While undertaking research into Aboriginal soldiers, I discovered the above article from Reveille. It is one of several sources that identify Aboriginal stockmen being recruited into the Australian Light Horse, particularly the 11th Light Horse Regiment.
This snippet from the AWM website identifies some of the Aboriginal men sent as part of the 20th Reinforcements for the 11th Light Horse that left Sydney on the ‘Uylsses’, 19th December 1917. AWM records indicate that this group was the only exclusive Aboriginal group created in the AIF – only 4 non-Indigenous men were in the reinforcement group!
The following list identifies the names of the Aboriginal men who served in the 11th LHR as well as their place of residence.
2422 Pte William Bert Brown [Boompa, South Burnett]
2423 Pte Frederick Arthur Burnett [Windsor, Brisbane]
2424 Pte Edward Collins [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2459 Pte Fred Collins [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2458 Pte Samuel Cooper [Maclean, NSW]
2425 Pte Jack Costello [Winton, Western Queensland]
2426 Pte Harry Doyle [Gordonvale, North Queensland]
2428 Pte Frank Fisher [Cherbourg, South Burnett]
2427 Pte Joe Fitzroy [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2429 Pte John Geary [Bundaberg]
2460 Pte John Hall [Bundaberg]
2430 Pte John Johnston, (Died of wounds, 1 June 1918) [Winton, Western Queensland]
2431 Pte Jack Kearns [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2432 Pte John McKenzie Laurie [Durambah, NSW]
2433 Pte James Lingwoodock [Lowmead, via Bundaberg]
2434 Pte Leonard Lynch [Charleville, South-West Queensland]
2438 Pte James McBride [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2437 Pte David Molloy [Cairns, North Queensland]
2435 Pte Frank Morris [Nebo, Central Queensland]
2436 Pte Harry Murray [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2439 Pte William Nicholld [Yarrabah, North Queensland]
2440 Pte Jack Oliffe [Wyandra, South-West Queensland]
2443 Pte Charlie Parkes [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2441 Pte Jack Pollard [Cairns, North Queensland]
2445 Pte Edward Smith [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]
2447 Pte Joe White [Spring Hill, Brisbane]
2448 Pte Leslie Thomas Wogas [Murwillumbah, NSW]
This photo entitled ‘Servicemens’ wedding at Charlotte Street, Brisbane, 1917′ features two of the Aboriginal troopers at their joint wedding prior to disembarking for the war with the 20th Reinforcements. The grooms are Private James Lingwoodock [Service number 2433, Enlisted 18/07/1917] and Private John ‘Jack’ Geary [Service number 2429, Enlisted 14/08/1917]; the brides are Daisy Roberts and Alice Bond.
State Library has several items in the collections relating to the 11th Light Horse Regiment and their involvement in WW1 – History of the Eleventh Light Horse Regiment provides the official regimental history of a remarkable group of men.
Indigenous Languages Researcher, Queensland Memory
References and Further Reading
Hammond, E. W. (1942) History of the 11th Light Horse Regiment, Fourth Light Horse Brigade, Australian Imperial Forces : War 1914-1919. J 940.41294 HAM
Pratt, R. (1993) Biographical register of Queensland Aborigines who served in the Great War, 1914-1918. P 940.403 pra
Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History 2015. Digital Story 29841
Ration Shed Museum (2015) The boys from Barambah: The story of the black diggers of Barambah-Cherbourg of World War 1. JUVQ 940.400899915 NEW
Scarlett, P. (2011) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One. Q 940.40994 SCA
Servicemens’ wedding at Charlotte Street, Brisbane, 1917. JOL Negative 60511
Winegard, T. C. (2012) Indigenous peoples of the British dominions and the First World War. 940.341 2012