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  #1  
Old 08-04-15, 09:13 AM
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Default Australian aboriginal A.I.F.

I have purchased a small collection of Australian Great War post cards which included this stunning image of an Australian soldier. He appears to be serving with the 1st Division and possibly 4th or 8th battalion but please correct me if I am wrong.

I wasn't aware that native Australians served in the A.I.F. but then I know very little about the A.I.F.

If there is any way of identifying this soldier I would be very pleased to know.
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  #2  
Old 08-04-15, 09:41 AM
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Might this man be an immigrant, not a native Australian?
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Old 08-04-15, 09:45 AM
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It might be worth trying the Department of Veterans Affairs website. I understood that an effort was made to identify and list indigenous members of the AIF.

Generally a man could not enlist in the AIF unless he was of substantially British descent but at least 3-400 Aborigines or part-Aborigines served during the Great War.

There is at least one book on the subject: The Black Diggers by Major Robert Hall, ISBN 0 04 520005 X.
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Old 08-04-15, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh kitchen View Post
Might this man be an immigrant, not a native Australian?
He might be but prior to the Great War immigration to Australia was mainly from those of white European descent.
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Old 08-04-15, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fairlie63 View Post
It might be worth trying the Department of Veterans Affairs website. I understood that an effort was made to identify and list indigenous members of the AIF.

Generally a man could not enlist in the AIF unless he was of substantially British descent but at least 3-400 Aborigines or part-Aborigines served during the Great War.

There is at least one book on the subject: The Black Diggers by Major Robert Hall, ISBN 0 04 520005 X.
Thank you for the information, I will look out for the book. The post card seems to be of an English type so we would be looking for a soldier who spent sometime in England and possibly served in France. If we could identify the battalion that he served with it should make identification easier.
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Old 08-04-15, 10:52 AM
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Private Douglas Grant, first enlisted in 1916 but discharged due to indigenous regulations. Re-enlisted into the 15th Bn AIF. POW, Bullecourt 1917. RTA 1919.
Cheers Scotch
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Old 08-04-15, 11:10 AM
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Private Douglas Grant, first enlisted in 1916 but discharged due to indigenous regulations. Re-enlisted into the 15th Bn AIF. POW, Bullecourt 1917. RTA 1919.
Cheers Scotch
Wow, that is mind blowing. Could I please ask the source of the information? I can look him up on the NAA website but is there photographic evidence that confirms his identity? Were there other Aboriginal Australians in the 15th Btn?

Thank you again,

Simon
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Old 08-04-15, 11:31 AM
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Are we talking about 6020 Pte Douglas Grant of 132 Albion Street, Annandale, N.S.W.?
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  #9  
Old 08-04-15, 11:48 AM
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I have now read his papers and found a photograph of him as a younger man with his foster parents. His service papers confirm that he spent time in England and I am pleased to note that he was awarded a pension.

The photograph below was borrowed from the Australian War Memorial site but I will repay their kindness by sending them a copy of my photograph.
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File Type: jpg Grant.jpg (17.4 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg Well 014.jpg (53.1 KB, 17 views)

Last edited by High Wood; 08-04-15 at 02:25 PM. Reason: Adding photographs.
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Old 08-04-15, 11:49 AM
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abc.net.au, We Will Remember Them.

Known indigenous members of the 15th Bn,

2294 Edward Maynard KIA 8/8/15

2796 Norman Priestly

1359 Richard Martin, Gallipoli 15th Bn, France & Belgium 47th Bn, KIA 28/3/18

I'm sure there are more.

Cheers Scotch
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  #11  
Old 08-04-15, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Wood View Post
He might be but prior to the Great War immigration to Australia was mainly from those of white European descent.
There was an Afghan community in Australia from the 1860s, and some of them married Aboriginal women.

I am not saying that this man was one of the children of such a marriage, but it might be worth seeing if any such enlisted.

There was at least one case of a couple of Afghans opening fire on Australian civilians at Broken Hill, once Turkey was involved in WW1.

There was an interesting two part programme on these "Afghan Cameleers" on the BBC World Service recently:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02mnn26#auto
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Old 08-04-15, 09:03 PM
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Some interesting stuff here too:

http://indigenoushistories.com/2013/...l-when-needed/

http://alh-research.tripod.com/ab_LH.htm

http://blogs.slq.qld.gov.au/ww1/2014...s-for-the-aif/

http://www.anzacwebsites.com/traditi...ginals-ww1.htm
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Old 23-04-15, 04:10 PM
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I came across this today.

"World War One's forgotten Anzacs: The Indigenous Army"


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-32281865
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  #14  
Old 24-04-15, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWEF View Post
There was an Afghan community in Australia from the 1860s, and some of them married Aboriginal women.

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Many moons ago I worked on a station in WA and one of the aboriginal stockman told me one of his grandmothers had married an Afghan cameleer.
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