After the match, the directors asked Bull if he would play, for Chelsea every Saturday. They wrote to the officer-in-command of that depot for permission for Bull to travel to London every Saturday to play for Chelsea, but they were refused. Bull subsequently received a letter from the directors of Chelsea, saying after the war they want him to stay in London to play for Chelsea. £4 a week looked all alright, but Bull liked sunny New South Wales much better than Blighty.
After the match, the London newspapers said the Australian centre-forward was a big acquisition to the team that day. Bull says he had a good time, and nothing was too good for him. He wishes to be remembered to all, at the Northern Districts British Football Association.
On June 12, 1918, he re-joins the 34th Battalion.
On July 16, 1918, he was shot in the knee and was never the same player.
Bull died in 1952 at the age of 60. He assisted in the making of the Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, and was the first groundsman, only relinquishing the position a few weeks prior to his death.