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Posts Tagged ‘war veterans’

I read the ABC website alot and recent read an article which i had overlook for almost 12 months, the interesting story is one about aboriginal war veterans Or atleast one of them.

You see my father used to tell me many stories about our ancestors, losts of those stories also contained stories about our grandfather and uncles that had what dad called “TERRORS” from the war. For many years aboriginal people including our war veterans have been shunned to the back and told to shut up so its good to see these sorts of information coming to light.

One particular story my dad spoke about was an uncle who’s name i will leave out who used to drink alot at the pubs, after a few beers out would come uncles stories about his travels in the war. These stories continued deep into the night, but one too many beers later and “THE TERRORS” would start. Uncle used to hear the bombs landing and also the yelling and screaming of i guess his friends Or maybe the enemy.

These “TERRORS” lead to uncle jumping or wrestling the nearest person to him to the ground and yelling “LOOK OUT”, or “SHUT UP THEY’LL HEAR YOU”.

The moral of the story is like so many aussie veterans, aboriginal veterans had terrible trauma after the wars and from what i know both colors had nowhere to turn once they got home. What a disgrace on our governments behalf? The good of this post is below, please read it it’s a lovely story about our ancestors and their heroic job of tunnelers.

Last year a grainy photo of an Aboriginal soldier who fought in World War I was published on ABC Online and in newspapers in a bid by a group of filmmakers to learn the man’s identity. All the filmmakers knew was that he was one of around 5,000 tunnellers who spent the war laying mines under German trenches on the Western Front.

Aboriginal war veteran named Herbet Murray - tunneller from the WWI

Aboriginal WWI

The mines were detonated to blow up the trenches overhead and create breaches in the front line which could then be exploited by conventional infantry attacks.

Now, for the first time, the Aboriginal soldier can be identified as Herbert Murray. Ross Thomas, who is involved in the Beneath Hill 60 film project, originally found the 1917 snapshot. It depicts seven men in slouch hats before they are sent into the tunnels, but does not name them.

It’s been haunting me for a number of years” Mr Thomas said.

Now an amateur historian in Canberra has found another photo of the same soldier that does have a name. ”The match is nigh on perfect and quite emotional to see that match” Mr Thomas said.

Sapper Murray, from Victoria, may have been the only tunneller out of the 500 or so Aboriginal men who fought in World War I. Sapper Murray would have spent the war in cramped and perilous conditions underground, trying to break the deadlock on the Western Front. Historian Jonathan King says Australian tunnellers’ war efforts have been largely overlooked in favour of the men who fought in the trenches. ”They were the heroes because they were above ground and were easy to see” Mr King said.

The tunnellers were under the ground. Nobody quite realised what they were doing.“ The Australian War Memorial has tunnellers’ unit diaries, but there is little else to mark their contribution to the war. Mr Thomas says the tunnellers have largely been forgotten because of a political and military amnesia at the time.

It was the ungentleman-like way of fighting,” he said. ”This whole concept of tunnelling below the enemy lines and placing a charge wasn’t the honourable way of killing.“ Dr Peter Pederson, senior historian at the Australian War Memorial, says in proportion to the army as a whole, tunnellers represent a very small element.

Their work naturally was accompanied by very high security; the fewer people who knew about it the better and it just didn’t have the dash or the impact that a big attack above ground would have,” Dr Pederson said.

But most of the mine craters, the big mine craters, are still there. They’re an evocative reminder of what happened.

-Adapted from story read from ABC website