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Aboriginals at the Western Front
Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders who served on the Western Front and elsewhere (but not at Gallipoli) during World War 1
(Soldiers who served at Gallipoli as well are shown on our Aboriginals at Gallipoli and Gallipoli lists pages.)

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that these pages contain images and names of deceased people as well as links to pages containing such material.

Douglas GRANT
Reginald Francis HAWKINS
LOCK family
Miller MACK
Herbert MURRAY
Frederick PRENTICE
William PUNCH
William WILLIAMS (Cobar Bill)
Also on this page:

Aboriginal nurse
Castles, William William Castles ( Castles (
Aboriginal Darug soldier of World War 1. (The Darug people lived in the area that is now Sydney, NSW.)
Cunningham, Sydney S. CunninghamSydney Cunningham (
Driver Sydney Moses Cunningham from Kogarah, NSW.
Dalton, Horace Horace Dalton (
Trooper Horace Thomas Dalton from Queensland joined the 11th Light Horse Regiment and served in Suez, Egypt.

Aboriginal soldier officially recognised 50 years after death ( 1 Oct 2012
Aboriginal World War 1 soldier Horace Dalton who had been buried in an unmarked grave has been officially recognised. The report includes a video extract from an ABC television bulletin.

First Nations war heroes 'vanished' from the Anzac legend ( 21 April 2014
Horace Dalton was so keen to fight for his country that he lied about his age, but when he retrurned to Australia he faced racism and inequality like so many others.

Grant, Douglas Douglas Grant (Image: Styate Library NSW)Douglas Grant (
Scroll down. Indigenous Australian and draughtsman Douglas Grant was wounded in France during World War 1, then captured by the Germans and sent to a different prisoner-of-war camp than his fellow soldiers because of his colour.

Aboriginal Soldier: Story of Douglas Grant [pdf] (
Reproduction of a news story from the Sydney Morning Herald dated 2 Sep 1916. Douglas Grant was at first refused permission to leave Australia to fight overseas on the grounds he was Aboriginal.

Bust of Douglas GRant (Image: Tom Murray, The Conversation)New Statue of Douglas Grant tracked down ( 5 Jun 2019
After a long search, a bronze bust of Douglas Grant has been found in England, academics Tom Murray and Hilary Howes report on The Conversation website.

Private Douglas Grant (
A photograph containing Douglas Grant, along with notes about his time in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

Douglas Grant (Image: ABC)Douglas Grant: image (
Another photograph of Douglas Grant.

Hawkins, Reginald Francis Studio portrait of Private Reginald Francis Hawkins (
Private Hawkins, from Jericho, Queensland, was taken prisoner-of-war by the Germans after being injured while fighting in France, but he eventually returned to Australia.

Private Reginald Francis Hawkins
Service and basic details. (Was he called just "Francis Hawkins"?)
Lock family
Jerome Locke Olga Locke Leslie John (Jack) Locke
The Lock Family of NSW (
Nine members of the Lock (also spelt Locke) family of NSW (from the Darug people of the Sydney area) volunteered for and fought in World War 1, including Jerome Locke and his sons Olga and Leslie John (Jack).

Mack, Miller Miller MackPrivate Miller Mack's 'spirit' to return home ( 11 Nov 2016
Private Miller Mack joined the A.I.F. in 1915 but caught tuberculosis while fighting in France. He died in 1919 aged 25 after he had returned to South Australia. However, as in the case of many Aboriginal soldiers, a decent effort to show respect for his war effort and his short life only occurred in recent years.

Family returns WW1 vetaran Private Miller Mack to home town of Raukkan (
25 Mar 2017
Miller Mack's modern day family members have brought him back to his home ground to be buried.

Indigenous serviceman Private Miller Mack's remains "repatriated" for burial on country ( 3 Apr 2017
The story and photos of Miller Mack's recent reinternment (reburial). You can listen to an interview with his grand-niece, Michelle Lovegrove.

Private Miller Mack (
Basic information about Private Miller Mack and his war service.

Aboriginal digger Miller Mack equal in courage, but not in society ( 1 Aug 2014
Equality as a soldier but inequality as a citizen was a commons story for Aboriginals.

Murray, Herbert Herbert MurrayHerbert Murray - Mystery solved: WW1 Aboriginal digger named (
An Aboriginal soldier working as a tunneller on the Western Front has been identified as Herbert Murray..

Research reveals a piece of Victorian history (
Producers of the film Beneath Hill 60 have named Herbert Murray from East Gippsland in Victoria as the mystery digger in a photograph of Australian soldiers in 1917.

The Murray brothers [pdf] (
Aboriginal Worlds War 1 soldiers and brothers Herbert and William Murray are remembered by the Moreland (Victoria) community.

Prentice, Frederick Indigenous WW1 veteran Frederick Prentice Frederick Prentice(
Frederick Prentice was born in the Northern Territory but enlisted in South Australia in 1915. After the war he returned with a Military Medal to South Australia and in the 1950s moved back to the Northern Territory.

Frederick Prentice (
Information about Private Frederick Prentice.

Found: Photograph of Frederick Prentice 1915 ( 24 Dec 2014
Locating a photograph of Frederick Prentice helped to bring his story alive.

Punch, William Private William Joseph Punch (
Originally from Queensland but enlisted from Goulburn, NSW. Private Punch was wounded twice in action and was evacuated to England where he died.

Private William Joseph Punch: story (
Provides the brief story of Aboriginal station hand William Joseph Punch who enlisted on 31 December 1915 to fight in World War 1 and died on 29 August 1917.
- This information is followed by activities for research and discussion.

Thorpe, Harry Corporal Harry Thorpe (
Born at the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Mission Station, Victoria. Fought in France 1916-18. Corporal Thorpe is buried in France a few kilometres from where he fell.
Williams, William William Williams (
William WilliamsWilliam was also known as 'Cobar Bill'. Cobar walked almost 300 kilometres to enlist in 1916. He received a gunshot wound at the Western Front and was made a prisioner-of-war by the Germans. It is believed only three Aboriginals althogether became POWs
during World War 1.Cobar died in Australia at the age of 70.

Descendant shares WW1 story of pioneering Aboriginal soldier William Williams ( 21 Apr 2016
Includes a photograph of an older William Williams with students at Murrin Bridge School.

Black Anzacs (
Free ibook to download which uses the story of William Williams. A pdf flyer provides further information.

Collections of tales Black Magic (From, archived by the NLA's Pandora Archive on 6 Mar 2010)
Examples of Aboriginals who participated in Australian wars.

Aboriginal Diggers (From, archived by the NLA's Pandora Archive on 6 Mar 2010)
World War 1 soldiers include Corporal Harry Thorpe, Private S. Cunningham, Private William Joseph Punch, Private Reginald Francis Hawkins.

Thomas Edward Mansell (photo from The Mercury)Tales of illegal heroes (
Originally published in The Mercury (Tasmania), 9 Nov 2012

[The original web page is no longer available.]
Tasmanian Indigenous troops in World War 1. This newspaper story provides information about Lt Alfred John Hearps from Forth and Private Marcus Blake Norman Brown from Cape Barren Island, and includes a long list of soldiers. The image at right is of Private Thomas Edward Mansell.
See also More Tasmanian Aboriginal Soldiers WW1 (

Lest We Forget: Remembering the Aboriginal Heroes of World War 1 [pdf] (
Reconciliation News, Issue No. 32, April 2015
In a section titled Lest We Forget, this downloadable magazine provides information about:
- Private George Robert Aitken (p. 9)
- Private William Allen Irwin (p. 9)
- The Locke family (p. 10):
   - Private Jerome Locke
   - Private Olga Locke and Private Leslie Locke
- Private Richard Martin (p. 10)
- 2nd Lieutenant Alfred John Hearps (p. 11)
- Private William Joseph Punch (p. 11)


John Huggins (grandfather of Jackie Huggins):
Remembrance Day Commemorative Address by Dr Jackie Huggins (
Dr Jackie Huggins describes the parts played by her Indigenous grandfather (John Huggins) and father (also called John Huggins) in the First and Second World Wars respectively.

Aboriginal nurse

Marion Leane Smith (Image: SBS)Marion Smith: See our Women in wartime page.

Anzac Kids



See also

Aboriginals and war
Aboriginals in World War 2
Aboriginals in war: Issues
Anzacspirit and legend





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