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Fuller, Colin Dunmore (1882–1953)

by Richard J. Hall

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

Colin Dunmore Fuller (1882-1953), farmer and soldier, was born on 10 February 1882 at Kiama, New South Wales, ninth surviving child of Irish-born George Lawrence Fuller, farmer, and his native-born wife Sarah Cunningham (Conyhame), née Miller. One of his elder brothers was Sir George Fuller. He was educated at the Sydney Church of England Grammar School and then worked on his father's property, Dunmore, in the Illawarra district, where he was known as a dashing and accomplished horseman.

At 23 Fuller joined the local militia unit, enlisting as a private in the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment (New South Wales Lancers). He was commissioned lieutenant in 1906 and promoted captain in 1908. As militia service became more popular a new unit, the 28th L.H.R., was raised locally and given the territorial title of the Illawarra Regiment. Fuller was appointed its commanding officer in 1912. With the outbreak of World War I he joined the Australian Imperial Force on 28 September 1914 and was posted to the 6th L.H.R. as captain commanding 'A' Squadron. After a brief period as acting adjutant he was promoted major and second-in-command of his regiment and embarked for Egypt on the troopship Suevic in December.

The 6th L.H.R. fought unmounted at Gallipoli from June 1915. In November he became commanding officer and his unit remained at Anzac until the evacuation in December, with Fuller characteristically seeing off all his men before he left the beach. He was made a substantive lieutenant-colonel in February 1916. In Egypt and Palestine he led his regiment at Gaza-Beersheba, El Mughar, Jerusalem, Katia (where he was wounded) and Megiddo, until 15 December 1918. His soldiers found him 'always approachable and always … a sport'. The 'unerring accuracy of his always rapid decisions' led to a special mention in dispatches by General Murray, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in the New Year honours of 1917 and in January 1920 received the Order of the Nile, conferred by the sultan of Egypt for 'distinguished services rendered in the course of the (Egyptian] campaign'. He held temporary command of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade from December 1918 until June 1919 when the unit returned to Australia. He remained with the militia, Australian Military Forces, as a lieutenant-colonel on the reserve of officers until 1926 when he was placed on the retired list.

On 10 March 1920 Fuller married Amy Elsie Blanche Rea at St Luke's Anglican Church, Mosman, Sydney. After the war he managed Dunmore, the family property, before retiring to Beverly Hills, Sydney; survived by his wife and two daughters, he died there of cancer on 19 September 1953 and was cremated. His estate was sworn for probate at £6835.

Select Bibliography

  • G. L. Berrie, Under Furred Hats (Syd, 1919)
  • H. S. Gullett, The A.I.F. in Sinai and Palestine (Syd, 1923)
  • R. J. G. Hall, The Australian Light Horse (Melb, 1967)
  • London Gazette, 1, 22 Dec 1916, 16 Jan 1920
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Sept 1953
  • war diary, 6th Light Horse Regiment, A.I.F. (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

Richard J. Hall, 'Fuller, Colin Dunmore (1882–1953)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/fuller-colin-dunmore-6255/text10773, published in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 1 September 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

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