Air force honours brothers
Five indigenous brothers who served in World War II were commemorated at a ceremony at Whim Creek Memorial last Tuesday.
Arnold, Edgar, Albert, Elliott and Eric Lockyer grew up in the Whim Creek area and served their nation in the army and in the air force.
The memorial was led by Royal Australian Air Force personnel, who had been travelling through the region as part of an exercise called Kummundoo, delivering free dental services to students in Roebourne.
On July 5, the story of Arnold Lockyer was chosen from the Roll of Honour to be read at the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra for NAIDOC Week celebrations.
His aircraft was shot down over Indonesia on July 27, 1945, but after parachuting to safety, he and two other crewmen were captured by Japanese forces.
He was killed at age 30 a short time later, along with the other surviving crew members.
Speaking at the site last week, Flight Lieutenant Luke Pitt said the men joined at a time when indigenous people were socially, economically, and politically disadvantaged. “This is a significant site because we have five brothers from the same family,” he said.
“The defence force was the nation’s first equal opportunity employer, providing a beacon of hope for indigenous people seeking a fair go in a white Australia.”
Ann Sibosado, one of Albert Lockyer’s seven children, described her father as a quiet man, who spent a lot of time out in the bush. She said it often became a struggle for her mother as Albert was away from home about seven months of the year.
George Pitt, Edgar Lockyer’s son-in-law, said it was a privilege for the air force to visit the site.
He said the five brothers had learnt a wide range of hands-on skills from working on many pastoral stations in the Pilbara region.
The Pilbara Regiment conducts an annual service in honour of the Lockyer brothers on Anzac Day to commemorate the sacrifice and contributions made by indigenous service personnel to Australia.
Lockyer family members George Pitt and Ann Sibosado with air force personnel Sheryl McPherson, Hannah Sunasky, Luke Pitty, Mick Enchong, Jen Feng, Brooke Marshall and Craig Barrett.