Home Forums General Forums Articles and Stories Neither Black Nor White ….. But ‘khaki’ – Private Frank Richard Archib

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    Boss Meri

    Private Frank Richard ARCHIBALD was born at Walcha, New South Wales on February 17th, 1915 to Frank and Sarah Archibald. One of 12 children; he would find himself fighting alongside his fellow Australians in many faraway places.

    However, the law of the time said that he was not a citizen of Australia. To the broader population back home, he was a black man in a white man’s army. But to his mates on the front, he was neither black – nor white ….. he was ‘khaki’ like the rest of them. And Frank, like many other indigenous Australians would prove his worth on the battlefield and shed his life’s blood in service of his country.

    The Archibald family today are well known in the Armidale area. They are direct descendants of Robert King, or King Bobby, a renowned Aboriginal leader at the time of colonisation.

    Frank Richard Archibald lived in the Armidale-Walcha area until 1935 when the family moved to Burnt Bridge Mission, near Kempsey. The family moved to the Mission after welfare authorities threatened to remove their children. The government authorities promised that, if the family moved to the Mission, their children would not be taken.

    Private Frank’s military service began during May of 1940 when he enlisted into the AIF at Kempsey at the age of 25. He was assigned to the 2/2nd Infantry Battalion which was part of the 16th Brigade. Frank’s younger brother, Ronald Archibald, and his uncle, Richard Archibald (Senior) signed up in Kempsey around the same time.

    After training at Greta, Frank sailed from Sydney in August 1940.


    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    IMAGE BELOW: An image of the war service medals awarded to Private Frank Richard ARCHIBALD, 2/2nd Infantry Battalion, AIF. From left to right:- 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, 1939-1945 Australia Service Medal and the 1939-1945 War Medal.


    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    Mercury, showing the first media article that detailed Franks army service.



    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    Gary Traynor is Administrator of the Militaria based website MEDALSGONEMISSING. The aim of this "NOT FOR PROFIT" website is to reunite families, with lost War Medals and other items of militaria which may have been awarded or issued to their ancestors. What Gary refers to as their "lost heritage". He has been actively involved in the preservation of Militaria and the researching of Military History for well over 29 years. During his travels, he has conducted numerous study trips to Gallipoli, The Western Front, Kokoda and many other major battle sites around the world. He was a member of the Australian Army Reserve (UNSWR & 4/3 RNSWR) and served for 23 years with the New South Wales Police Force. He was also priveleged to have served as a Volunteer Guide at the Australian War Memorial for a number of years. Gary now conducts tours of the Gallipoli Battlefields and the Kokoda Track in New Guinea. He leads the field in his knowledge of the beach head battlefields encompassing Buna, Gona & Sanananda. Medalsgonemissing is a website that will assist you in locating your family's lost war medals and other awards. If you have an ancestor who served in any of the British Commonwealth Armed Services at any time – and whose medals are lost/stolen or simply missing….then so long as the medals are out there – this site will help you to locate them. However the site also contains articles of interest in relation to Military History, War Memorials & Uniforms / kit. Please explore our website as there is sure to be something of interest to you.

    Source: http://medalsgonemissing.com/military-meda…-and-sanananda/


    Boss Meri

    Footnote: I was forwarded this article by Len Thompson of the Kokoda Memorial Foundation. After reading it, I knew I had to help this family come to PNG.

    If anyone like me reads it and has money to spare, please donate to this cause and lets get these relatives to PNG.

    Often trekkers mention they are going to locate and take photographs of certain graves at Bomana. If you want to put this one on your list, I have just looked up where he is buried from the listing I put on my website years ago.

    ARCHIBALD, Private, FRANK RICHARD, NX15456. A.LF. 2/2 Bn. Australian Infantry. 24th November 1942. Age 27. Son of Frank and Sarah Elizabeth Archibald, of Burnt Bridge, New South Wales. A7. D. 22.




    Any grave can be found on http://www.pngbd.com as they are all listed in alphabetical order and you can access by clicking on the PREVIOUS/NEXT button until you come across the name you are searching for.

    Later today I plan on going out myself to Bomana and taking a photograph of his grave and will post here for any family member back home who would like to copy it. May he like all buried at Bomana War Cemetery RIP

    As promised, his gravesite was found today at Bomana War Cemetery. Below are the photographs taken 12th January 2012:


    Boss Meri

    Digger's last hours make family proud

    PRIVATE Frank Archibald died fighting on the Kokoda Track in 1942 with his good mate Sergeant Jimmy Coombes by his side.

    This week the families of both men met for the first time to shed light on Frank's final moments.

    Frank's cousin Richard Archibald of Tarrawanna is fundraising to send his family to the Kokoda Track to perform Aboriginal burial rites on Frank's grave. Richard is the last remaining male relative able to put Frank's spirit to rest.

    In the interim, Jimmy's nephew Bob Coombes of Mangerton has been able to recount Frank's death through the recollections of his late uncle Jimmy.

    When the Archibald family's quest to travel to the Kokoda Track was previewed by the Mercury in April, Bob said he immediately recognised Frank's photo from his uncle Jimmy's album.

    "He held Frank in extremely high regard. He said he was one of the greatest men he'd ever met," Bob said.

    This was later reinforced in an interview conducted by the Australian War Memorial with Jimmy, prior to his death, aged 82.

    The two men joined the 2/2 Australian Infantry Battalion in 1940, serving in Tobruk and Greece before arriving in Papua New Guinea for the campaign to hold back the Japanese advance.

    In his recollections, Jimmy said the company was at Sanananda when "Archie" lost his helmet.

    "He said to me, 'Jimmy, I've lost my tin hat. Can you get me a tin hat and get it up to me?'

    "I said, 'Here Archie, you take mine'. He said, 'No, no, you just get me one.' And that's the last I spoke to Archie.

    "A sniper got him through the head because he was carrying the Bren gun.

    Richard said he greatly appreciated this information which was previously unknown to his family.

    "Hearing about the respect people had for my uncle, it makes me very happy," he said.

    Richard is busy selling raffle tickets for a fundraiser to be held at the Corrimal RSL Club on August 20.

    The event, organised with the help of the Illawarra-based Kokoda Aboriginal Servicemen's Campaign committee, will feature indigenous singer/songwriter Emma Donovan.

    For tickets, contact Brendon Fitzgerald on +61 431 014 818 or email brendon@illawarraams.com.au

    Source: Publication: Illawarra Mercury

    Date: 06/08/2011


    Boss Meri

    Boss Meri

    Newsflash: When I attended the Anzac Day service this year at Bomana War Cemetery, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the family I have talked about in this article were given a chance to come to PNG.

    This year for the first time we also had Roderick Simpson walk with us and within minutes of meeting the relatives of Private Frank Archibald, he was talking in language to them. They asked Roderick to accompany them to the service they were holding at his gravesite.

    Well done to everyone who donated money to bring this family to PNG.

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