Indigenous Australian, Samuel NAPOLEON, 9th & 49th Infantry Battalions.
Samuel Dassien NAPOLEON was born in Cangai to Bertrand Napoleon and Annie Olive, in 1892. Samuel had been working as a stockman when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in October 1915, age 23, two months before his older brother William stepped forward.
After enlisting at Lismore, Samuel trained at Enoggera camp, just outside Brisbane and embarked with the 12th Reinforcements for the 9th Infantry Battalion on board the Itonus, bound for Egypt.
By the time they arrived in the Middle East, allied troops had been evacuated from operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula and battalions were being reorganised to be deployed to Europe.
Samuel Napoleon was transferred to the 49th Infantry Battalion, like his brother William and embarked for France in June 1916. In September 1916 the Battalion was engaged at Mouquet Farm, where Samuel was badly injured, receiving multiple gun shot wounds to his face and hands. He was transported back to England and admitted for treatment in the Ontario Military Hospital, Kent.
Samuel was not to rejoin his unit until almost 12 months had passed, and was readmitted to hospital several times more, before finally being invalided home in May 1919.
He returned to his home in Cangai and his work as a stockman, but in 1939 died at a relatively young age of 48 of septicemia at the Brisbane General Hospital. Samuel was buried at the Toowong Cemetery; he never married.
Read more …
- SERVICE RECORD: NAPOLEON, Samuel
- EMBARKATION RECORD: 12th Reinf. 9th Infantry Battalion
- AWM Unit Diaries: 49th Battalion
- 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