Cassim Mahomet, Acrobat, Singer, Songwriter and Vaudeville Artist, was born on the 24 July 1896 at Wee Waa New South Wales, Australia. His parents migrated to Australia from Bombay, India. Cassim was Muslim and did not have his parents blessing when joined the army. Being a Muslim he was rejected the first time he attempted to enlist and after finally enlisting he was recorded as a Roman Catholic on his army record. He enlisted as a Private in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on the 27th October 1916 at Currie Street, Adelaide, South Australia. His regimental number was 7036 and he was assigned to the 23/10th Battalion. Private Mahomet embarked on the“Berrima” on the 16th December 1916 from Adelaide, destined for France and in May 1918 was part of the 3rd Brigade, Concert Party that entertained the troops in France and England.
Private Mahomet 23/10th Battalion returned to Australia in the transport ”Konigin Luise” from England on the 18th December 1919. He arrived in Australia on the 31st January 1920, and was discharged from the AIF in Sydney on the 2nd May 1920. In 1923 he worked for the Broken Hill Propriety Ltd., New South Wales.
Cassim Mahomet was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He died, aged 61 on the 16th November 1955 and was given a Soldier’s burial on the 21st November at Auckland, New Zealand.
It is interesting to note that his younger brother Hussen Mahomet also attempted to enlist but was rejected: as he was only 14 years of age.
In April 1924 Mahomet’s Southern Cross Company (Vaudeville) opened to a large and appreciative audience in the King’s Theatre and a most excellent bright and varied programme was presented. Mahomet possessed a beautiful tenor-baritone voice and delightful personality and he endeared himself to all with, whom he came in contact. On the night Mahomet scored an instant success with his rendition of his own songs which included, ‘Australia for Mine,’ and ‘Anywhere in Aussie,’ and like the other members of the company had to respond to many encores. In 1930 after touring the world on vaudeville circuits for five years, Cass Mahomet, was known as “The Indian Digger,” was welcomed home to Western Australia by a concourse of old comrades.
On another occasion Mahomet attended the 10th Battalion AIF Reunion and annual smoke night at Australia Hall, Adelaide. Prior to the social, a short service was held at the War Memorial. Relatives and friends who attend placed wreaths and flowers on the memorial. The 10/50th A.M.F. Band led a procession of returned soldiers from the memorial to Australia Hall.
© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan