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The Black Diggers of Logan project commemorates the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander diggers who fought in World War I alongside their comrades despite not being officially counted as people of their own nation.
In Black Diggers of Logan, you can explore the stories of four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander serviceman. Meet Valentine Hare, Jack Pollard and the Watego brothers George and Murray through stories told by their descendants who live in Logan.
These projects were made possible with funding by the Queensland Anzac Centenary Grants Program.
Stories from the descendants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen
Pte Watego arrived on the western front in early 1917, joining the 26th Battalion in time to play a role in the Second Battle of Bullecourt.
Following the Somme, the battalion was involved in action at Menin Road and Brooseinde Ridge in September and October 1917.
During this action, Pte Watego sustained a gunshot wound and was taken to hospital. He survived and made his way back to England.
By late 1917, Pte Watego was released and repatriated to Australia on the Balmoral Castle, coincidently on the same voyage as his brother Murray. Upon return to Australia in early 1918, George was discharged from the army due to his injuries.
Enlisting one year and one day after the Gallipoli landings, Murray Watego arrived in the western front in late March 1917.
His unit played a supporting role in action at Messines Ridge, and was later tasked with constructing new defences in full view of enemy forces. In what became known as the 18 days, the battalion completed its tasks under constant shelling and machine gun fire.
The battalion avoided the carnage at Passchendaele, but Murray's war wasn't over. By the end of October 1917, he had been diagnosed with shell shock, an early name for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was repatriated to Australia, returning to Australia on the Balmoral Castle with his brother in early 1918.
Pte Hare joined the 2nd Light Horse in Egypt in August 1917, serving as a member of the Egypt Expeditionary Force (EEF).
He probably served in the Battle of Beersheba, taking part in manoeuvres that led to the Charge of the Light Brigade to take the town of Beersheba. Wounded following the Battle of Amman in April 1918, Pte Hare was repatriated to Australia later that year.
Pte Pollard arrived in the Middle East at the start of 1918, in time to take part in the pursuit of the Ottoman Empire army along the River Jordan.
After chasing the retreating Ottomans along the River Jordan, the 11th Light Horse took part in the raid on Es Salt in Jordan. Following the raid, the 11th Light Horse were issued cavalry sabres and began training for a mounted raid, later known as the Battle of Samakh.
Pte Pollard was commanded by legendary Light Horse commander Harry Chauvel, and fought Ottoman troops commanded by Mustafa Kamaal Attaturk.
Following the signing of an armistice in late October, Pte Pollard remained in Egypt until June 1919, when the 11th were repatriated to Australia.