Author(s): Jim Haynes
Here are the stories of Australia's iconic battles and campaigns from the time of federation to the Vietnam War. Some are still household names, although their historical significance may be a mystery to most Aussies. Others are barely remembered now, but are part in our history and deserve to be retold.
Most importantly, this collection demonstrates the extraordinary courage, resilience, stoic humour, personal heroism and sacrifice that created the legend of the Aussie digger, soldiers, sailors and airmen who did things their own way and earned the undying respect of both their allies and their enemies.
These are the stories that explain Australia's wartime reputation. Fifteen years before Gallipoli, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writing of stoic Australian courage, would say, 'When the ballad makers of Australia seek for a subject, let them turn to Elands River'. Of Gallipoli, a British officer called the cheerful, insubordinate Aussies 'the bravest thing God ever made'. And before the Normandy invasion, Field Marshall Montgomery's chief of staff remarked, before the Normandy invasion, 'I only wish we had the Australian 9th Division with us this morning'.