Indigenous Australian, Daniel ALDRIDGE, 31st Infantry Battalion
Daniel Edgar ALDRIDGE was born in 1890 at Booral Station, Pialba to Harry Aldridge [snr] and Lappy Tanner a Butchulla woman, whose people are the traditional owners of K’gari (Fraser Island).
In March 1916 Dan Aldridge volunteered to serve for his country, stepping forward at the Lennox Street Drill Shed in Maryborough, his younger brother Harry had enlisted some two years earlier.
Both Dan and Harry were keen sportsmen, and had attended Maryborough Boys Grammar School where they also trained as soldier cadets. Prior to leaving for Brisbane, Dan along with two other recruits were given a public send-off on 26 August 1916, later training at Thompson’s Camp, Enoggera and Lytton just outside of Brisbane.
Dan was assigned to the 10th Reinforcements for the 31st Infantry Battalion and in October of that year left Brisbane on board HMAT Boona with 200 others keen to see action. Shortly after arriving in England he was admitted to hospital but was soon fit to serve and embarked for France in April 1917.
Not long after joining his battalion in the field, Dan was hospitalised with Influenza that quickly spread among men living in harsh and insanitary conditions. Dan was briefly detached to serve with the Light Railway Brigade before rejoining his unit in the field in October, but once again the conditions took their toll on his health. Scabies, Rheumatism and Trench Fever saw him evacuated to England and admitted to hospital at Bethnal Green.
By March 1918, and although Daniel had been discharged from hospital and spent time at the Convalescent Deport, it was decided to send him home for a ‘change’ or in real terms, he was deemed no longer fit for active service.
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Service Record: ALDRIDGE, Daniel
Embarkation roll: 10th Reinf. 31st Battalion
Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 10 February, 1917
[A public send-off] Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 26 August 1916, p.3
Honouring the heroes. Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 16 December 1918, p.4
[The Aldridges of Boorall] The Brisbane Courier 21 March 1931, p.9
Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen [mp4]
Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland