WWII he­roes

Sol­dier brothers hon­oured at ser­vice

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

A big crowd gath­ered at Whim Creek last Satur­day morn­ing to com­mem­o­rate the wartime hero­ics of an indigenous Pil­bara fam­ily whose coun­try was yet to fully ac­cept them as cit­i­zens.

The five Lock­yer brothers, Arnold, Edgar, El­liot, Eric and Al­bert, signed up to serve for Aus­tralia in World War II at a time when racial ten­sions were at an all-time high in the Pil­bara.

Elaine Clifton, de­scen­dent of El­liot Lock­yer, said she was proud and hum­bled by her vaunted an­ces­try.

“That was their call­ing in life be­cause they could have given up when they were fight­ing to be ac­cepted but they didn’t,” she said. “For us it’s a real hon­our to share our story and to ed­u­cate every­body.”

Mrs Lock­yer said all sol­diers, indigenous and non-indigenous with or with­out memo­ri­als de­served recog­ni­tion.

The brothers would have re­turned home to a land at the height of racial ten­sions; a turn­point for indigenous peo­ple in the Pil­bara as a war of another kind was brew­ing. Just one year af­ter the end of WWII came the ad­vent of the Pil­bara Strike, a two-year scrap where hun­dreds of indigenous sta­tion work­ers in the Pil­bara walked off the job in protest of poor pay and con­di­tions.

This was clear ev­i­dence that, de­spite black-and-white fight­ing along­side each other in armed com­bat, there was still a long way to go to stand be­side each other on our own soil.

The ser­vice was the 10th year the me­mo­rial had been held, with Pil­bara Reg­i­ment Lieu­tenant-Colonel Stu­art Purves pay­ing tribute to the ser­vices of all indigenous peo­ple in the armed forces at the meet.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

The Lock­yer fam­ily and mem­bers of the Pil­bara Reg­i­ment at the Lock­yer me­mo­rial at Whim Creek last Satur­day.

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