Saturday, December 3, 2016

Licey Brothers: WW1

badgeaifww1Ernest Licey

Serial Number and Rank: 6085, Private
Birth:  19 June 1895 Aboriginal Camp Ulladulla
Bap:  1 September 1895 St Peters & St Paul Milton
Parents:  Louis/Lewis Licey/Lacey & Emily Johnson. Both parents Aboriginal
Enlisted – Service
1. 11 March 1916 served with the 56th Battalion at Goulburn, medical discharged
2. 14 August 1916, served with 17th Battalion
Next of Kin:  1916: Mo. Emily Lacey Surry Hills. 1918: Fa. Surry Hills
Death:  1 September 1957 Nowra
RTA 4 June 1917 HMAS Runic (invaliding in Australia for Home Service) and was medically discharged on 12 August 1917 and re-enlisted in September 1918 Liverpool.
Honour Rolls:  None
Notes: 1918 Living at Corrimal Wollongong
1930 Living at Nowra
1951 E J Lacy (sic) Wreck Bay NSW
Sources:  War service record held in author’s archives. Digital copy held by the Australian National Archives

Ernest and his brother Louis Licey, both were born at the Aboriginal Camp Ulladulla, sons of Louis Licey and his  wife Emily nee Johnson. The boys grew up around Ulladulla, both attended Ulladulla Public School and were both capable fishermen. Their father Louis Licey was a well know cricket bowler and has a special place in the history of Shoalhaven cricket, for his role in the association’s inaugural season of 1892-93, and the Cricket matches represent both Ulladulla and the South Coast well into the early 1900s.

Ernest was born in 1895, he was a Fisherman at Wreck Bay in 1913. He first enlisted in March 1916 into the 56th Battalion at Goulburn, he was medical discharged. Then in August 1916 he enlisted again into the 17th Battalion in Sydney with his brother Louis.  Ernest had been an apprentice Hatter to ‘Anderson’ at Surry Hills in 1916.

Returning from the war in June 1917 aboard HMAS Runic, medically discharged but again re-enlisted in September 1918 Liverpool. He lived at Corrimal and then moved back to Wreck Bay.

In September 1957, the  Nowra  sub-branch  of  the  R.S.L paid  their last  respects  to a veteran  of  World War  I,  in  the  person  of  Ernie  Licey,  a  member  of  the 17th  Battalion,  1st  A.I.F.,  who  has  been described  as Nowra’s  best  known  and  most  respected aboriginal. About 60 ex-servicemen attended the funeral in Nowra War Cemetery, which was carried out with full military honours, as was fitting. The casket was draped in a Union Jack on which was a Digger’s hat and reversed spurs. Recited as his graveside “We would like to remember the deceased as a young man, forgetting all colour of skin; he offered his life for his country along with the rest of Australia.”

Louis Licey

In 1916 Henry actually enlisted with his younger brother Louis Licey who was a glassworker.
Louis was born in 1898 at Aboriginal Camp Ulladulla, his mother Emily gave permission for Louis to enlist for active service.
Louis was noted as a ‘coloured lad’ on his enlistment papers.

Both Licey brothers served as privates with the 17th Battalion in France. Louis returned from active service in November 1919 and eventually lived at La Perouse.
Both Ernest and Louis received the Britain War medal for their war service.

In September 1957, the Nowra sub-branch of the R.S.L paid their last respects to a veteran of World War I, in the person of Ernie Licey, a member of the 17th Battalion, 1st A.I.F., who has been described as Nowra’s best known and most respected aboriginal. About 60 ex-servicemen attended the funeral in Nowra War Cemetery, which was carried out with full military honours, as was fitting. The casket was draped in a Union Jack on which was a Digger’s hat and reversed spurs. Recited as his graveside “We would like to remember the deceased as a young man, forgetting all colour of skin; he offered his life for his country along with the rest of Australia.”

In accordance with traditional laws often followed by Indigenous communities in Australia the mentioning of and photographs of deceased people may offend. Please note in this article there is mention of Aboriginal people who are deceased.

 

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