The remarkable Lockyer brothers


Author: Australian War Memorial

Posted on

When the Second World War broke out, five Aboriginal brothers from Western Australia enlisted but only three would come home.

Brothers Arnold, Edgar, Elbert, Elliott, and Eric Lockyer grew up on Mallina Station, and were among the nation’s many Indigenous Australians who struggled for recognition in times of social, political and economic inequality. 

The brothers were determined to serve during the Second World War. As Aboriginal men, they were motivated in attaining citizenship rights as well as serving their country.

Arnold and Edgar joined the Royal Australian Air Force, while the others served in the Australian Imperial Force.

Flight Sergeant Arnold Alexander Lockyer served in No. 24 Squadron RAF. Private Eric Lockyer served in the 2/24th Australian Infantry Battalion, together with his brother, Elliott. 

In July 1945 Flight Sergeant Arnold Lockyer’s aircraft was shot down by the Japanese. He parachuted out of the plane but was captured and later killed by Japanese camp guards.

Eric was killed in action while serving in Borneo. He was just 21 years old. 

In April 2011, a war memorial was unveiled by descendants of the Lockyer brothers in Whim Creek, close to where the family grew up. The memorial includes a stone and plaque for each of the five brothers.

Every year, hundreds of people gather at the war memorial to pay tribute to the brothers, and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have served in Australia's armed forces.


Last updated: