NT soldiers ‘missing from WWI history’

19-Apr-2017

Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Norman Cramp says up to 40 Territorians are missing from Australia’s WWI history.

Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Norman Cramp says up to 40 Territorians are missing from Australia’s WWI history.


A Charles Darwin University PhD candidate has uncovered the names of dozens of forgotten Territorians who served in World War I.

Norman Cramp said his PhD findings could support claims that proportionately more men had enlisted in WWI from the Northern Territory than from any other similar-sized jurisdiction in Australia.

Mr Cramp said he suspected that up to 40 NT soldiers were not included in the figure that was generally accepted by historians, of up to 360 NT soldiers having served in WWI.

He said the number was significant for a frontier town that had a population of less than 1500 people at the time.

“There is a big piece of the Territory that is missing from our WWI history,” Mr Cramp said.

“Territorians were really proud to be out there doing their bit to help the war effort and fight for Australia and the British Empire.”

Mr Cramp said the NT was without a recruitment station until 1916, and men who were born or had resided in the region and enlisted before that time needed to travel interstate to enlist.

“NT soldiers in Gallipoli and the Western Front would write letters to the editor in the NT Times and Gazette newspaper, with some claiming there were proportionately more men there from the NT than from anywhere else in Australia,” he said.

“To prove or disprove that view, we need to know the exact figures from the NT and compare them against other like-sized jurisdictions in Australia.”

Mr Cramp said his PhD research also would aim to uncover what life was like on the home front of the NT while a large proportion of its male population left to go to war.

He is currently the Director of the Darwin Military Museum at East Point.