Indigenous Australian, Martin BLYTH, Australian Army Service Corps.
Driver Martin BLYTH was born in Kilkivan, Queensland in 1893. He was working as a stockman in the area in 1918 when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in August 1918. The enlisting officer, wrote to District Headquarters on his behalf, and another indigenous volunteer Neville Black and requested their inclusion in the services.
Apparently Blyth had volunteered earlier in the war, in Woolvi, but had been refused on the grounds of his heritage. Blyth was accepted and began his training at Rifle Range camp, Enoggera, to date there is no record showing that Neville Black served.
Assigned to the 6th General Reinforcements, Blyth embarked for Egypt on board the troopship ‘Malta’ arriving in the Port of Suez five weeks later, just a few days after the armistice in France had been signed.
These reinforcements were taken into the Central Training Depot, Moascar, before being allotted to their specific units. Blyth was assigned to the Australian Army Service Corps, and mustered as a driver he worked with the 37th & 38th Army Service Corps Companies until being returned home in September 1919.
Martin Blyth returned home to Queensland and the control of the ‘Chief Protector of Aborigines’. Martin was granted permission to marry Maudie Brierty in 1926 at Barambah, but in 1930 he and fellow returned soldier Charley Alley were removed and detained on Palm Island.
- SERVICE RECORD: BLYTH, Martin
- Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 5 October 1918
- Register of Marriage Applications 1908 – 1936
- TWO BANISHED FROM THE MAINLAND, The Evening News 17 May 1930, p5.
- 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