Indigenous Australian, Alexander STANLEY, 11th Light Horse Regiment
Alexander ‘Digger’ Stanley volunteered to serve with the first AIF in March 1918, and with no known relatives named his friend Jack Dillahide as his next of kin.
Stanley had been working as a drover at Wongongra Station near Chincilla in the Western Downs region of Queensland.
Alex Stanley ‘mistakenly’ attested that he was born in Ballina and that he was a half-caste American negro, perhaps because he came under the ‘Protection of Aboriginals Act’ and he desired to live outside those limitations.
Nevertheless Alex Stanley was accepted to join the 1st General Reinforcements, Queensland to go to Egypt, and trained at Rifle Range camp, just outside Brisbane.
They embarked from Sydney on board the troopship ‘Wiltshire’ in June 1918 and arrived at Port Suez five weeks later. The troops were encamped just outside Cairo at the Central Training Depot of Moascar, but soon after arriving Stanley was admitted to the 26th Stationary Hospital with mumps.
Two weeks later he rejoined his fellow recruits and after further training joined his regiment in the field in November 1918 when they were encamped at Zgarta, outside of Tripoli, it was just days after the announcement of the armistice in Europe.
Although main hostilities had ended in Turkey, allied troops continued to be deployed in maintaining peaceful relations with the local population and in early 1919 several Light Horse Regiments were required to quell the Egyptian uprising against British rule.
Trooper Alexander Stanley returned home to Australia on board the ‘Morvada’ in July 1919 and was known to have worked for a short time in Mitchell for George Foster. In 1924 he married Rachel Munro, in Moree, NSW where they raised two sons. He died in 1968.
Note: Alexander Stanley was born in Thargomindah, Queensland to Henry Croft and Elizabeth (Liza) Stanley, and was certainly under the eye of the Mitchell Police between 1889 and 1921 where records mention that he was also claiming to be half-caste Maori.
Read more …
- SERVICE RECORD: STANLEY, Alexander
- Mitchell Police Letterbook 1899-1921
- Clerk of Petty Sessions, Eromanga 1920-1931
- Image, held by State Library NSW
- 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