Indigenous Australian, John LEE 41st Infantry Battalion, Machine Gun Company.
John Lee, a stockman was born in Camooweal, Qld in 1893. He enlisted in the AIF October 1915, but was discharged in April the following year as he was “not likely to become an efficient soldier”. While is training camps in Brisbane he had been found to be AWOL on four occasions, leading the commanding officer to write that he was “lacking in the soldierly spirit“.
However in February 1917, John Lee again volunteered, this time his service was welcomed. He was assigned to the 41st Infantry Battalion, Machine Gun Company reinforcements and sent to the Machine Gun Depot at Seymour in Victoria for training.
By June 1917 they had embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT Suevic bound for England and France. Not long after landing in England, Lee was admitted to the Group Hospital, Codford with Mumps. Soon fit for service Private Lee embarked for France in December 1917 to join his Battalion in Flanders where they were being rotated between the front lines and rear areas.
On 28 March 1918 while deployed near the Corbie-Bray Road, north of the River Somme, Private Lee was seriously injured, receiving a gun shot wound to his right arm. Lee was first taken to a Casualty Clearance Station, before being transported to hospital at Camiers. He was later evacuated to the Norfolk War Hospital, Norwich, England, where he remained for several months.
Private Lee was granted two weeks leave before being transferred to the Convalescent Depot in Hurdcott. No longer fit for active service he remained at the camp until being invalided home to Australia in January 1919.
Read more …
- Service record: LEE, John
- Embarkation roll: 13th Machine Gun Company Reinf.
- AWM Unit Diaries: 41st Infantry Battalion
- Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 17 November 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