The list of men of Aboriginal descent who served and in some cases lost their lives at Gallipoli, compiled by David Huggonson and posted on 29 March 2014, contains the names of 32 men. A further name was added after I was contacted by the niece of Tasmanian Alfred John Hearps. Since then the Gallipoli service of twenty more men has been found bringing the total to 55. There are likely to be more. In fact a number of others are said to have served at Gallipoli but it has not been possible to locate a service record for the men in question. In yet other cases confirmation that men suggested as serving in this campaign were in fact of Indigenous heritage has been impossible to locate. I have found too, because of its iconic place in Australian military history and the national consciousness, that families whether Indigenous or non Indigenous who know that one of their members served in World War One, are often apt to assume it was at Gallipoli – when research can show that an individual’s service, was actually in the equally challenging conditions of the Western Front.
The list as it now stands appears below. Names I have added to David Huggonson’s original list are shown with an asterisk. Details of the service of these men can be found in their service records, digitised on the website of the National Archives of Australia. The place name after each service number is place of birth. All men listed here are either named in the referenced listing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF: The Indigenous Response to World War One or will appear in a forthcoming edition. Why is it important to draw attention to these men? It’s because Aboriginal war service was ignored for so long and because showing the presence of Indigenous men in this campaign is one way of incorporating (but not assimilating) Indigenous service into the story of Australian military history and the history of Australia.
Some Men of Aboriginal Descent Who Served at Gallipoli
Compiler DAVID HUGGONSON 2014
BINDOFF, Edgar George 1720, Sydney, New South Wales
BOLTON, Alfred Frederick 682, Windsor, New South Wales
BURKE, James Ernest 529, New South Wales *
CAMERON, Alfred 1173, Meningie, South Australia
CROUGH, Kenneth 1125, Warrnambool, Victoria
DICKERSON, James 392, Gin Gin, Western Australia
DRURY, Albert Matthew 863, New South Wales *
FARMER, Larry 62, Katanning, Western Australia
FARMER, Lewis 421, Katanning, Western Australia
GOLDSPINK, William 2172, Tumbarumba, New South Wales *
HARRIS, William 2538, Wellington New South Wales *
HEARPS, Alfred John,  2nd Lieutenant, Forth, Tasmania *
HOLT, Harold John 2289, Launceston, Tasmania *
HOMER, Arthur Charles 115, Bathurst, New South Wales *
HUTCHINS, Charles 307, Busselton, Western Australia
JACKSON, William John 1952, Bunbury, Western Australia
JOHNSON, Cyril Allen, 1340, Sheffield, Tasmania *
JOHNSON, Jack Roy, 1867, (served as John Rollins) Warrnambool, Victoria *
JOHNSON, Vernon Phillip, 2225, Sheffield Tasmania *
KARPANY, George 3502, East Wellington, South Australia
KELLY, Alfred William 590, Macksville, New South Wales
KIRBY, Richard Norman 2305, Dubbo, New South Wales *
LAVENDER, Andrew 285, Wellington, New South Wales *
LOCKE, Henry James 532, Waterloo, New South Wales *
MARTIN, Richard 1359, Brisbane, Queensland
MASON, Allan 1962, New South Wales *
MAYNARD, Edward 2294, Flinders Island, Tasmania
MAYNARD, Frank 1153, Flinders Island, Tasmania
MAYNARD, Leo 3992, Flinders Island, Tasmania
MCCALLUM, Arthur Edward 165, Albany, Western Australia
MCDONALD, Allan 764, Condah, Victoria
MILLER, John William 1227, Peppermint Bay, Tasmania
MUCKRAY, Hurtle 757, East Wellington, South Australia
NALEY, Charles Gordon 1310, Eucla, Western Australia
OLSEN, Andrew 736, Toowong, Queensland
OWEN, Frank Edgar 4193, Wallaroo, South Australia *
PATTERSON, Hurtle Austin 34, Townsville, Queensland
PERFECT, Joseph 200, Rockhampton, Queensland
PRIESTLY, Norman 2786, Gordonbrook Station, New South Wales
REID, John Patrick 2195 Cooma, New South Wales *
ROBINS, Alfred Arthur 1426, Junee, New South Wales
ROWAN, John 1506, Healesville, Victoria
SAYERS, Frederick Leslie 1042, Busselton, Western Australia *
SHAW, Claude 2413, Gin Gin, Western Australia *
SIMPSON, Stamford Wallace 687, Kangaroo Island, South Australia *
SKELLY, William 2933, Mount Hope New South Wales *
SLOANE, John 783, Forbes, New South Wales
SMITH, Leonard Gilmore 1303, Norwood, South Australia
STAFFORD, Charles Fitzroy 190, Mudgee New South Wales *
STOW, Albert Edward, 2162, Dungog, New South Wales
THOMPSON, Albert Victor 1644, Perth, Western Australia *
TRIPP, Hubert Frank 1428, Victor Harbour, South Australia
WALKER, Arthur Thomas 2466, Wallaroo, South Australia
WALLER, Charles Stephen 1337, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
WRIGHT, Alfred 2017, Nyngan, New South Wales *
ZEISSER, Peter 168 Sydney, New South Wales *
Philippa Scarlett 27 May 2014
Thank you to Peter Bakker for pointing out the service of Simpson and Thompson
I’m so happy to see my great uncle Charles Fitzroy Stafford acknowledged here . Thank you Philippa
James Ernest Burke, 5th light horse ser.no 529 served and was wounded at Gallipoli He went on to Palistine Her became sergeant and came home but died in 1928. he married my aunt in Mitchell Q. I don’t know alot about him but he was well thought of. He was first in to find the bodies of a slain policeman and station manager in the carnavon ranges in the Kennif murders. he also made Sergeant in the light horse.and he was awarded a military medal. Makes my mind boggle.he definitely deserves recognition.as do they all. Noel Clanchy.
Lance Corporal Richard Norman Kirby DCM, (Service No. 2305) 20 Infantry Battalion, another Aboriginal soldier that served at Gallipoli on the last month before the evacuation.
Thank you Damien. Richard Kirby is one of three brothers who served in WW1 and is already on the list of Aboriginal men who served at Gallipoli. I believe his medals have been donated to the Australian War Memorial
You welcome Just seen his name then lol, Do you also do studying of Aborginals in the 2nd World War?
Phillipa, thank you for your work. I have a question regarding Alfred John Hearps. The letters found on the Red Cross Missing files and the AWM service records indicate that Alfred John Hearps was the only son of Alfred and Eva Hearps from Tasmania. There is an Alfred Hearps (married to Eva Russell) who are descendent of Dolly Dalrymple in Tassie, however according to some family trees which I have found online, they had 3 children but no Alfred. Is there a major coincidence that there is another Alfred and Eva Hearps in Tassie of aboriginal descent but not from the Dalrymple line or is there something more the discover here? Just trying to confirm the connection absolutely since my great, great grandmother was sister to Alfred Hearps.
Thankyou for your comment Joe. My source is the comment from Ann Rutter on my original post https://indigenoushistories.com/2014/03/29/gallipoli-aboriginal-men-who-were-there/. She is Alfred Hearps’ great niece A second source is Andrea Gerrard from the University of Tasmania. Alfred Hearps’ name was published in the Hobart Mercury on 9th November 2012 in an article based on Mrs Gerrard’s research. Perhaps Ann Rutter and Mrs Gerrard can help. I am not an expert in Tasmanian Aboriginal history but have found in NSW at least that some children of marriages are not always recorded in BDM registrations. I would be interested to learn second more about this soldier’s ancestry.
Are you a relative of Ida West whose book Pride Against Prejudice is such a valuable resource and important statement?
Did you manage to get in touch with Anne? I am related to Anne and also to Alfred Hearps and have been doing some research on our line through dolly dalrymple. You’re right, some of the family trees online are different. Alfred Eric Hearps and Eva Russell had 3 children – Alfred John Hearps (in this list), Daphne and Jean (my great grandmother). I would love to find out more about your connections to this line. You can contact me at Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org
I noticed that you had problems locating some of the men’s service record. One reason for this is that they may have given a false name on enlistment. There is quite a good list of Aliases for the WW1 digger produced by the AIF ADFA project, but it is a little hard to find
The ADFA list, like the 1995 Neil Smith list published as What’s in a Name by Mostly Unsung is in many cases not so much an alias list or list of false names, as a record of name variations . Aboriginal Vincent Watley for example listed by ADFA may have used this spelling because he did not know how to spell his surname. It is recorded as both Wortley and Wartley in his brothers’ attestations but is usually spelled Wortley by this family. It is good to have these lists but they have not solved any problems for me yet.
Dear Philippa, Every time I find an Alias, where a man enlisted under a false name, I send an Email to Peter Dennis, with a link to the service record with both the real name and the false name. Regards John
Sent from my iPad
Are you aware of Lance Corporal George Karpany being recommended for the Victoria Cross during WW1? But instead to Victoria Cross was given to the Officer he rescued instead of him.
I wasn’t aware of this. If true there should be documentation perhaps at AWM or elsewhere. I unsuccessfully checked AWM Honours and Awards. This can show recommendations as well as actual awards. Sometimes a man was recommended for one award but received a lesser one. It seems odd that he received nothing at all when a number of Aboriginal men were mentioned in despatches and received MMs and DSMs. Doreen Kartinyeri makes no mention of this in Ngarindjerri Anzacs. Perhaps Jack Pearson who has written recently on SA men can comment. Where did you hear this story and what year (and actual date) and campaign was it said to refer to? NB Karpany is sometimes spelled Carpany. Pinning the details down could be a good way of getting to the truth. The unit war diary could help and the name of the non Aboriginal man who was decorated instead.
Yeah cause you look at both Australia and Canada military history they are the only 2 commonwealth countries to not give their First Nations Soldiers the Victoria Cross which is the 2 countries National Shame.
It’s in the book Ngarindjerri ANZACS & the facebook page Black ANZAC.
I have checked Ngarrindjeri Anzacs and cannot see this information – can you tell me the page number Damien ?
The face book page BLACK ANZAC – the documentary it says page 17 – The Hero Who Didn’t Get The Victoria Cross.
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I could not make out from Black Anzac the details of the publication. The story may well be true but it would be helpful to have more documentation. It is also strange that Doreen Kartinyeri did not mention it. Other Aboriginal men were mentioned in despatches, awarded Military Medals and three received the DCM. In some cases it has been suggested that Aboriginal men received lesser awards than they should have – this is also a suggestion made about non Indigenous soldiers. I am unsure of why the gallantry of Karpany was not recognised with a lesser award. I do hope more research into this takes place – starting with the description of the incident in Bean and the name of the man who actually received the VC.
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Hi I am looking for descendants of Charles Hutchins 307 28th Bn from Busselton WA, I’m a descendant of the Harris family Ann and Arthur Harris and researching our Military history as my Mum ( Ella May Thompson WF41865 Private) was in the 5 Australian Advanced Workshop. I have found 16 soldiers out of the Forever Warriors book.
I am looking for relatives of Allan McDonald from Condah who is mentioned in this list. My grandmother, a McDonald, was born at Condah in the 1890s. I know nothing else about her family as she was raised by others from the age of six. She never spoke about the reasons for this to my mum, or about the people who raised her so her history was a complete mystery to her own children. She did tell me that she had good memories of playing down by the river with Aboriginal children, and told me a few words of an Aboriginal language. She was very proud of my son, whose father is an Aboriginal man whose parents were from Broome (father) and Darwin (mother), and he was the only one of all her grandchildren whose photo she had on display in the nursing home she lived in for the last five years of her life. My son was about two when the photo was taken and wearing a big hat with the land rights badge on it.
“Men from Warangesda or with Warangesda connections volunteered for World War One. James Smith, Walter Bright, Joe Gotch, Thomas Lyons, Tom and Dick McGuinness, Alex Little, Arthur Weston, Allan Gowans, David Kennedy and John Heland all volunteered for service with the first AIF as did John and Duncan Ferguson, two sons of William Ferguson. David Kennedy over 40 years old, John Heland and Duncan Ferguson did not serve overseas, Dick McGuinness lost his life. The others returned to Australia, in Walter Bright’s case after a period in a German prisoner of war camp. John Ferguson was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry”
My Name is Noelle Kennedy, i am looking to get more information of “David Kennedy”
Hi Noelle Can you tell me which Kennedy family you belong to? There are Aboriginal Victorian Kennedys, Yass Kennedys. Ivanhoe Kennedys, Cowra Kennedys and Hillston Kennedys and they are basically not related. I would be happy to give you more information. You can email me at email@example.com.
Hi, do you have any information on Joseph John Blunt or his brother Charles Henry Blunt. Their father is marked as being a “native of Beaudesert” their agestation papers have them listed as having “dark complexion” “dark” eyes “brown” hair.
Joseph was confirmed by comrads as being of “dark” complexion when he died in an air raid attack in Belgium.
I called the AIF ADFA project and question them about their source for listing their father as being “native”. I was told that it did not mean they were aboriginal and that there were no serving aboriginal soldiers back then. Which I know is false. After my phone call, their AIF profile was changed. I believe to try and remove the “native component”. When this was done they also did a disservice to their mother by replacing her surname with the incorrect name. At the time of their death she was remarried and named “weass” but they changed it to blunt.
Due to the fact that during my phone call I never mentioned Chalers Henry Blunt, his profile remains the same but his brothers does not.
Can you shed a light on this????
There is a typo in my above message. Their mothers surname was Wease
Dear Stephanie, I’ll have a look. I notice that Joseph John Blunt has scars on his shins and head. This is often the way cicatrix is described on enlistment papers. Best wishes John
Thanks for having a look. Yes I was wondering about the scars too. His son enrolled in wwii and he has similar scars and description on his agestaton papers. The lady in the below comments said she found papers to say both were English immigrants. I’m not sure. Any help would be appreciated. I’d like to find out more one way or another. There was talk in the family that someone was of Aboriginal decent. So not sure if it’s them or someone else. Thank in advance for your help.
I have looked into the Blunt family and the parents of these two soldiers, Mark Blunt and Sarah Ann Shirley, were both born in England and emigrated to Australia in the 1870s, This rules their sons out as Aboriginal. Many non-Aboriginal men have similar descriptions to theirs on their service records, so description is a poor guide to Aboriginality on its own. It is also true that the term “native” is commonly used to refer to someone born in a particular location and, used in that context, it does not mean that someone was of Aboriginal descent. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org If you send me your email address, I will send you a copy of my research.
I have sent you an email. Thanks