Arthur Blackburn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Arthur Seaforth Blackburn)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the English footballer, see Arthur Blackburn (footballer).
Arthur Seaforth Blackburn
Arthur Blackburn J03069A.JPG
Lieutenant A. S. Blackburn
Born 25 November 1892[1]
Woodville, South Australia, Australia
Died 24 November 1960(1960-11-24) (aged 67)[1]
Crafers, South Australia, Australia
Allegiance Australia Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1914–1917
1924–1946
Rank Brigadier
Commands held Black Force
2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion
Battles/wars

First World War

Second World War

Awards Victoria Cross
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Efficiency Decoration
Other work Commissioner in the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration

Brigadier Arthur Seaforth Blackburn VC, CMG, CBE, ED (25 November 1892 – 24 November 1960) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life[edit]

Blackburn was born on 25 November 1892 at Woodville, South Australia. His parents were the cleric and entomologist Thomas Blackburn and his wife Margaret Harriette Stewart, née Browne. He was educated at Pulteney Grammar School, the Collegiate School of St Peter and the University of Adelaide (LL.B., 1913).

First World War[edit]

Gallipoli[edit]

In 1914, Private Blackburn, a 21-year-old lawyer from Adelaide, was among the first to enlist in the "Fighting 10th" Battalion, and as a battalion scout he was among the first to land at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915.[2] Australia's official World War I historian Charles Bean noted that Blackburn, with Lance Corporal Robin, probably made it further inland than any other Australian soldiers "whose movements are known". Blackburn was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Gallipoli in August 1915, and served there for almost the entire campaign.

Western Front[edit]

On 23 July 1916, at Pozières, France, the 23-year-old second lieutenant led an attack for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Blackburn was directed with 50 men to drive the enemy from a strong point. By great determination he captured 250 yards of trench, after personally leading four separate parties of bombers against it, many of whom became casualties. Then after crawling forward with a sergeant to reconnoitre, he returned, attacked again, and seized another 120 yards of trench to establish communication with the battalion on his left.[3]

Blackburn returned to Australia on 22 March 1917, marrying Rose Ada Kelly, and being discharged on medical grounds soon after.

Between the wars[edit]

Blackburn returned to legal practice and took an active part in the pro-conscription campaigns. During 1918–21 he was Nationalist member for Sturt in the South Australian House of Assembly; he did not seek re-election in 1921.

Blackburn was a founding member of the Returned Sailors', Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League in South Australia, where he served as president of the State branch from 1917–21. He joined the militia in 1924.

In 1933–47 Blackburn was city coroner, in which office he encountered and ignored criticism for refusing to offer public explanation for any decision not to hold an inquest.

Second World War[edit]

In 1939, Blackburn was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and took command of a motorised cavalry regiment, the 18th Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment.[1] He ceased legal practice in 1940. He was appointed to command the 2/3rd Australian Machine-Gun Battalion, which fought under his command in Syria against the Vichy French in 1941.[1] Blackburn, as the senior Allied officer present, accepted the surrender of Damascus on 21 June, and after the campaign was a member of the Allied Control Commission for Syria.

In February 1942, Blackburn landed with a small Australian force in Java. There he was promoted to brigadier and appointed to command 'Black Force', to assist the Dutch against the rapid Japanese advance.[1]

After three weeks' vigorous but fruitless resistance, and in spite of Blackburn's reluctance, the Allied forces surrendered on 9 March 1942.[4] Blackburn was the senior officer of the Black Force prisoner group, which included 300 Australian seamen from HMAS Perth. He remained a prisoner of war until September 1945[1] when he was liberated in Mukden, Manchuria, weak but not broken in health. In 1946 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his distinguished service in Java.[5] He received his discharge in 1946.

Blackburn's grave

Later life[edit]

In 1947–55 Blackburn served as a conciliation commissioner in the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and again as State president of the RSL from 1946–1949.

For his services to the community, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1955.

Blackburn died on 24 November 1960 at Crafers, South Australia from a ruptured aneurism of the common iliac artery, and was buried in the Australian Imperial Force section of Adelaide's West Terrace Cemetery. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Honours and awards[edit]

Blackburn was awarded:

Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.pngUK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svgOBE Military ribbon.svg

Ribbon for 1914–15 Star BWM ribbon.jpg Victory medal (UK) ribbon.png 39-45 Star BAR.svg

Pacific Star BAR.svg Defence Medal BAR.svg Ribbon for the War Medal 39–45 Ribbon for the ASM 39–45

Geo5SilverJubilee.svg GeorgeVICoronationRibbon.png ElizabethIICoronationRibbon.png Efficiency Decoration (NZ) ribbon.jpg

Ribbon Description Notes
Ribbon of the Victoria Cross Victoria Cross Victoria Cross (VC) Awarded for Gallantry at the Battle of Pozières[6]
Ribbon of the Order of St.Michael & St.George Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) Awarded for Service to the Community[7]
Ribbon of the Military Order of the British Empire Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) Awarded for Services in Java while in Command of "Black Force"[8]
Ribbon for the 1914–15 Star 1914–15 Star Awarded for service overseas (or en route) during 1914 or 1915[9]
Ribbon of the British War Medal 1914–18 British War Medal 1914–18 Awarded for Operational Service between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918[10]
Ribbon of the Victory Medal 1914–19 Victory Medal 1914–19 Awarded to commemorate the Allied Victory in the First World War[11]
Ribbon of the 1939–1945 Star 1939-1945 Star Operational Service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945[12]
Ribbon of the Pacific Star Pacific Star For Operational Service on Java with "Black Force"[13]
Ribbon of the Defence Medal Defence Medal For Non-Operational Service in a prescribed area during WW2[14]
Ribbon for the War Medal 39–45 War Medal 1939–1945 Awarded for Service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945[15]
Ribbon for the ASM 39–45 Australia Service Medal 1939–1945 Awarded for Service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945[16]
Ribbon of the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal King George V Silver Jubilee Medal Awarded to a selected number of Australian/Imperial Citizens to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the reign of George V.[17]
Ribbon of the King George VI Coronation Medal King George VI Coronation Medal Awarded to a selected number of Australian/Imperial Citizens to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI on 12 May 1937[18]
Ribbon of the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Awarded to a selected number of Australian/Imperial Citizens to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953[19]
Ribbon of the Efficiency Decoration Efficiency Decoration Awarded for Long-Service (over 12 Years) with the Territorial Army[20]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Brigadier Arthur Seaforth Blackburn". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. 
  2. ^ "First World War Service Record - Arthur Seaforth Blackburn". National Archives of Australia. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29740, page 8870, 8 September 1916
  4. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "The conquest of Java Island, March 1942". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. 
  5. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37585, page 2613, 28 May 1946
  6. ^ OL00271.001 – Victoria Cross : Second Lieutenant A S Blackburn, 10 Battalion, AIF, Australian War Memorial
  7. ^ OL00271.002 – Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George : Brigadier A S Blackburn, Australian War Memorial
  8. ^ OL00271.003 – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire : Brigadier A S Blackburn, Australian War Memorial
  9. ^ OL00271.004 – 1914–15 Star : Second Lieutenant A S Blackburn, 10 Battalion, AIF, Australian War Memorial
  10. ^ OL00271.005 – British War Medal 1914–1920: Lieutenant A S Blackburn, 10 Battalion, AIF, Australian War Memorial
  11. ^ OL00271.006 – Victory Medal : Lieutenant A S Blackburn, 10 Battalion AIF, Australian War Memorial
  12. ^ OL00271.007 – 1939–45 Star : Brigadier A S Blackburn, Black Force, Australian War Memorial
  13. ^ OL00271.008 – Pacific Star: Brigadier A S Blackburn, Black Force, Australian War Memorial
  14. ^ OL00271.009 – Defence Medal: Brigadier A S Blackburn, Black Force, Australian War Memorial
  15. ^ OL00271.010 – British War Medal 1939–45: Brigadier A S Blackburn, Black Force, Australian War Memorial
  16. ^ OL00271.011 – Australia Service Medal : Brigadier A S Blackburn, Black Force, Australian War Memorial
  17. ^ OL00271.012 – George V Silver Jubilee Medal : Lieutenant Colonel A S Blackburn, Australian War Memorial
  18. ^ OL00271.013 – George VI Coronation Medal : Lieutenant Colonel A S Blackburn, Australian War Memorial
  19. ^ OL00271.014 – Elizabeth II Coronation Medal : Brigadier A S Blackburn, Australian War Memorial
  20. ^ OL00271.015 – Efficiency Decoration : Brigadier A S Blackburn, Australian War Memorial
Bibliography

External links[edit]