Edward SMITH #2445

Edwards Smith

Indigenous Australian, Edward SMITH, 11th Light Horse Regiment

Trooper Edward SMITH was born in Mitchell to a white man named Smith who worked on Forest Vale Station and Annie [?Butcher] an aboriginal woman in 1886.

Himself a stock and station hand he enlisted in the first AIF in May 1917 and trained at Rifle Range camp, Enoggera with the other recruits selected to join the 20th Reinforcements of the 11th Light Horse Regiment.

This contingent became known as the ‘Queensland Black Watch’, all but two of the 20th Reinforcements were Aboriginal.

Edward Smith embarked from Sydney with his fellow recruits in December 1917 bound for Egypt.

When they arrived at Port Suez they were assigned to the reinforcements camp at Moascar, but 10 days later Smith was admitted to hospital with measles, which was easily spread amongst large groups of men, confined to a ship for up to six weeks.

Smith rejoined the reinforcements camp two weeks later and after receiving further training joined his regiment in the field April 1918 at Selmeh, near Jaffa.

Trooper Smith was later mustered as a Temporary Driver and remained with the Regiment until they were returned home on board the ‘Morvada’ in August 1919. Soon after his return he married Sarah Ann Jackson.

Edward Smith was granted exemption from the restrictions of the Queensland Protection of Aboriginals Act in 1921, and allowed to work and reside among the wider community. He had applied for and was granted a war gratuity bond in 1920 and returned to employment as a stockman on Tooloombilla Station where he remained for many years. It is believed he died in September 1963.

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