Tag Archives: 15th Infantry Battalion Back

George ELLIS #2356

Indigenous Australian, Private George ELLIS, 15th Infantry Battalion When George ELLIS volunteered to serve with the first AIF, no one suspected he was of Aboriginal heritage. From this photograph published in The Queenslander Pictorial in 1916, there is really nothing to distinguish him from any other keen recruit, stepping up to fight for “King and … Read more

John (Jack) MASON #5248

John Mason 47th Battalion

Indigenous Australian, John MASON, 47th Infantry Battalion Jack Mason followed his brothers Allan and Leslie into camp when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in October 1915. The son of Thomas Mason and Rosanna ‘Rosa’ Owens in Walcha, NSW, his grandmother Maria Matthews was a Kamilaroi woman. After initially training at Enoggera barracks, … Read more

Walter POLLOCK #7291

Walter Pollock

Indigenous Australian, Walter POLLOCK, 15th Infantry Battalion Walter POLLOCK put his name forward to volunteer for the first AIF in November 1916, 10 days after his younger brother Frank. Born at Noondoo Station, in 1890 to Maggie Freeman (later Green) and David Pollock, Walter was a station hand at Noondoo, like his brother. Walter was … Read more

William Ernest RALPH #6874

William Ernest Ralph

Indigenous Australian, William RALPH, 15th Infantry Battalion William RALPH’s story highlights the difficulties faced by indigenous families as they sought to be treated as equals among the general community. Like many of his peers, William RALPH volunteered to serve with the first AIF, and in October 1915 while allied troops were still deployed to the … Read more

Tommy PURCELL #7813a

Tommy Purcell

Indigenous Australian, Tommy PURCELL, 15th Infantry Battalion. Tommy PURCELL also known as Tommy LEE was born in Atherton in 1894. He was just 21 years old when he enlisted in the first AIF in September 1917, he named his sister Emily Purcell as his next of kin. Tommy initially trained at Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera … Read more

Norman PRIESTLY #2786

Norman Priestly

Indigenous Australian, Norman (Val.) Priestly, 15th & 47th Infantry Battalion. Lance Corporal Norman (Val) PRIESTLY was born at Gordon Brook Station, NSW to William and Mary Priestly in 1896. He had been working as a labourer at Southgate, near Grafton but in August 1915, age just 19, he volunteered to serve for the first AIF. … Read more

Harry Thomas MARTYN #7262

Harry Thomas Martyn

Indigenous Australian, Harry MARTYN, 15th Infantry Battalion. Private Harry MARTYN and his brother Charles enlisted together, volunteering to serve with the first AIF in February 1916. Born in 1897 to Charles William and Rose Sarah (nee Conlon), Harry was initially assigned to the same reinforcements as Charles, but he embarked from Sydney with the 24th … Read more

Cyril Allen JOHNSON #1340


Indigenous Australian, Cyril JOHNSON, 15th Infantry Battalion. Private Cyril JOHNSON was born in Sheffield, north-western Tasmania to Thomas Lewis and Esther Ann Johnson (nee Haydon) in 1888. Having already participated in the local citizen forces the ‘Tasmanian Rangers” he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in December 1914 in Brisbane, age 27. By January … Read more