Indigenous Australian, Harold WALSH, 11th Light Horse Regiment.
Harold WALSH (1895-1974) was born at Duaringa near Rockhampton. When he enlisted in the first AIF in January 1918 he did not name any living relatives, instead listed ‘friend’ Mrs Amelia Grace Bromley as his next of kin.
Harold was sent to Brisbane where he did his initial training at Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera before embarking from Sydney onboard the troopship ‘Port Darwin‘ in April 1918. Harold was in the company of several other identified Indigenous soldiers: Niney McDonald #4441, Daniel Wallace #4448 & Robert Shepherd #4445, who had enlisted around the same time.
These reinforcements arrived in Egypt five weeks later and Harold undertook further training with the Light Horse Training Battalion and Signals Training Unit before finally joining his the 11th Light Horse Regiment 4 November 1918.
Trooper Walsh joined the Regiment, when they encamped near the village of Homs in Libya, which would soon relocate to Tripoli, unaware of the imminent cessation of hostilities.
The 11th Light Horse Regiment was encamped at Zgarta when news of the German armistice was received “with great enthusiasm“. The regiment remained in Tripoli until March 1919, and was kept occupied with regular duties, physical activities and short periods of leave. Harold fell foul of the authorities after being found ‘improperly dressed’ or out of uniform whilst in Tripoli, and was lucky to only be fined a days pay, others were sent to detention at the Field Punishment Compound at Moascar.
The Regiment relocated to Egypt as part of an allied force that remained to quell the uprising against British occupation of Egypt and Sudan. Here they were deployed to guard the water supplies, railway lines and bridges and enforce the curfew in and around Cairo, Zagazig, Tel el Kebir .
Eventually the men of the 11th Light Horse Regiment embarked from Kantara, alongside the Suez Canal aboard the ‘Morvada‘ bound for home in July 1919.
Harold Walsh was granted an exemption from the ‘Aboriginals Protection and the Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897‘ in 1919 and returned to live and work in the Duaringa area until his death in 1974.
* Amelia ‘Grace’ Bromley (1856-May 1918) a former matron of Toowoomba Hospital was a charity worker and secretary of the ‘Soldiers Rest and Recreation Rooms’, in Bolsover Street, Rockhampton. Her three sons Bryan, Noel and John all served overseas during the First World War.
Read more …
- SERVICE RECORD: WALSH, Harold
- EMBARKATION ROLL: Light Horse Reinforcements
- UNIT DIARIES: 11th Light Horse Regiment
- Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 16 March, 1918 p.27
- Centre for Indigenous Family History. Queensland exemptions held in 1947
- ‘Country News’. The Week, 20 May 1921, p.24
- 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