• Basil James Ryan

Army / Flying Corps

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  • Enlistment - WW1

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  • Birth

    Dapto, NSW, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Basil James Ryan (alias - Basil De Courcy)
    • Posted by SwanCreekBoy, Saturday, 9 November 2019

    The caption from the above image, though badly faded, reads: ‘B.DeCourcy’. Searching this name through the available databases at the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia reveals no credible results. However a close analysis of the embarkation roll of 9 Field Artillery Brigade reveals that ‘Basil DeCourcy’ was a known alias. This soldier’s name actually was Basil James Ryan. According to his war record Ryan enlisted in Brisbane on 20 December 1915 at the age of 18 years 1 month. Why he enlisted in Brisbane and under an alias remains unclear. Ryan clearly wished to enlist but as a minor under the age of 21 he would need parental permission. The problem with this though is that his mother was miles away in the New South Wales town of Dapto and would not have been able to sign his waiver, or perhaps more likely, was simply not willing to do so. Ryan successfully enlisted and as a member of 9 Field Artillery Brigade returned to New South Wales for training at The Warren, Marrickville. Only days before embarkation the ‘DeCourcy’ alias was finally exposed. Ryan admitted that he had lied during enlistment and used his mother’s maiden name ‘DeCourcy’ instead of his actual surname, Ryan. Only days before he was due for embarkation, his mother finally signed a permission form allowing Ryan to serve abroad. Ryan was not punished for hiding his identity. This lack of punishment shows how commonplace aliases must have been in the AIF. https://maas.museum/inside-the-collection/2014/04/25/the-curious-case-of-basil-decourcy-anzacs-and-the-alias/