George SOSAR, 26th Infantry Battalion
George James SOSAR was born on Thursday Island in 1892, when his father was working on the island as a carpenter. George’s father Manuel Sosar was born in central Chile, South America and his mother Harriet Morris, born in Bowen, was the granddaughter of Mary an aboriginal woman from Manaroo [Monaro] in New South Wales.
When George enlisted to serve in the first AIF in March 1917 he left behind in Bowen his wife Ethel May [Andrews] and their two daughters Harriet Lillian and Dorothy. He travelled to Rifle Range Camp, Brisbane from Townsville to train as an infantry man with the 20th Reinforcements for the 26th Battalion.
Friends and well-wishers later presented him with a parting gift at a gathering held at the Bowen sailing club, having been granted ‘home leave’ to say farewell before embarking for overseas.
The reinforcements left Sydney on board the troopship ‘Hororata’ bound for England in June 1917 but during the voyage George was taken ill and admitted to the ships hospital.
When the ship landed at Cape Town on 18 July he was taken ashore and on the advise of the ships Senior Medical Officer, and admitted for treatment to No.1 General Hospital at Wynberg Military Camp. Described as having epileptic fits, George Sosar was suffering from seizures as a result of having contracted bacterial Meningitis.
Five weeks later George Sosar was taken onboard HMAS Ceramic and sailed for home, disembarking in Melbourne and travelling by train to Brisbane, arriving 15 September 1917 six months after he enlisted, and was medically discharged.
George Sosar returned to his family in Bowen, although he and his wife became estranged in 1926. Ethel died in 1932, just a year after his father who had remained working right up until his death with the Bowen Harbour Board. George a popular figure in the local cricket team, died in January 1951.
Read more …
- SERVICE RECORD: SOSAR, George James
- EMBARKATION ROLL: 20th Reinf. 26th Infantry Battalion
- Send-off to a soldier. Bowen Independent 19 May 1917, p. 2.
- Returned soldier. Bowen Independent 16 October 1917, p. 2.
- Police court. Bowen Independent 18 December 1926, p. 6.
- Manuel Sosar. Obituary. Bowen Independent 1 December 1931, p. 2.
- Ethel May Sosar. Bowen Independent, 26 November 1932 p. 2.
- Monaro Pioneers
- Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 30 July 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