Indigenous Australian, Private Edward CAPEEN (Kapeen), 31st Infantry Battalion.
Edward Capeen was born at Broadwater, NSW to Jack and Charlotte Kapeen in 1895 and was working as a labourer when he enlisted at Lismore 4 July 1916.
Edward Capeen trained in Brisbane before embarking for overseas on board HMAT Boona in October 1916. He joined his unit in France in May 1917 where they were engaged in operations at Baupaume.
In September 1917 during the Battle of Polygon Wood, Edward Capeen was seriously wounded. They were camped at Chateau Segard and ordered to move out that evening at 9 pm. Under cover of darkness and an artillery barrage, his unit moved forward shooting or bayonetting any enemy who resisted, taking prisoners as they could along the way.
Through thick smoke and fog they found it almost impossible to make their objectives, but they pushed forward all that day alongside English troops. At dusk the Germans launched a strong counter attack which was broken by another barrage of artillery fire.
Many men were killed or wounded on this day, including Edward Capeen. He was evacuated to hospital in England with a gun shot wound to his left leg. After treatment he was repatriated home to Australia and medically discharged in July 1918. He returned to his family and married Dorothy Funnell in 1919.
The Kapeen family are well known for their sporting success, George Kapeen who also served, in the 1st Light Horse Regiment, was a well known boxer, and his nephew Eddie Kapeen played half back in representative rugby.
Read more …
- Service record: CAPEEN, Edward
- Embarkation roll: 10th Reinf. 31st Infantry Battalion
- ‘Welcome to Pte E. Capeen’, Northern Star, 17 July 1918 p3
- ‘A real Coroboree’, Queensland Times, 2 December 1919, p4
- Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 31 March 1917
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- View the whole Collection: Indigenous enlistment
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland