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Aboriginals in World War 2
Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in World War 2

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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.

Aboriginal participation in WW2
Well-known Aboriginal soldiers of WW2: Reg Saunders and Len Waters
Torres Strait Islanders
Rolls of Honour

  Aboriginals and war: issues
Aboriginal participation in WW2

Indigenous service (Australia's War 1939-1945) (

Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian Defence Force (
From the Australian War Memorial encyclopedia section.

Page with photograph of conscripted Aboriginal soldiers (
At a training camp in Australia during World  War 2. (Click on image.) From the State Library of South Australia.
If the page appears to be unavailable, go to the SA Memory main page and search for "Aboriginal men and women in the armed services".

Indigenous Histories: WW2 category (
Blog entries about Aboriginal soldiers in World War 2:
- Black Rats: Aboriginal soldiers at the Siege of Tobruk. Includes a poem inspired by Wiradjuri soldier Cecil Clayton.
- Jan 'Kabarli' James' Aboriginal Soldiers of Western Australia


Well-known Aboriginal soldiers of World War 2  

Captain Reg Saunders

Captain Reginald Walter (Reg) Saunders MBE (
Reginald Saunders - Australia's first Aboriginal commissioned officer..

Captain Reg Saunders (
(Scroll down.) Short biography, followed by the poem "Black Anzac" written by Cecil Fisher.

Reginald Walter Saunders (
Short biography of Captain Reg Saunders, with photographs.

Captain Reg Saunders (
Short biography and photographs, part of Memorial Box 3.

Reg Saunders (Wikipedia)
Australia's first Aboriginal commissioned officer.

Indigenous servicemen: their contribution (
Makes special reference to Captain Reg Saunders.

Black AIF officer weds WAAF [pdf] (
A newspaper story from 1944 reporting on Reg Saunders' marriage to a WAAF (a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force) but also referring to his army contribution and family background.

Indigenous Anzacs [pdf] (
This ABC Behind the News activity sheet includes suggested research questions on Captain Reginald Saunders.


Len Waters, fighter pilot

Black Magic (
The story of aircraftman Leonard Victor Waters, Australia's only Aboriginal fighter pilot of World War 2.

Flt Sergeant Len Waters (Black Magic) (
Short biography of Len Waters. 'Black Magic' was the name of his Kittyhawk fighter aircraft.

Len Waters (
Len Waters was the first Aboriginal Australian military aviator.

Black Magic (From, archived by the NLA's Pandora Archive on 6 Mar 2010)
See the first item for information on Sergeant Len Waters.

Park with plaque (
In memory of Australia's first Aboriginal fighter pilot, Len Waters.


Torres Strait Islanders

"One ilan man": the Torres Strait Light Infantry (Australian War Memorial)
The story of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion.

Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion (Wikipedia)

Island Defenders (
History of the participation of Torres Strait Islanders in the armed services.

Torres Strait Islanders [pdf] (
By Anna Shnukal. See "World War II" (pages 9-10) which refers to the extraordinarily high participation of Islanders in the defence Forces in World War II and the efforts by the Queensland government to prevent them them being paid fairly.

Rolls of honour Indigenous Australians at War: Honour Roll (
Scroll down for a partial list Aboriginal soldiers who died in World War 2.

Aboriginal prisoners of war (WW2) (
Twelve soldiers are in this list of World War Two Aboriginal prisoners of war.


Tributes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Servicemen [pdf] (Archived pdf from
Speeches in the NSW Parliamenton 29 April 1994 paying tribute to World War 2 Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander servicemen. (Alternative source: Archive location.)
More Aboriginal Diggers (
Information about several Aboriginal men who served in World War 2 (and, at the bottom, a few who served in World War 1). Note that the material appears to have been taken mostly from other sources such as the Australian War Memorial website. (Archived version.)


Anzac Kids



See also

Aboriginals and war
Aboriginals in World War 1
Aboriginals in war: Issues
Aboriginal women and war
Anzac spirit and legend





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