Aboriginal Serviceman

Thomas WILLIAMS

 ABORIGINAL SERVICEMAN


Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are advised that this site contains names, images of deceased people.


Warrant Officer I, Regimental Sergeant Major. 1 Charles Edward FIELDHOUSE. Merchant Seaman and Wharfer, Armidale. N.S.W. (pre WW1)

Sergeant: 6020 Douglas GRANT. 34th - 13th Battalion AIF. North Queensland. (Yidinyji)

Corporal: 69 Harold William Francis FRAZER. 34th Battalion AIF. Labourer, Walgett, N.S.W. (Muruwari)

Lance Corporal: 2101 William James Albert JONAS, MID. 34th Battalion AIF. Dungog, N.S.W.

Private: 3019A William BEALE. 34th Battalion AIF. Werris Creek, N.S.W.

Private: 4509 Andy BOND. 33rd Battalion AIF. Labourer, Braidwood, N.S.W.

Private: 3112 John BRENELL. 55th-34th Battalion AIF. Killed in Action. Bairnsdale, Victoria.

Private: 16 Frederick John BRIGGS. M.M. from Manilla in the New England region of NSW, enlisted on 3 December 1915. Following basic training, Briggs was assigned to the 33rd Battalion, A Company

Private: 723 Samuel John CAPES. 33rd Battalion AIF. Labourer, Kentuckey via Uralla, N.S.W. (Anaiwan)

Private: 4762 Henry COOLEY. 36th Battalion AIF. Ulladulla, N.S.W.

Private: 1501 Sidney CUNNINGHAM. 34th Battalion AIF. Driver, Kogarah, N.S.W.

Private: 7242 Joseph GOTCH. 33rd Battalion AIF. Cootamundra, N.S.W.

Private: 3055 Thomas FULLER. 33rd Battalion AIF. Barradine, N.S.W.

Private: 2333 Edward HEATH. 33rd Battalion AIF Labourer, Gurley Siding via Merriwa, N.S.W. Killed in Action.

Private: 792 William Allan IRWIN. D.C.M. 33rd Battalion AIF. Shearer, Moree, N.S.W. "Walhollow" Aboriginal Station Quirindi, N.S.W. (Kamilaroi)

Private: 3074 Allen James JENKINS. 35th Battalion AIF. Singleton, N.S.W.

Private: 3333 Archibald JOHNSTON. 35th Battalion AIF. (Prisoner of War) Bulladella, N.S.W.

Private/Driver: 804 Charles Roy KING. 33rd Battalion - 2nd Battalion AIF. Labourer, Baradine, N.S.W. Burra Bee Dee Mission (Gamilaraay)

Private: Alister LESTER/LEYCESTER. 36th Depot Battalion AIF. Singleton, N.S.W. (Wonnaruah) Discharged Medically Unfit.

Private: 2109 Augustus LESTER/LEYCESTER. 34th Battalion AIF. Killed in Action. Singleton, N.S.W. (Wonnaruah)

Private: 2356 Ernest Augustus LESTER/LEYCESTER. 36th Depot Battalion AIF. Singleton, N.S.W. (Wonnaruah) Discharged Medically Unfit.

Private: 2608 Leslie McGUINNESS. 33rd Battalion AIF. Dental Mechanic. Kempsey, N.S.W. (Dunghutti)

Private: 941 William RHODES. 33rd Battalion AIF. Died of Wounds. (Accidental) Grafton, N.S.W.

Private: 2179 Denis "Denny" SHERRY. (D Company) 36th Battalion AIF. Labourer, Gladstone, Macley River via Kempsey. N.S.W. (Dunghutti) Sentenced to Death for Desertion

Private: 2166 George SYRON. (D Company) 34th Battalion AIF. Died of Wounds. Labourer, Blackman's Point, Hasting's River, N.S.W.

Private: 6400 Thomas James WALKER. 35th Battalion AIF. Killed in Action. Sydney, N.S.W.

Private: Andrew WILKIE.

Private: 3399 Ernest WILLIAMS. 33rd Battalion AIF. Labourer, Gulargambone, N.S.W. "Walhollow" Aboriginal Station Quirindi, N.S.W.

Private: 1271 Thomas WILLIAMS. 33rd Battalion AIF. Labourer, Coonabarabran, N.S.W.

 

4509 BOND

THE COLOURED DIGGER"

He came and joined the colours, when the War God's anvil rang, He took up modern weapons to replace his boomerang, He waited for no call-up, he didn't need a push, He came in from the stations, and the townships of the bush.

He helped when help was wanting, just because he wasn't deaf; He is right amongst the columns of the fighting A.I.F. He is always there when wanted, with his Owen gun or Bren, He is in the forward area, the place where men are men.

He proved he's still a warrior, in action not afraid, He faced the blasting red hot fire from mortar and grenade; He didn't mind when food was low, or we were getting thin, He didn't growl or worry then, he'd cheer us with his grin.

He'd heard us talk democracy--, They preach it to his face-- Yet knows that in our Federal House there's no one of his race. He feels we push his kinsmen out, where cities do not reach, And Parliament has yet to hear the Abo's maiden speech. One day he'll leave the Army, then join the League he shall, And he hope's we'll give a better deal to the Aboriginal.

(By Sapper Bert Beros, a non-Aboriginal soldier in World War Two. Written about an Aboriginal soldier, Private West).


At the time of the World War I, British-Australians still believed themselves to be superior to the Indigenous people of Australia. This was reflected when the Constitution of Australia was established only 13 years earlier, in 1901. The Constitution excluded Aboriginal people by not regarding them as Australian citizens. In addition, not all Aboriginal people were given the right to vote at federal elections, with those in Queensland and Western Australia being denied at a state level. In 1909, the Defence Act 1909 (Cth) prevented those who were not of 'substantially European descent' from being able to enlist in any of the armed forces. Despite the legislation restricting them from enlisting, or their long history of being persecuted by the British, many Aboriginal people still wanted to support Australia by being involved in the war. Around 300 to 400 Indigenous Australians from every State were said to have enlisted and fought in World War I for Australia and the British Empire. Although this may not seem to be a large contribution on behalf of the Aboriginal population, when 416 809 Australians in total enlisted for service in World War I, Australia's Aboriginal population was estimated to be only 80,000.

It could be assumed that most of the Aboriginal people wanted to be involved in the war for the same kinds of reasons that the British-Australians did. They were swept up in the excitement of war and the belief that it would be their chance to see the world and to get paid for it. Although many disliked the British because of their violent history, many Aboriginal people felt strongly patriotic and loyal to Australia believing that it was their nation also. During the war, amongst those who were serving Australia and the Empire, the division of colour which sharply divided the British-Australians and the Aboriginal people in their civilian lives became non-existent. No longer were negative stereotypes attributed to the Indigenous Australians, the Young Australian men simply saw them as being no different from themselves and treated them accordingly. The lived, fought and died beside each other, never once thinking one was superior to another. It is obvious that there were many negatives surrounding the relationship between the Aboriginal people and the British around World War I. Aboriginal involvement in the war is important, not only to modern Aboriginal history but also to Australian history. It is important to know that Aboriginal people were there on the battlefield willing to sacrifice themselves for their nation at the time when Australia's national character was said to have been established.


I have attempted to list those Indigenous Servicemen who served with the 9th Infantry Brigade AIF during World War One. This list is not complete nor will it probably ever be, but I have attempted to list as many men as possible as the information comes to hand. Please forward any additional information on men from the above list or men who I have not recorded as yet to assist me with this project, any assistance is greatly appreciated to honour our Indigenous Servicemen.

David John Harrower JP   aif.ww1@live.com

Australian Natives AssociationAustralia Day PinUnder Construction; 21/10/2010-4/12/2016.

 

Leave a comment