Below is a list of Australians of Lebanese heritage who served during World War One. They are represented in all Australian campaigns including Gallipoli. Some were killed in action, some wounded and some were prisoners of war.
RANK FIRST NAME SURNAME ENLISTED SERVED RTA/Discharged BIRTHPLACE Private Ambrose Abdullah 13/11/15 Western Front 06/09/18 Tumut NSW Private Thomas Abdullah 28/08/17 Western Front 09/12/18 Tumut NSW Private Charles Abdullah 05/06/17 Middle East / Western Front 19/10/18 Mt Lebanon Gunner Herbert Abotomey 26/09/16 France 28/09/19 Lebanon Sapper Alfred Alexander Abotomey 15/02/17 Western Front 18/07/19 Petersburg SA Sergeant Walter Abotomey 06/12/15 Middle East 01/10/20 Adelaide SA Horse Driver Stanton Ayoub 06/05/15 Gallipoli/France 03/01/19 Dubbo NSW Private George Joseph Beshewatie 28/03/17 Western Front KIA 16/08/18 Orange NSW Sergeant William Norman Bookallil 12/11/14 Middle East – Cooma NSW Driver Michael Bracks 01/11/16 Western Front 23/09/18 Werris Creek Private Alexander Bracks 26/10/17 12/08/18 Fremantle WA Private Joseph Romanus Daniels 30/07/18 New Guinea 30/03/20 Mt Lebanon Private James Callel Ferry 17/08/14 Gallipoli / France 12/05/19 Melbourne Staff Sgt. William Gaha 24/10/17 Egypt 26/09/19 Werris Creek NSW Private Jack Garnom 02/07/17 France KIA 28/03/18 Mt Lebanon Private Arthur Habib 25/04/18 Egypt 22/11/18 Mt Lebanon Driver Charles Rein Hayek 04/10/16 France 10/12/18 Concord NSW Private Aneese J aboor 20/12/15 Western Front – Lebanon Driver William Taseef Keeami 20/07/15 Middle East 20/01/16 Launceston Gunner Elias Keeami 18/06/15 Western Front KIA 15/11/17 Lebanon Private Vincent Lahood 06/01/16 Western Front 31/03/19 Redfern Private Vincent Mahboub 15/06/17 Western Front KIA 08/08/18 Lebanon Trooper Alfred Malouf 7/10/15 Middle East 04/08/19 Private John Mansour 26/01/16 France 04/05/17 Mt Lebanon 2nd Air Mechanic John Mellick 27/11/16 Western Front – Melbourne Private Aziz Michael 05/06/18 France depot 23/07/19 Toowoomba Private Najeeb Elias Moses 11/05/15 Discharged in Australia 23/06/15 Lebanon Sergeant Faig Nassoor 27/08/17 Middle East – Mt Lebanon Driver Richard George Saleeba 20/11/15 Western Front 01/11/17 Melbourne Lance Sgt. Christopher Joseph Saleeba 21/09/16 Western Front 9/06/20 Melbourne Private Joseph Saleeba 30/07/17 Western Front KIA Mt Lebanon Private Alexander Tartoosie 05/08/15 Middle East/Western Front 17/03/19 Mt Lebanon Private George Keeami 8/11/18 Discharged in Australia – Launceston
As well, a number of other Australian Lebanese tried to enlist but were discharged for reasons such as being under age or medically unfit. Richard Lahood was discharged as an enemy alien, a Turkish subject.
FIRST NAME SURNAME ENLISTED DISCHARGE BIRTHPLACE AGE Reason for Discharge William N Ferris 18/09/16 15/10/16 Orange 19 Discharged Under Age – 19 Frances Paul Hashem 02/07/17 04/07/17 Tripoli, Syrian 34 Medically unfit Richard Lahood 29/12/16 05/01/17 Mt Lebanon 21 Discharged – Enemy Alien Frank Picone Malouf 27/08/17 29/08/17 Sydney 16 Discharged as too young -16 Norman Moses 14/05/18 17/05/18 Mt Lebanon 40 Invalided out – over age Alfred Tutungi 30/10/18 11/11/18 Lebanon 28 Discharged at Armistice
First to Join
Private James Callel Ferry, for instance, was one of the first Australians to enlist 17th August 1914. He saw active service at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Luck was on his side because he survived to return to Australia in May 1919.
Vincent Mahboub – Killed in Action
Private Vincent Mahboub of the 35th Battalion AIF enlisted on 15th June 1917 but was killed in action on the 8th August 1918. He was the son of Michael and Rosie Mahboub, of Excelsior, New South Wales and was born in North Lebanon.
Sergeant Walter Abotomey
Sergeant Walter Abotomey embarked with the 1st Battalion, as a Private, aboard HMAT Orsova (A67) on 14 July 1915. He served at Gallipoli as a temporary corporal from October 1915 until evacuated with influenza a few weeks later. From August 1916 he served in France with the 61st Battalion and 1st Battalion. He was wounded in action in October 1917 and promoted to corporal. In December 1917 Cpl Abotomey was selected, along with other members of the AIF, to serve with ‘Dunster Force’; a special force established to reorganise resistance to enemy advances in Mesopotamia and Persia. In March 1918 he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. In May Sergeant Abotomey was diagnosed with severe tuberculosis. He returned to Australia in March 1919 where he died on 1 October 1920, aged 27.
Sgt. Walter Abotomey (Australian War Memorial)
Second Air Mechanic John Mellick from Rockhampton, served on the Western Front in the air corps. Private Vincent Lahood, while serving on the Western Front, was captured by the Germans and spent time as a Prisoner of War. Some, like Private John Mansour, completed their active service, in his case in France, and rather than return directly to Australia, took the opportunity of visiting their home villages in Lebanon.
The list is not exhaustive and the Society is anxious to hear of any other Australians of Lebanese heritage who served with the armed forces during World War One, and/or their photographs.
Australian War Memorial datbase (www.awm.gov.au)
Newsletter No. 49 2014 of the Australian Lebanese Historical Society Inc.
Collection of the Australian Lebanese Historical Society Inc.