50 Aboriginal soldiers fought on Gallipoli | SBS News

50 Aboriginal soldiers fought on Gallipoli | SBS News – It’s thought 800-1000 indigenous soldiers served in Australian Imperial Force during WWI, with around 250-300 killed. That’s out of an estimated indigenous population of 80,000.

There are occasional pleasant surprises. One related to Lance Corporal Richard Kirby who served at Gallipoli, France and Belgium.

“The only reason he got to be known to us was a family member came to us and said `I’ve got some medals I’d like to give to the war memorial and there’s a DC something-or-other’,” Oakley said.

That was actually the Distinguished Conduct Medal, second only to the Victoria Cross.

With the medals came a newspaper cutting showing Kirby with an Aboriginal woman. She, the relatives said, was his mum.

Kirby was awarded the DCM for a single-handed attack on an enemy machine gun post in France in August 1918. He took a bullet wound to the head, from which he died a week later.

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