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Friday, 9 June 2017

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY - AFRO-AUSTRALIAN " WILLIAM REGINALD RAWLINGS " WAS A DECORATED AUSTRALIAN BLACK SOLDIER OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR - GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES "

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY




















W William Reginald Rawlings
William Reginald Rawlings
Born September 1890
Purnim, Australia
Died 9 August 1918
Vauvillers, France
Buried at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Imperial Force
Years of service 1916–1918
Rank Private
Unit 29th Battalion
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Military Medal
William Reginald Rawlings, MM (September 1890 – 9 August 1918) was a decorated Australian Aboriginal soldier of the First World War. He was also the uncle of Captain Reginald Saunders, the first Aboriginal commissioned officer in the Australian Military Forces.

Contents
1 Early life
2 First World War
Early life
Rawlings was born in Purnim, Victoria, in September 1890 to William and Bessie Rawlings.[1] He grew up on the Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve, and was a horse-breaker around Purnim before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force at Warrnambool, Victoria on 20 March 1916.[2]

First World War
After undertaking initial training, Rawlings embarked on HMAT Orsova from Melbourne on 1 August 1916.[1] He joined the 29th Battalion, 8th Brigade in France, as part of the battalion's 8th Reinforcements.[3]

Rawlings was awarded the Military Medal for bravery during heavy fighting along the Morlancourt Ridge on the 28–29 July 1918. Private Rawlings was killed in action on 9 August 1918, during the capture of Vauvillers, France. Rawlings was 27 years old.[1] His MM was gazetted on 11 December 1918.[4]

Rawlings' friend, Henry Thorpe, who also received the Military Medal, was killed on the same day. They are both buried in the Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France.[5][6]