Henry Lawrence James (Harry) Locke


Henry James Locke. The ANZAC ‘A’ badge pinned to the green and blue colour patch of the 11th Light Horse Regiment indicates participation in the Gallipoli Campaign. The red, white and blue rosette below it is worn by men who enlisted in 1914 but returned to Australia on Anzac leave from mid-1918 and shows the photograph was taken after Henry Locke returned to Australia in February 1919.  Reproduced from the Lock family in WWI by Philippa Scarlett, original from the collection of the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation.




Service Number 532

Link to Service Record: http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/records/367167

Henry Lawrence James ‘Harry’ Locke born 1895 at Waterloo.

Henry James ‘Harry” Locke was the first of the Locke men to enlist in the AIF to fight in the First World War.  He joined up on 1st September, 1914 at Roseberry Park, Sydney, at the age of nineteen years and 7 months, stating that his father, J. Locke, living at St. Mary’s, was his next of kin and that he was born at Waterloo.  He is described as having a fair complexion, with blue eyes and ‘yellowish brown’ hair.  This effectively meant he would have had no trouble being accepted at a time when it was illegal for Aboriginal men to join the AIF.  Harry was a direct descendent of Maria Lock, his grandfather Robert, being Maria’s second child. (See Locke Family Lineage).

Harry embarked for Egypt as part of the 3rd Anzac Battalion, Imperial Camel Brigade and then sent to Gallipoli, ‘detached’ to the 9th Army Corps, where he was engaged as a sniper.  After six months he returned to Egypt to take part in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, first of all with the Camel Brigade and then in the 1st Light Horse Brigade moving between a number of the Light Horse Regiments.  Horses were found to be faster and more manoeuvrable and, needing less food, they eventually replaced the Camels.  The job of the Anzac Battalion was to protect the Suez Canal and deal with the revolt of the pro-Turkish Senussi tribes in the Egyptian Western Desert.  It is likely that Harry was given a horse by the Commonwealth as there is no mention of him taking his own. As part of the 1st Light Horse Brigade, Harry would have taken part in the Battle of Romani, Magdhaba and in the famous Battle for Beersheba in October, 1917, as part of the 4th Light Horse Brigade, 11th Reserve.  Gaza and Jerusalem were then taken.

A soldier’s day was made up of tending to his horse before breakfast then, after breakfast, the training, drills, the manoeuvres and tactics for war.  Working in fours during the battles was found to be very effective.  Three would dismount and engage with the enemy while the fourth soldier looked after the four horses.


Henry James Locke with Spears – served in 3rd ANZAC Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps in 1917 and is wearing the sun helmet and puttees worn by Camel Corps members. Reproduced from the Lock family in WWI by Philippa Scarlett, original from the collection of the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation.


This life took its toll on Harry.  He was first hospitalised in Alexandria with the flu not long after he arrived.  In January, 1916 he was hospitalised with Heat Exhaustion.  In 1917 the Casualty form records his hospitalisation with Enteritis and also eye trouble.  In October he was hospitalised with Malaria.  Harry had been promoted to Lance Corporal but then asked to return to being a Trooper. Health problems may have been a factor in this decision.

He was returned to Australia at the end of 1918 “on Leave” but then discharged from the AIF on the 15th April, 1919 as the war was drawing to a close.  He was given three medals, The Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Harry married Louisa Morley (both were great grandchildren of Maria and Robert Lock). after the war. He and Louisa had five children, Henry Thomas, Elsie, Terry, Barry and Larry.   Harry went on to serve in the Second World War.

harry-locke-with-louisa-1 Harry and Louisa