David MOLLOY #2437

David Molloy

Indigenous Australian, David MOLLOY, 11th Light Horse Regiment.

Aged just 21, David MOLLOY volunteered to serve with the first AIF in August 1917 and found himself in the company of quite a number of Indigenous servicemen.

Molloy was posted to the 20th Reinforcements for the 11th Light Horse Regiment, later known as the ‘Queensland Black Watch’. David Molloy named his brother Edward, as his next of kin, Edward resided at the Yarrabah Aboriginal Mission.

Molloy trained at Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera before embarking on board the troopship Ulysses in December 1917, bound for Egypt.

After several months coming to strength at the Light Horse Training camp at Moascar, Trooper Molloy joined his Regiment in the field at Selmeh, near Jaffa. The 11th Light Horse then moved into the Jordan Valley taking part in the raid of Es Salt, late April and defending the crossings over the river Jordan.

Notorious for its infestation of malarial mosquitos the Jordan Valley took its toll on many Australian troops. Molloy was evacuated seriously ill early in October 1918, complaining of pains all over his body and headache. He tested negative for Malaria, but soon was diagnosed with Pneumonia, often a side effect of Influenza, which had hit the men of the Regiment heavily that month.

Molloy, admitted to the 14th Australian General Hospital, Kantara was given anti-malarial drugs as a precaution and was later admitted to the Citadel Military Hospital, Cairo where the medical officers wrote a very detailed report of his deteriorating mental health, having been admitted in a straight jacket.

Molloy was described as suffering from ‘delusional insanity’ – hearing voices, seeing boys from the mission school, discarding his clothes etc., that he was ‘dangerous and deluded.’

His condition was attributed to the strain of active service and infection, something we might now consider Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is also possible that the onset of Malaria and the side-effects of anti-malarial drugs contributed to his mental state, the psychiatric effects of which were not known until many years later.

David Molloy saw no further active service and was finally transported back to Australia on board the troopship Karoa, in April 1919 and was medically discharged.

Molloy returned to his family in North Queensland. In March 1920 he accompanied several friends including his brothers-in-law, Edgar and Fred Braikenridge, on a shooting expedition on the Mossman River, when he went missing. He was found more than two weeks later, dead of a gun shot wound, just 24 years old.

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Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland