Arthur Blackburn

Brigadier Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, VC, CMG, CBE, ED, JP (25 November 1892 – 24 November 1960) was a soldier, lawyer, politician, and Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in battle that can be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces. Blackburn enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1914, soon after the outbreak of World War I, and along with the rest of the 10th Battalion, landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915. He and another scout from the battalion were credited with reaching the furthest inland on the day of the landing. Blackburn was later commissioned and, along with his battalion, spent the rest of the Gallipoli Campaign fighting Ottoman forces.

The 10th Battalion was withdrawn from Gallipoli in November 1915, and after re-organising and training in Egypt, sailed for the Western Front in late March 1916. It saw its first real fighting in France on 23 July during the Battle of Pozières. It was during this battle that Blackburn's action resulted in a recommendation for his award of the Victoria Cross (VC). Commanding 50 men, he led four separate sorties to drive the Germans from a strong point using hand grenades, capturing 370 yards (340 m) of trench. He was the first member of his battalion to be awarded the VC during World War I, and the first South Australian to receive the VC. He also fought in the Battle of Mouquet Farm in August, before being evacuated to the United Kingdom and then Australia suffering from illness. He was medically discharged in early 1917.

Blackburn returned to legal practice and pursued a part-time military career during the interwar period. He also briefly served as a member of the South Australian parliament. He led the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia in South Australia for several years, and was appointed the coroner for the city of Adelaide, South Australia. After the outbreak of World War II, Blackburn was appointed to command the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion of the Second Australian Imperial Force, and led it during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign in 1941, during which he personally accepted the surrender of Damascus. In early 1942, his battalion was withdrawn from the Middle East and played a role in the defence of Java in the Dutch East Indies from the Japanese. Captured, Blackburn spent the rest of the war as a prisoner-of-war. After he was liberated in 1945, he returned to Australia and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services on Java in 1942.

Following the war, Blackburn was appointed as a conciliation commissioner of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration until 1955, and in that year was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for his services to the community. He died in 1960 and was buried with full military honours in the Australian Imperial Force section of the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. His Victoria Cross and other medals are displayed in the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial.

Arthur Seaforth Blackburn
Arthur Blackburn J03069A
Captain A. S. Blackburn c. 1919
Born25 November 1892
Woodville, South Australia
Died24 November 1960 (aged 67)
Crafers, South Australia
Service/branchAustralian Army
Years of service1914–1917
Unit10th Battalion (1914–1916)
Commands held18th Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment (1939–1940)
2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion (1940–1942)
Blackforce (1942)
Battles/warsWorld War I

World War II

AwardsVictoria Cross
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
RelationsSir Richard Blackburn (son)
Sir Charles Blackburn (half-brother)
Other workMember for Sturt (1918–1921)
Commissioner of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration (1947–1955)

Early life

Arthur Seaforth Blackburn was born on 25 November 1892 at Woodville, South Australia. He was the youngest child of Thomas Blackburn, an Anglican canon and entomologist, and his second wife, Margaret Harriette Stewart, née Browne. Arthur was educated at Pulteney Grammar School, then St Peter's College, Adelaide and the University of Adelaide, where he completed a Bachelor of Laws in 1913, after being articled to C. B. Hardy.[1] He was admitted to the Bar on 13 December 1913. His half-brother, Charles Blackburn, became a prominent Sydney doctor, served in the Australian Army Medical Corps in World War I,[2] and later became a long-serving Chancellor of the University of Sydney. Their father died in 1912.[3] At the outbreak of World War I, Arthur was practising as a solicitor in Adelaide with the firm of Nesbit and Nesbit.[4]

World War I


On 19 August 1914,[5] aged 21, Blackburn enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and joined the 10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division. The 10th Battalion underwent initial training at Morphettville, South Australia, before embarking on the SS Ascanius at Outer Harbour on 20 October. Sailing via Fremantle and Colombo, the ship arrived at Alexandria, Egypt on 6 December, and the troops disembarked. They then boarded trains for Cairo where they made camp at Mena near the Great Pyramid of Giza on the following day, along with the rest of the AIF.[6] They remained at Mena undergoing training until 28 February 1915, when they entrained for Alexandria. They embarked on the SS Ionian on 1 March, and a few days later arrived at the port of Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos in the northeastern Aegean Sea, where they remained onboard for the next seven weeks.[7]

The 3rd Brigade was chosen as the covering force for the landing at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25 April.[8] The brigade embarked on the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the destroyer HMS Foxhound, and after transferring to strings of rowing-boats initially towed by steam pinnaces, the battalion began rowing ashore at about 04:30.[8][9] Blackburn was one of the battalion scouts, and one of the first ashore, landing from Prince of Wales.[2]

Australia's World War I official war historian, Charles Bean, noted there was strong evidence that Blackburn, along with Lance Corporal Philip Robin, probably made it further inland on the day of the landing than any other Australian soldiers whose movements are known, some 2,000 yards (1,800 m). The position which Blackburn and Robin reached was beyond the crest of a feature later known as "Scrubby Knoll", part of "Third (or Gun) Ridge", which was the ultimate objective of the 3rd Brigade covering force, of which it fell well short. Robin was killed in action three days after the landing.[2][10] Later in life, Blackburn was modest and retiring about his and Robin's achievement,[1] stating that it was "an absolute mystery" how they had survived, given the range at which they were being shot at and the men who were shot around them.[4]

Blackburn participated in heavy fighting at the landing;[2] by 30 April, the 10th Battalion had suffered 466 casualties.[11] He was soon promoted to lance corporal, and was placed in charge of the unit post office for one month shortly after his promotion. He was involved in subsequent trench warfare defending the beachhead, including the Turkish counter-attack of 19 May.[12] He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 4 August,[13] and appointed as a platoon commander in A Company.[2] By mid-September, the 10th Battalion had suffered a total of 711 casualties, 150 of whom had been killed.[14] Blackburn served at Anzac for the rest of the Gallipoli Campaign, until the 10th Battalion was withdrawn to Lemnos in November, and subsequently back to Egypt.[15] The unit underwent re-organisation in Egypt, and on 20 February 1916, Blackburn was promoted to lieutenant.[2][16] In early March, he was hospitalised for two weeks with neurasthenia.[17] The battalion sailed for France in late March, arriving in early April. By this time, Blackburn was posted to a platoon in D Company.[16][18]

Western Front

Mills N°5 MkI
A No.5 Mk I Mills bomb of the type used liberally during the Pozières fighting.[19]

Blackburn went on leave in France from 29 April to 7 May.[20] The 10th Battalion was committed to fighting on the Western Front in June, initially in a quiet sector of the front line. In the early hours of 23 July, the 10th Battalion was committed to its first real fighting during the Battle of Pozières. Initially, A Company under Captain Bill McCann were sent forward to assist the 9th Battalion, which was involved in a bomb (hand grenade) fight over the O. G. 1 trench system.[21][a] Held up by heavy machine gun fire and bombs, McCann, who had been wounded in the head, reported to the commanding officer (CO) of the 9th Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel James Robertson, that more help was needed. About 05:30, a detachment of 50 men from D Company of the 10th Battalion was then sent forward under Blackburn to drive the Germans out of a section of trench. Blackburn, finding that A Company had suffered heavy casualties, immediately led his men in rushing a barricade across the trench, which they were able to break down, and using bombs, they were able to push the Germans back. Beyond this point, preceding artillery bombardments had almost obliterated the trench, and forward movement was exposed to heavy machine gun fire.[23]

Blackburn, along with a group of four men, crawled forward to establish the source of the German machine gun fire, but all four of the men were killed, so he returned to his detachment. He went back to Robertson, who arranged support from trench mortars. Under the cover of this fire, Blackburn again went forward with some of his men, but another four were killed by machine gun fire. Another report to Robertson resulted in artillery support, and Blackburn was able to push forward another 30 yards (27 m) before being held up again, this time by German bombers. Under cover from friendly bombers, Blackburn and a sergeant managed to crawl forward to reconnoitre, establishing that the Germans were holding a trench that ran at right angles to the one they were in. Blackburn then led his troops in the clearing of this trench, which was about 120 yards (110 m) long. During this fighting, four more men were killed, including the sergeant, but Blackburn and the remaining men were able to secure the trench and consolidate. Having captured the trench, Blackburn made another attempt to capture the strong point that was the source of the machine gun fire, but lost another five men. He therefore decided to hold the trench, which he did until 14:00, when he was relieved.[4][24] For his actions that day, Blackburn was recommended for the award of the Victoria Cross,[25] the highest award for gallantry in battle that can be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces.[26]

Describing his actions in a letter to a friend, the normally retiring Blackburn said it was, "the biggest bastard of a job I have ever struck". In recommending him for the VC, his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stanley Price Weir, observed, "Matters looked anything but cheerful for Lieutenant Blackburn and his men, but Blackburn lost neither his heart nor his head".[4]

The 10th Battalion was relieved from its positions at Pozières in the late evening of 25 July, having suffered 327 casualties in three days.[27][28] Blackburn was temporarily promoted to the rank of captain on 1 August.[20] The battalion spent the next three weeks in rest areas, but returned to the fighting during the Battle of Mouquet Farm on 19–23 August, incurring another 335 casualties.[29][30] Following this battle, the 10th Battalion went into rest camp in Belgium,[31] and on 8 September, Blackburn reported sick with pleurisy and was evacuated to the 3rd London General Hospital. He relinquished his temporary rank upon evacuation, and was placed on the seconded list.[32][33] Blackburn's VC citation was also published on 8 September, and read:[34]

Arthur Blackburn P09747
Blackburn (second from left) and McCann (right) after receiving their awards at Buckingham Palace

For most conspicuous bravery. He was directed with fifty men to drive the enemy from a strong point. By dogged determination he eventually captured their trench after personally leading four separate parties of bombers against it, many of whom became casualties. In the face of fierce opposition he captured 250 yards of trench. Then, after crawling forward with a Serjeant to reconnoitre, he returned, attacked and seized another 120 yards of trench, establishing communication with the battalion on his left.

— The London Gazette, 8 September 1916

Blackburn was the first member of the 10th Battalion and first South Australian to be awarded the VC.[35][32] He was discharged from hospital on 30 September,[36] and attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 4 October to receive his VC from King George V. The same day, McCann received the Military Cross for his own actions at Pozières that immediately preceded those of Blackburn.[37][38] Blackburn embarked at Southampton for Australia onboard the hospital ship Karoola on 16 October for six months' rest, arriving home on 3 December.[35][39] He married Rose Ada Kelly at the St. Peter's College chapel on 22 March 1917;[b] they had two sons and two daughters.[35] Blackburn was discharged from the AIF on medical grounds on 10 April 1917.[1][41] In addition to his VC, Blackburn also received the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service in World War I.[42][43] His brothers Harry and John also served in the AIF during the war.[42]

Between the wars

Blackburn returned to legal practice, becoming a principal lawyer for the firm of Fenn and Hardy.[35] On 12 September 1917,[44] he was elected state president of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) in South Australia, of which he had been a founding member. He was involved in the 1917 Australian conscription referendum campaign, advocating in favour of conscription.[1] In early April 1918, Blackburn successfully contested the three-member House of Assembly seat of Sturt as a National Party candidate, and on 6 April he was elected first of the three with 19.2 per cent of the vote.[45] As a parliamentarian, Blackburn's speeches were generally about issues affecting those still serving overseas, as well as returned soldiers. A notable exception was his successful motion in favour of a profit-sharing system for industrial employees.[1] On 29 August 1918, he was appointed a justice of the peace.[35]

In January 1920, Blackburn was re-elected as state president of RSSILA.[46] In accordance with normal procedures, while serving in the AIF, Blackburn had been appointed an honorary lieutenant in the peacetime army, the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) on 20 February 1916 on the Reserve of Officers List.[c] This appointment was made substantive on 1 October 1920, still on the Reserve of Officers List.[35] Continuing to practice law while a member of Parliament made for a heavy workload, and Blackburn did not seek re-election in 1921. In the same year he relinquished his role as state president of RSSILA.[1]

On 30 October 1925, Blackburn was transferred as a lieutenant from the Reserve of Officers List to the part-time 43rd Battalion of the CMF. In the same year, along with McCann, he formed the legal firm Blackburn and McCann, continuing the association they had during the fighting at Pozières. On 21 February 1927, Blackburn was promoted to captain, still serving with the 43rd Battalion. He was transferred from the 43rd Battalion to the 23rd Light Horse Regiment on 1 July 1928. With the amalgamation of light horse regiments, Blackburn was transferred to the 18th/23rd Light Horse Regiment on 1 July 1930, and to the 18th Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment on 1 October of the same year.[35][48][32]

In 1933, Blackburn became the coroner of the city of Adelaide, a position he held for fourteen years. In this role, he was criticised for refusing to offer public explanations for his decisions not to hold inquests; it was criticism he ignored.[1] On 6 May 1935, Blackburn was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[35][49] He was promoted to major on 15 January 1937,[50] still with the same regiment,[48] and in the same year was awarded the King George VI Coronation Medal.[42] On 1 July 1939, a few months before the outbreak of World War II, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed to command the 18th Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment.[1][48][50]

World War II

Blackburn stopped practicing law in 1940,[1] and on 20 June was appointed to raise and command the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion, part of the Second Australian Imperial Force raised for service overseas during World War II.[42] Motorised infantry units, the machine gun battalions were equipped with wheeled motor vehicles, motorcycles and sometimes tracked carriers,[51] and were formed to provide a greater level of fire support than that which was organically available within ordinary infantry battalions.[52] After undergoing training, the battalion entrained for Sydney where it embarked on the SS Ile de France on 10 April 1941. The battalion sailed for the Middle East and disembarked in Egypt on 14 May.[42] Upon arrival, the battalion was assigned to the 7th Division in Palestine, where it underwent further training.[53]

Syria-Lebanon Campaign

AWM 021171 2 3rd MG Bn Syria 1941
A Vickers machine gun team from the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion in Syria, October 1941

In mid-June, the battalion was committed to the Syria-Lebanon Campaign against the Vichy French. Due to the presence of Vichy French troops, the campaign was politically sensitive and as a result of heavy censorship not widely reported in Australia at the time; the nature of the fighting, where it was reported, was also downplayed as the Vichy Forces outnumbered the Allies and were also being better equipped.[54][55] For the 2/3rd, the campaign saw them heavily involved throughout the short, but sharply contested campaign, with each of the four machine gun companies supporting separate efforts by elements of the 7th Division and also British troops, seeing action around Merdajayoun, Metula, Quneitra, Sidon and Damour before the Vichy French requested an armistice in mid-July.[56] On 21 June, Damascus fell to the Allies, and because he was the senior Allied officer in the city, Blackburn accepted the surrender.[1][32] The battalion suffered 42 casualties during the campaign.[57]

In the aftermath of the campaign, the 2/3rd stayed on as part of the Allied occupation force established in Syria and Lebanon to defend against a possible drive south by Axis forces through the Caucasus. The battalion defended a position north-east of Beirut, around Bikfaya initially, but was moved around to various locations including Aleppo on the Turkish border throughout the remainder of 1941. They endured a bitter cold, and snowy, winter at Fih near Tripoli, which was punctuated by leave drafts to Tel Aviv.[58] During the occupation, Blackburn was a member of the Allied Control Commission for Syria,[1] responsible, among other functions, for the repatriation of French prisoners-of-war (POW).[42]


On 1 February 1942, the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion, less one company and with no machine guns or vehicles, left the Middle East on the SS Orcades . By mid-February, Singapore had fallen to the Japanese, and Orcades disembarked the battalion briefly at Oosthaven on Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies to help defend an airfield. The Japanese arrived before the Australians, and the battalion was quickly re-embarked. On 16 February, it was again disembarked, this time at Port of Tanjung Priok on Java to form part of the defence on that island. On 21 February,[56] Blackburn was temporarily promoted to brigadier,[1] and appointed to command all 3,000 Australian troops on Java, collectively known as "Blackforce". Blackforce was instructed to fight alongside local Dutch forces under the overall command of the Dutch Luitenant-generaal Hein ter Poorten.[56] The Japanese landed on 28 February, and Blackforce was able to put up a spirited resistance for about two weeks. Poorten surrendered Java on 8 March, but Blackburn was reluctant to do so, and sought medical advice on the idea of continuing resistance in the hills. He was advised against this course of action, and surrendered his force on 11 March.[1][56][32] Through its efforts and the delays it caused, "Blackforce" convinced the Japanese that it was a force of much larger divisional size.[32] In his last order to his commanders he wrote:[32]

You are to take the first opportunity of telling your men that this surrender is not my choice or that of [Major] General [Hervey Degge Wilmot] Sitwell. We were all placed under the command of the Commander in Chief NEI [Netherlands East Indies] and he ordered us to surrender (emphasis in the original).

Captivity and return to Australia

He was promoted to substantive colonel on 1 September 1942, but retained his temporary rank of brigadier whilst in captivity.[59] In late December, Blackburn and some other senior officers were transferred from Java to Singapore, and Blackburn was briefly held at the Changi POW Camp. Along with other senior officers he was soon sent to Taiwan, then on to Moji in Japan and Pusan in Korea, and finally to the Chen Cha Tung POW Camp in Manchuria where he spent the balance of the war. He was liberated in September 1945 in Mukden, Manchuria, by which time he was in weak physical condition but otherwise in reasonable health.[1][32][56]

In October, he was flown back to Australia via Colombo, and was hospitalised for two weeks.[60] On arrival in Adelaide, he was met by three other VC recipients, Phillip Davey, Roy Inwood and Thomas Caldwell.[32] On 9 May 1946, he was awarded the Efficiency Decoration.[60] This was followed by an additional period in hospital in June and July.[61] On 28 May, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division) (CBE) for his gallant and distinguished service in Java.[32][62] His citation for the CBE noted that:[19]

'Blackforce', which he commanded, was very hastily organised and equipped. It included English, both RAF and Army, and Australian units and personnel. Some, who had left Singapore under very dubious circumstances, were of doubtful quality. Thanks to Brigadier Blackburn's excellent leadership and personal example the little force fought splendidly. Discipline and morale remained high throughout.

Blackburn's Second AIF appointment was terminated on 18 July, at which time he relinquished his temporary rank of brigadier and was transferred to the Reserve of Officers List. He was also granted the honorary rank of brigadier.[61] In addition to the CBE, Blackburn was also awarded the 1939–1945 Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939–1945 and Australia Service Medal 1939–1945 for his service during World War II. Both of Blackburn's sons, Richard and Robert, served in the Second AIF during World War II.[42]

Later life

Blackburn vc
Blackburn's gravestone in the AIF section of West Terrace Cemetery

On 11 October 1946, Blackburn was again appointed to active duty from the Reserve of Officers List, and was again temporarily promoted to brigadier while he was attached to 2nd Australian War Crimes Section as a witness before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, Japan.[63] In December, he was again elected as state president of the renamed Returned Sailors' Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia (RSSAILA).[64] On 11 January 1947, Blackburn was transferred back to the Reserve of Officers List, retaining the honorary rank of brigadier.[65]

Blackburn relinquished his role as city coroner in 1947, and was appointed as a conciliation commissioner of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, a position he held until 1955. He was also chairman of trustees for the Services Canteen Trust Fund from 1947 until his death.[1] On 8 June 1949, Blackburn was appointed as the honorary colonel of the Adelaide University Regiment (AUR), and he was transferred to the Retired List in January 1950 with the honorary rank of brigadier.[65] In the same year he relinquished his role as state president of RSSAILA.[1] In 1953, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal.[42] He relinquished his honorary colonel role with AUR in January 1955.[65] In 1955, he was appointed as a member of the Australian National Airlines Commission and a director of Trans Australia Airlines.[1] For his "exceptionally fine honorary service as chairman of several trusts, especially for the benefit of ex-servicemen and the dependants",[66] he was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1955 New Year Honours. The following year, Blackburn attended the VC centenary gathering in London.[1][42]

Blackburn died on 24 November 1960 at Crafers, South Australia, aged 67, from a ruptured aneurism of the common iliac artery, and was buried with full military honours in the AIF section of Adelaide's West Terrace Cemetery.[1] He was survived by his wife, two sons, and two daughters.[19] His medal set, including his VC, is displayed in the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.[42]


  1. ^ The O. G.  (Old German) trench system consisted of two lines of German trenches that were objectives of the Australian assault.[22]
  2. ^ Lock gives their date of marriage as 16 March 1917,[35] but this is contradicted by R. A. Blackburn and South Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages data, which state they were married on 22 March.[1][40]
  3. ^ The Reserve of Officers List was part of the reserve element of the CMF.[47]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t R. A. Blackburn 1979.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lock 1936, p. 162.
  3. ^ C. R. B. Blackburn 1979.
  4. ^ a b c d Blanch & Pegram 2018, p. 89.
  5. ^ National Archives 2018, p. 34.
  6. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 25–37.
  7. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 37–42.
  8. ^ a b Australian War Memorial 2018a.
  9. ^ Bean 1942a, pp. 246–252.
  10. ^ Bean 1942a, pp. xii–xiii, 226–228, 346 & 603.
  11. ^ Lock 1936, p. 45.
  12. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 46–47 & 162.
  13. ^ National Archives 2018, p. 36.
  14. ^ Lock 1936, p. 51.
  15. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 53–54.
  16. ^ a b National Archives 2018, p. 37.
  17. ^ National Archives 2018, pp. 38–39.
  18. ^ Lock 1936, p. 55.
  19. ^ a b c Blanch & Pegram 2018, p. 91.
  20. ^ a b National Archives 2018, p. 39.
  21. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 55–57.
  22. ^ Wray 2015, p. 22.
  23. ^ Lock 1936, p. 57.
  24. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 57–58.
  25. ^ National Archives 2018, p. 44.
  26. ^ Wigmore & Harding 1986, p. 9.
  27. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 58–59.
  28. ^ Bean 1941, p. 593.
  29. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 60–61.
  30. ^ Bean 1941, p. 802.
  31. ^ Lock 1936, p. 61.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Blanch & Pegram 2018, p. 90.
  33. ^ National Archives 2018, pp. 39–40.
  34. ^ The London Gazette 8 September 1916.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lock 1936, p. 163.
  36. ^ National Archives 2018, p. 40.
  37. ^ Lock 1936, pp. 163 & 204.
  38. ^ The Register 6 October 1916.
  39. ^ National Archives 2018, pp. 32, 43 & 47.
  40. ^ SA BDM 2018.
  41. ^ National Archives 2018, p. 31.
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Australian War Memorial 2018b.
  43. ^ National Archives 2018, p. 32.
  44. ^ The Journal 13 September 1917.
  45. ^ Jaensch 2007, pp. 2018–220.
  46. ^ The Mail 17 January 1920.
  47. ^ Defence Act 1909.
  48. ^ a b c National Archives 2018, p. 4.
  49. ^ The Advertiser 6 May 1935.
  50. ^ a b Wigmore & Harding 1986, p. 35.
  51. ^ Hocking 1997, pp. 2 & 26.
  52. ^ Dennis et al. 1995, pp. 371–372.
  53. ^ Bellair 1987, pp. 35–39.
  54. ^ Bellair 1987, pp. 36–39.
  55. ^ Brune 2004, p. 48.
  56. ^ a b c d e Australian War Memorial 2018c.
  57. ^ Long 1953, p. 526.
  58. ^ Bellair 1987, pp. 67–81.
  59. ^ National Archives 2018, pp. 5 & 8.
  60. ^ a b National Archives 2018, p. 9.
  61. ^ a b National Archives 2018, p. 10.
  62. ^ The London Gazette 28 May 1946.
  63. ^ National Archives 2018, pp. 5 & 10.
  64. ^ The Chronicle 26 December 1946.
  65. ^ a b c National Archives 2018, p. 5.
  66. ^ The Argus 1 January 1955.



  • Bean, C.E.W. (1942a). The Story of Anzac: From the Outbreak of War to the End of the First Phase of the Gallipoli Campaign, May 4, 1915. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918. 1 (13 ed.). Sydney: Angus & Robertson. OCLC 216975124.
  • Bean, C.E.W. (1941). The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1916. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918. 3 (12 ed.). Sydney, New South Wales: Angus & Robertson. OCLC 220898466.
  • Bellair, John (1987). From Snow to Jungle: A History of the 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion. Sydney, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-158012-5.
  • Blanch, Craig; Pegram, Aaron (2018). For Valour: Australians Awarded the Victoria Cross. Sydney, New South Wales: NewSouth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-74223-542-4.
  • Brune, Peter (2004) [2003]. A Bastard of a Place: The Australians in Papua. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74114-403-1.
  • Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin (1995). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (1st ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553227-9.
  • Faulkner, Andrew (2008). Arthur Blackburn, VC: An Australian Hero, His Men, and Their Two World Wars. Kent Town, South Australia: Wakefield Press. ISBN 978-1-86254-784-1.
  • Hocking, Philip (1997). The Long Carry: A History of the 2/1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion, 1939–1946. Melbourne, Victoria: 2/1 Machine Gun Battalion Association. ISBN 0-646-30817-3.
  • Lock, Cecil (1936). The Fighting 10th: A South Australian Centenary Souvenir of the 10th Battalion, A.I.F. 1914–19. Adelaide: Webb & Son. OCLC 220051389.
  • Long, Gavin (1953). Greece, Crete and Syria. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 1 – Army. Volume II (1st ed.). Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian War Memorial. OCLC 3134080.
  • Staunton, Anthony (2005). Victoria Cross. Prahran, Victoria: Hardie Grant. ISBN 978-1-74273-486-6.
  • Wigmore, Lionel; Harding, Bruce A. (1986). Williams, Jeff; Staunton, Anthony, eds. They Dared Mightily (2 ed.). Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian War Memorial. ISBN 978-0-642-99471-4.
  • Wray, Christopher (2015). Pozières: Echoes of a Distant Battle. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-316-24111-0.

Newspapers and gazettes




  • "Defence Act 1909". Section 6, Act No. 15 of 13 December 1909.
South Australian House of Assembly
Preceded by
Crawford Vaughan
Member for Sturt
Served alongside: Thomas Hyland Smeaton, Edward Vardon
Succeeded by
Herbert Richards
18th Light Horse Regiment

The 18th Light Horse Regiment (Adelaide Lancers) was a Citizens Military Force unit of the Australian Light Horse, formed during the post-World War I reorganisation of the Australian Army. The regiment traces its origins back to the militia cavalry regiments raised in the colony of South Australia, such as the Adelaide Cavalry Squadron, the Adelaide Mounted Rifles and the South Australian Mounted Rifles. This is a different unit to the pre-World War I, 18th Australian Light Horse (Western Australian Mounted Infantry).

1900–01 Southampton F.C. season

The 1900–01 season was the 16th since the foundation of Southampton F.C. and their seventh in league football, as members of the Southern League.

The club were unable to repeat their success in the FA Cup and were eliminated in the First Round, but compensated for this failure by claiming the Southern League title for the fourth time in five seasons.

1918 in Australia

1918 in Australia was dominated by national participation in World War I. The Australian Corps, formed at the beginning of the year from the five divisions of the First Australian Imperial Force, played a significant role in the Allied victory.

2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)

The 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion was formed in June 1940 as part of the 7th Division and served in Egypt, Syria, the Netherlands East Indies and New Guinea during World War II. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Blackburn when it was raised, the battalion was primarily a South Australian unit, although it had sub-units formed in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. After completing training in Australia, in April 1941 the battalion embarked for the Middle East. In June/July 1941 it saw action against Vichy French forces during the Syria–Lebanon campaign, during which time the battalion was heavily involved in supporting various elements of the 7th Division.

Following Japan's entry into the war, the decision was made to transfer a large number of Australian troops from the Middle East to the Pacific region. In early 1942, as the Japanese advanced through the Netherlands East Indies, the majority of the battalion was captured during the Battle of Java. A small number of the battalion's personnel returned to Australia and it was subsequently re-raised in mid-1942. It was later attached to the 6th Division as a corps unit and served in Papua New Guinea during the Aitape–Wewak campaign in 1944–1945. The battalion was disbanded in January 1946.

Adelaide Universities Regiment

Adelaide Universities Regiment (AUR) is an officer training unit of the Australian Army headquartered in Adelaide, South Australia. Currently AUR maintains a cadre staff of trained Regular and Reserve personnel who oversee and administer the training of Reserve officer cadets. The majority of the regiment is currently based at Hampstead Barracks.

Arthur Blackburn (footballer)

Arthur Blackburn (1877 – after 1901) was an English footballer who played as a full-back with Blackburn Rovers and Southampton around the turn of the 20th century. He was the elder brother of England international footballer, Fred Blackburn.

Bill McCann

Lieutenant Colonel William Francis James McCann, (19 April 1892 – 14 December 1957) was an Australian soldier of World War I, a barrister, and a prominent figure in the military and ex-service community of South Australia during the interwar period. Born and raised in Adelaide, he worked as a teacher before the war. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a private in 1914, and rose through the ranks to be commissioned during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. In 1916–1918 he fought on the Western Front in France and Belgium, was wounded twice, and rose to the rank of major. For his gallantry during the war, he was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order and twice awarded the Military Cross. After the war, he served as commanding officer of the 10th Battalion until its disbandment in 1919.

Returning home, McCann became a barrister and formed a legal partnership with Victoria Cross recipient Arthur Blackburn. McCann was active in returned servicemen's organisations, as president of the South Australian branch of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League from 1924 to 1931, and as a state vice-president from 1938 to 1949. He was a foundation member of the Legacy Club of Adelaide, looking after the dependents of deceased servicemen. His service in the part-time Citizen Military Forces saw him reach the rank of lieutenant colonel and command the 43rd Battalion between 1927 and 1930. Appointed as state prices commissioner and deputy Commonwealth prices commissioner from 1938 to 1954; in 1946 an arson attack on his home was linked to his anti–black marketeering work in those roles. In recognition of his work with the ex-service community, McCann was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935, and a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1956.

Blackburn (surname)

Blackburn is a surname of English origin. At the time of the British Census of 1881, its frequency was highest in Yorkshire, followed by Cumberland, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, County Durham and Norfolk. In all other British counties, its frequency was below national average. Notable people with the surname include:

Alan Blackburn (1935–2014), English footballer

Anthony Blackburn

Arthur Blackburn (footballer) (born 1877), English footballer with Blackburn Rovers and Southampton

Arthur Seaforth Blackburn (1892–1960) Australian soldier, Victoria Cross recipient

Bob Blackburn (disambiguation)

Bunkie Blackburn

Chase Blackburn

Clare Blackburn

Clarice Blackburn

Colin Blackburn, Baron Blackburn, a Scottish judge who sat in the English courts

Dan Blackburn

David Blackburn (disambiguation), multiple people

Derek Blackburn

Doris Blackburn

Earl Blackburn, Major League Baseball player

Edmond Spencer Blackburn

Elizabeth Blackburn, molecular biologist and Nobel prize winner

Estelle Blackburn

Frank Blackburn (born 1944), Louisiana politician

Fred Blackburn (1902–1990), British Member of Parliament

Fred Blackburn (footballer) (1878–1951), English international footballer

Frédéric Blackburn, Canadian short track speed skater

Geoffrey Blackburn

George Blackburn (disambiguation)

George Blackburn (American football), American football coach

George Blackburn (baseball), Major League Baseball player

George Blackburn (footballer, born 1888), English footballer

George Blackburn (footballer, born 1899), English footballer

George G. Blackburn, Canadian author

Gideon Blackburn

Harold Blackburn (pioneer aviator), aviator

Howard Blackburn

Jack Blackburn, American boxer and trainer, most notable for training heavyweight champion Joe Louis

Jack Blackburn (rugby league), rugby league footballer of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s

James Blackburn (disambiguation)

James Blackburn (architect)

James Blackburn (politician)

James Blackburn (RAF officer)

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

John Blackburn (disambiguation)

John Blackburn (author)

John Blackburn (educator)

John Blackburn (musician)

John Blackburn (politician)

John Blackburn (songwriter)

Joseph Blackburn (disambiguation)

Karoliina Blackburn

Luke P. Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn

Maurice Blackburn

Michael Blackburn (disambiguation)

Michael Blackburn (athlete) (born 1970), Australian Olympic medallist and sailor

Michael Blackburn (poet) (born 1954), British poet

Nick Blackburn, Major League Baseball player

Olly Blackburn, filmmaker and screenwriter

Paul Blackburn (disambiguation)

Peter Blackburn (disambiguation)

Robert Blackburn (disambiguation)

Robert Blackburn (artist)

Robert Blackburn (aviation pioneer)

Robert Blackburn (educationalist)

Robert Blackburn (politician)

Robert McGrady Blackburn

Simon Blackburn, philosopher

Thomas Blackburn (disambiguation)

Thomas Blackburn (entomologist)

Thomas Blackburn (poet)

Tom Blackburn (basketball)

Tom W. Blackburn, writer, lyricist

John T. "Tommy" Blackburn, U.S. aviator

Thornton Blackburn, escaped fugitive slave from Kentucky

Tony Blackburn (born 1943), English disc jockey with Radio Caroline, Radio London and the BBC

Tyler Blackburn (born 1986), American actor, singer and model

William Blackburn, British architect

Candidates of the 1918 South Australian state election

This is a list of candidates of the 1918 South Australian state election.

Candidates of the 1921 South Australian state election

This is a list of candidates of the 1921 South Australian state election.

Chief Justice of the Northern Territory

The title of Chief Justice of the Northern Territory refers to the highest judicial position in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. The position is currently held by Michael Grant.

Electoral district of Sturt (South Australia)

Sturt (The Sturt until 1875) was an electoral district of the House of Assembly in the Australian state of South Australia. It was named after the explorer Charles Sturt.

Sturt was one of the initial districts in the first parliament. It was initially centred on Unley, but later broadened to include all or part of Belair, Brighton, Glenelg, Goodwood, Hyde Park, Mitcham, Parkside and Sturt. When recreated in 1915, it also included Hawthorn and Wayville.

Embassy of France, Ottawa

The Embassy of France in Ottawa is the diplomatic mission of France to Canada, located at 42 Sussex Drive in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood of Ottawa.

Hayne, Stowford

Hayne in the parish of Stowford in Devon, is an historic manor, situated about 11 miles south-west of Okehampton. The surviving Manor House, a grade II* listed building known as Hayne House was rebuilt in about 1810 by Isaac Donnithorne (died 1848), who later adopted the surname Harris having married the heiress of Harris of Hayne.

Herbert Richards

Herbert Clarence Richards (30 January 1876 – 11 April 1949) was an Australian politician who represented the South Australian House of Assembly multi-member seat of Sturt from 1921 to 1930 for the Liberal Union and Liberal Federation.

High Sheriff of Louth

The High Sheriff of Louth was the Crown's representative for County Louth, a territory known as his bailiwick. Selected from three nominated people, he holds his office over the duration of a year. He has judicial, ceremonial and administrative functions and executes High Court Writs.

Members of the South Australian House of Assembly, 1918–1921

This is a list of members of the South Australian House of Assembly from 1918 to 1921, as elected at the 1918 state election:

1 Alexandra Liberal MHA Archibald Peake died on 6 April 1920. Liberal candidate Herbert Hudd won the resulting by-election on 12 June.

2 East Torrens MHA John Albert Southwood resigned from the National Party in 1920 and served out his term as an independent Labor member.

3 Murray Liberal MHA Angas Parsons resigned on 5 January 1921. No by-election was held due to the proximity of the 1921 state election.

4 Sturt Liberal MHA Edward Vardon resigned on 15 February 1921 in order to nominate for a casual vacancy in the Australian Senate. No by-election was held due to the proximity of the 1921 state election.

Richard Blackburn

Sir Richard Arthur Blackburn, (26 July 1918 – 1 October 1987) was an Australian judge, prominent legal academic and military officer. He became a judge of three courts in Australia, and eventually became chief justice of the Australian Capital Territory. In the 1970s he decided one of Australia's earliest Aboriginal Land rights cases. His service to the Australian legal community is commemorated by the annual Sir Richard Blackburn Memorial lectures in Canberra.

Thomas Blackburn (entomologist)

Thomas Blackburn (16 March 1844 – 28 May 1912) was an English-born Australian entomologist who specialized in the study of beetles.

Born near Liverpool, England, Blackburn became interested in entomology in his youth. At the age of 18, with his brother, he began publishing and editing the periodical The Weekly Entomologist; this ceased publication two years later, after which he became one of the editors of the newly founded Entomologist's Monthly Magazine. In 1866, he entered the University of London, from which he received a B.A. degree in 1868. Ordained a priest of the Church of England in 1870, he served for six years as a parish priest at Greenhithe, Kent.In 1876, Blackburn was transferred to the Hawaiian Islands, where he served as senior priest and chaplain to the bishop of the Church of Hawaii in Honolulu. During his time there, he collected insects extensively on Oahu and also made brief collecting journeys to other islands of the archipelago. "The first resident naturalist to concentrate on insects", he "supplied scientists at the British Museum in London and elsewhere with a steady stream of specimens, refuting the belief that insects were poorly represented in Hawai'i". Among his discoveries were 23 previously undescribed species of carabid beetles of the tribe Platynini.Blackburn was transferred to Australia in 1882, becoming rector of St. Thomas' Church in Port Lincoln from 1882 to 1886, then of St. Margaret's in Woodville, where he remained for the rest of his life. After his arrival in Australia, his entomological studies were focused almost exclusively on coleoptera, specimens of which he collected throughout South Australia, as well as on trips to the other states. He also studied, classified, and described specimens sent to him by numerous other collectors throughout the continent. In the words of his obituarist Arthur Lea, Curator of Entomology at the South Australian Museum, "He was a systematist, pure and simple, taking no interest, or, at any rate, very little, in the life histories of the insects themselves." Specializing in the Scarabaeidae, he "became the foremost Australian coleopterist, and published descriptions of 3,069 Australian species". He was a member of the Linnean Society of New South Wales and the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, and from 1887 until his death was Honorary Curator of Entomology for the South Australian Museum. A significant part of his collections, including most of his type material, is housed at the Natural History Museum, London.

Among Blackburn's children were Charles Blackburn and Arthur Blackburn; a grandson was Richard Blackburn. A great-granddaughter of Blackburn's, the biological researcher Elizabeth Blackburn, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work in the study of telomeres.

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