Harold West and George Leonard were best mates who did everything together.
The pair enlisted together at Goodooga in north-western New South Wales in August 1941, were posted together to the 2/1st Battalion, and served together in the Middle East, Ceylon, and Papua New Guinea.
As young Indigenous boys growing up on the border between New South Wales and Queensland, they had been taught to hunt, track, and live off the land.
As adults, they put their specialised skills to work as bushman trackers, station hands, ringbarkers and casual labourers.
Harold, a proud Murrawarri man, was so good at his work that it was said he “could track a little black ant up a crowbar after six inches of rain”.
These skills, along with his ability to move quietly and invisibly through the bush for long periods of time, would prove indispensable during the Second World War when his battalion found itself desperately fighting to stop the Japanese advance on the Kokoda Trail in 1942.