BYRNE, Arthur

With his Mother’s permission, Arthur enlisted at Moree in January 1916. At the age of eighteen he had already served two years in the Cadets and was working as a Jockey.  Arthur was one of eighteen Moree district men who joined with the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs during their recruiting rally on the way from Inverell to the Narrabri Camp.

These men moved onto Armidale where Arthur became a member of the 33rd Battalion C Company which sailed from Sydney in May 1916.  After arriving in England, further training took place at Salisbury Plain before the Battalion was sent to France in November. In June 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery in the field’ and given ten days leave in England. He returned to his unit, was gassed in April 1918 and then received a gunshot wound to his hand four months later. Arthur was sent to Southwark Military Hospital in England and had a finger amputated.

He returned home to Australia in November 1918 and upon his arrival at Moree received a welcome at the Railway station with the band playing and a great crowd in attendance. At an official Welcome Home function he was presented with an inscribed leather suitcase.

Arthur's brothers Henry and Albert also enlisted during World War 1.  They are all  listed as Indigenous Soldiers in the publication 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF, The Indigenous Response to World War One' by Philippa Scarlett, third edition 2015.

Photo: Courtesy Sydney Mail Newspaper 3 October 1917