Brigadier Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, VC CMG CBE

Arthur Seaforth  Blackburn, VC CMG CBE

The youngest son of Canon Thomas and Margaret Blackburn, Arthur Seaforth Blackburn attended Pulteney Street School from 1903 to 1905 and was awarded the Form IVB prize for Scripture in 1905. He later attended the Collegiate School of St Peter and the University of Adelaide, and was admitted to the bar in 1913.

VCIn 1914 he joined the 10th Battalion AIF as a private. He landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915 and with another soldier is said to have penetrated further inland than any ther Australian soldier during the campaign. After arriving in France he was promoted to Lieutenant. At Poziers on July 23, he personally led four successive bombing parties which destroyed an enemy strong point and captured nearly 350 metres of trench. He was awarded the Victoria Cross ‘for most conspicuous bravery’ at Poziers in 1916. In 1917 he married Rose Ada Kelly and was discharged from the AIF on medical grounds.

He continued his legal career in Adelaide, and became the member for Sturt in the House of Assembly 1918-1921 and in 1933 was appointed City Coroner. He was a founding member of the RSL in South Australia and its president 1917-1921.

After serving in the militia Arthur Blackburn was called up for active service in 1940 and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He went on to take command of the 2/3 Australian Machine Gun Battalion AIF. In 1942 he was appointed to command the AIF in South West Pacific area as Brigadier. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Java in 1942 and liberated in 1945.