Brigadier Arthur S. Blackburn
This photo was taken after receiving the Victoria Cross (VC), Pozieres 1916
Arthur Seaforth Blackburn was born on 25 November, 1892.
He enlisted in the 10th battalion, 1st Australian Air Force (AIF) in October, 1914. He first fought at Gallipoli and then in France in 1916. There, in the same year, he earned the Victoria Cross (VC) at Pozieres. He was wounded and sent home to Australia in 1917.
In 1920, he became part of the Officer's Reserve. He resumed active soldiering in 1925, with the 43rd Infantry Battalion. Beginning 1928, he served in light horse regiments. In July 1939, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and appointed Commanding Officer of the 18th Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment.
During World War II, he was Commander of the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd AIF, during the Syrian Campaign from 1940 until 1941. He accepted the surrender of Damascus from the Vichy French Forces and returned to Australia in early 1942. His battalion was diverted to the defence of Java. He was named Temporary Brigadier in command of a scratch composite force, Blackforce. His unit was eventualy overwelmed by the Japanese. He remained a POW until 1945. He was awarded the CBE for his service in Java.
After the war, he returned to his business interests in Australia. He died on 24 November, 1960.
Copyright © Klemen. L. 1999-2000
Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942