Air force hon­ours brothers

North West Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Sophia Con­stan­tine

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.

Pic­ture: Sophia Con­stan­tine

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.

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