Cecil Fitzgerald was born on 25 April 1906 and died on 2 January 1965. He came from the Northam area in Western Australia. Cecil Fitzgerald was a fine football player and served his country in the Second World War, for which he earned an Africa Star medal. Like so many Noongar soldiers, his contribution was not recognised on his return. In civilian life, Cecil was a farm labourer, turning his hand to all kinds of work on the land. His friend wrote of him: ‘He was one hell of a nice bloke’.
Cecil Fitzgerald, a Noongar digger, grew up around Northam. He was part of a large family of seven brothers. A talented footballer, he won a fairest and best medal when playing for the Irishtown Club, near Northam in 1933. Before joining the army, Cecil worked on farms – fencing, shearing, and clearing land around the York, Dowerin and Quairading areas.
Along with his brother Raymond, Cecil joined the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) at the beginning of WW2. The remaining brothers were unable to join up, due to having families or not qualifying for the medical assessment. Shipped to Palestine, Cecil fought in the Western Desert against Rommel. He was badly injured in the siege of Tobruk when a shell fell on his battalion’s artillery gun.
When Cecil came home he lived with Patrick Gregan’s family in Dowerin, W.A. He and Patrick had trained together at the Northam army camp. Patrick’s son, Jack, says he got to know him at that time, and he was ‘a gentleman and a darn good bloke’.
It wasn’t until 2008 that Cecil Fitzgerald, and his brother, Raymond were honoured for services to their country at a ceremony in Karrakatta.