Licey Brothers: WW1
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
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.