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About This Book Blog?

Booksforever is an online bookstore that specializes in Australian Military history books; both new and rare.

The books available at Booksforever are for the most part from specialist Military publishers and authors who have dedicated themselves to Australia’s War history.

If you are searching for a rare, out for print book and can’t find it; email us. We probably can!

Visit: Australian Military History Store

 

 

 

Victoria Cross (VC) Medal History

The Victoria Cross (also known as the VC) is the highest awarded medal for bravery under fire that can be given/awarded to countries of the Commonwealth. This medal is awarded to a Soldier who has shown the highest level of valour under extreme danger on the battlefield; by carrying out a duty or duties above and beyond what is asked or considered possible. It is a decoration awarded that forsakes all other medals in its importance. The U.S. has a similar medal called the Medal Of Honour.

The Victoria Cross came into being in 1856 during the Crimean War by Queen Victoria; with the first recipient receiving the Victoria Cross just one year later in 1857. It is a Military medal which can be awarded to any person in the Military and there is no rank ‘minimum’ needed to be awarded the VC. (This decoration can also be awarded to civilians). Many Soldiers, who have been awarded the VC, have received it posthumously.

Captain Neville Howse was the first Australian to be awarded the VC back in 1900 during the Boer War. The last Australian VC winner (as of this article) was Corporal Cameron Baird (posthumously). To date of this article 1357 VC medals have been awarded.

The Battle Of Kapyong – Korean War 1951

The Battle of Kapyong (known in China as the Battle of Jiaping) took place on the 22nd to 24th April in 1951 in South Korea against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (under the command of Peng Dehuai) during the Chinese Spring Offensive. When the Chinese Army successfully defeated the 6th South Korean Division who were defending Kapyong valley; their path to Seoul was now open for advancement.

This vital piece of land in South Korea had to be defended and the 27th Commonwealth Brigade was to provide the support for repelling the Chinese Army’s advancement. The 27th Commonwealth Brigade included Australia’s 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment which was under the Leadership of Colonel Bruce Ferguson. Ferguson later won the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership during the battle.

The other countries that comprised the 27th Commonwealth Brigade included New Zealand (16 Field Regiment, RNZA), Canadian troops (2nd Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry – 2PPCLI); and with U.S. Military support (Company A, 72nd US Tank Battalion & Mortar Company support).

The 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment was awarded the * Distinguished Unit Citation along with 2nd Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry – 2PPCLI, 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion. * The Distinguished Unit Citation was later in 1966 re-named to the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation.

The Chinese Offensive was a costly and bloody battle with many casualties and deaths on both sides; but of all the Chinese suffered most heavily. If however the Chinese were successful and did advance to Seoul, General MacArthur had plans to use Atomic weapons!

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KAPYONG – DVD Documentary Overview

The Korean War isn’t called the forgotten War without reason. Many battles fought by the Australian’s and Allied forces are largely unknown and slipping into the pages of history.

The 3 RAR members giving personal stories include: Stan Connelly, Jack Gallaway (Author of The Last Call Of The Bugle), Ben O’ Dowd (Author Of In Valiant Company), Bob Breen (Author of The Battle Of Kapyong).

The story begins with the Australia’s 3RAR arriving at Kapyong and being stationed in a village they nicknamed the Sherwood Forest; for a hard earned break after 6 months of heavy fighting elsewhere. The rest period given to 3 RAR doesn’t last long. They are moved to Hill 504 in case the South Korean Division is overrun – which would leave the valley open for invasion. A ‘just in case’ scenario. The Canadian 2nd Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry – 2PPCLI is placed on Hill 677 on the other side.

It is soon realized when they see the 6th South Korean Division Soldiers running towards them and heading South that they will soon be front line troops when the Chinese Army appears.

It isn’t long before the Chinese attack Hill 504 and this prompts the U.S. 72nd Tank Battalion towards the Australians for back-up. However the Australians and U.S are not in communication with each other; so when the U.S. Tanks become overrun by Chinese Soldiers – they are forced to retreat. This leaves the Australian Soldiers of 3 RAR on Hill 504 alone to take on the advancing Chinese Army on the that hill. Although the Chinese Army didn’t have the firepower and advanced weapons of the Commonwealth forces, they used Guerrilla Warfare tactics; perfectly suited for the terrain and extremes of weather in South Korea.

What makes this an excellent documentary on the battle is that it tells of not only the battle itself; but also gives a history on how the Korean War started and the vital points to its lead up. Maps are used to explain the advancement and Military strategies used by both sides throughout the documentary and these help immensely to understand the narration (which is also very easy and understandable for the layperson).

The documentary does an extremely good job at narrating the story as it unfolded on the days of the battle in late April 1951. The sound and picture quality is excellent.

Would you like to order: KAPYONG ON DVD?

Battle Of Maryang San

Beginning on the 3rd October members of the 1st Commonwealth Division including 3 RAR mounted their first attack on Hill 199, 220 and Kowang San (Hill 355). These hills were taken first due to their strategic positioning and for later use as a base for the battle of Maryang San.

The Battle of Maryang San (Hill 317) itself started on the 5th October 1951. Maryang San is the name of the hill near the Imjin River where Australia’s 3 RAR (3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment) under the command of Frank Hassett mounted their battle against the Chinese Army (People’s Volunteer Army). The attack began early morning October 5th and was the 3rd attempt by allied forces to capture this hill; with two previous attempts by U.S. troops having failed.

In China this is known as the Defensive Battle of Maliangshan and lasted from the 3rd to the 8th October. Although the capture of Maryang San at first was successfull; within one month the Chinese Army had re-taken the hill.

The 1st Commonwealth Division included U.K, Canadian, Australia and New Zealand and a small number of Indian and South Koreans.

Order: Battle Of Maryang San – Book

Medics At War – 2/13th Field Ambulance

Only one unit book was written on the 2/13th Field Ambulance in the Second World War. It was called Medics At War - An Abridged History & Anecdotes of the 2/13th Field Ambulance (AIF) 1940-1945. This book was written by Len McCarthy in 1996 and reprinted in 1997. Both now long out of print.

Medics At War contains A Nominal Roll, training of the Unit and their service in India, Middle East, Palestine, Syrian Campaign

medics at war book

Sparrow Force Units

Sparrow Force was a World War 2 combined Unit sent to Timor to stop the Japanese Invasion. It consisted of the following Australian and British Units:

– HQ Sparrow Force
– 2/12th Field Ambulance RAAMC
– 2/40th Australian Infantry Battalion
– B Troop – 18th Anti-Tank Battery RAA
– 2/2 Independent Company (Commandos)
– 2/1 Heavy Battery RAA
– 23rd Brigade Signals RASC
– Australian Army Service Corps
– 75th Light Aid Detachment
– 22nd Dental Unit
– No. 2 Section: 2/11th Field Company RAE
– 2/1st Fortress Signals
– 2/1st Fortress Engineers
– Members of 79th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery

Battle Honours For Sparrow Force:
Koepang, Timor

footstps of sparrow force dvd

 

 

 

 

For More: DVDs On Sparrow Force

Buy – Doomed Battalion – 2/40th Unit History

Buy: Doomed Battalion (this link will take you to our Australian bookstore for ordering)

The extremely popular unit history of the 2/40th (Second Fortieth) Australian Infantry Battalion is now available as a 2nd edition. After its original release in 1995 and later out of print status; the Doomed Battalion has been very hard to find and prices in the second-hand book market have reflected this. Now this second edition is available as a Hardcover (1st edition was only soft) with updated material; it is now easily available to everyone once again.

The 2/40th Battalion was raised in 1940, Tasmania and was part of the 23rd Brigade, 8th Division AIF.

Margaret Clark Q&A: Military Historian

margaret clark

Order Book Online?

Click Here> 36th Battalion Book

 

An introduction:

Margaret Clark is currently working as a volunteer at the Manning Valley Historical Society undertaking research and assisting with the mounting of display material. This work follows on from a varied career as a teacher, researcher and public servant. Margaret holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of Sydney.

Photos are copyright Margaret Clark.

Questions:

1/ Margaret, you have already written a book called ‘Postcards From the Front’ which was on Alfred Haynes postcards sent home during the Great War. Was Alfred a relative? Or was this book based on research you undertook for other reasons?

Margaret/ My first book, ‘Postcards From the Front’ was published by the Manning Valley Historical Society in 2010. It is based on over 200 postcards that I discovered in a box in the Archives. These postcards commenced with the departure of Alf Haynes from Australia until his final card stated that he had a ship and was returning home. The postcards deal with the issues of separation and of mateship. To enhance the message contained in these cards I drew upon other letters written by men from the Manning Valley who had gone to fight in Europe and to put it all in perspective also researched the role of the 36th Battalion in the conflict. This book was launched one year later in France as I had been caught by the ash cloud over Europe in 2010 and had been unable to arrive in Villers Brettoneux in time for Anzac Day.

2/ You must have got very emotional at times when doing research and spending many months and years of time researching someone’s life in War? Especially in the case of Postcards From The Front, which is based on just one Soldiers life?

Margaret/ It is hard not to become involved in the stories that the men tell through the medium of letters, postcards and of course their journals. It can be heart rending to discover on turning a page to discover that there are no more entries and the soldier has been killed.

3/ Your second book ‘Carmichael’s 1000’ (A History of the 36th Battalion AIF); is due for release at the end of April this year. What made you select this specific Unit to research?

margaret clark photos 2Margaret/ While undertaking research for this book I discovered that there had never been a history published relating to the exploits of the 36th Battalion so I contacted the Army History Unit which encouraged me to write ‘Carmichael’s 1000’. The Army History Unit were able to help with a grant that assisted me with travel/research costs. After several years of research and many wonderful contributions from descendants of the men of the 36th this book is finally ready for publication.

4/ Tell us just a little about the 36th Battalion AIF?

Margaret/ The 36th Battalion owes a lot to one man, Ambrose Carmichael. He was a member of Parliament on the outbreak of war and decided to put his considerable talents to use in raising a battalion. Carmichael went to France with the Battalion, serving as a Lieutenant. The Battalion was raised partly among rifle clubs throughout NSW and partly through the use of posters. The men came from the four corners of the State, although the majority enlisted in either Sydney or Newcastle. A number of the men joined the North Coast Marchers as they marched south from Coffs Harbour. The men tended to be older than earlier battalions raised at the commencement of war and given the number of wounded who had already returned home had no illusions about the conditions that they were to encounter.

The battalion trained at Rutherford near Maitland before leaving for Europe in May 1916. margaret clark photos 1Their training continued at Lark Hill and they finally arrived in the Armentieres sector just in time for one of the coldest winters in 30 years. They suffered through the winter and were in place, acting as the carry party for the Battle of Messines Ridge. Their next major engagement saw them trudging through the mud and slime of the Passchendaele campaign, where, although they reached their objective, were forced to turn back. The conditions were against them and they lost a large percentage of their force. After yet another winter they were rapidly deployed to combat the German breakthrough on the Somme. Here they gained their greatest victory as they definitively arrested the German advance in front of Villers Brettoneux. This was to be their final major battle as at the end of April 1918 the Battalion was disbanded and the men distributed among other battalions in the 9th Brigade. Their story as a battalion ends here but the men fought on – Amiens, the Hindenberg Line, the St Quentin Canal – in all of these engagements the surviving men of the 36th participated. Finally Victory and the long wait for a ship home for the survivors. Some, having survived the war fell to the scourge of the Spanish Flu.

5/ Was Alfred Haynes from the 36th Battalion?

margaret clark photos 4Margaret/ Alf Haynes, the man who inspired ‘Postcards From the Front’ served with the 36th Battalion until it was disbanded when he was transferred to the 33rd Battalion.

6/ Is there anything you found during your research on the 36th Battalion AIF for your book Carmichael’s 1000’, that didn’t make it to your final book – but you wish it had? I guess there comes a point when you have to set a finish date and with that there may be something that just got left out? Some special piece of information or photo you would like to share here?

Margaret/ So many people have contributed photographs and stories of events in the lives of these soldiers. Unfortunately space prohibited the use of all the material. These are a few of the photos that didn’t make it into the book. (Margaret is referring to the photos seen in this blog post for which we are very thankful)

margaret clark photos 37/ Now complete and getting ready for release; are you looking at other units to research and publish histories on? Your Father was in the 2/30th Battalion World War 2 and was a POW in Changi? So will the 2/30th history be written by you?

 

Margaret/ Following on from this book I will move towards WW2 and the experiences of my father who served with the 2nd/30th Battalion in Malaysia. While a POW of the Japanese he kept a journal into which he wrote letters that couldn’t be posted, a description of the events of 1942-3 and his early years of captivity. He also collected over 60 poems from men in Changi which I intend to publish shortly.

margaret clark photos 58/ With the Soldiers, Units they served in and the Wars they fought now moving further into the past; what do you feel should be done on a national level to ensure they are never forgotten? It would be great to see a copy of these Unit books in every school library for a start!

Margaret/ I believe that the story of Anzac will never be forgotten as it is deeply embedded in our consciousness as a nation. However, it is important that the subject continue to be a major part of the history syllabus and that encouragement is given to those wanting to add to our knowledge of these events and the men who participated in them. I believe that governments should play a major role in assisting those who wish to conduct research and publish books relating to past conflicts.

Margaret, thank you for spending the time to answer these questions for Booksforever about your two books! And good luck with the launch of ‘Carmichael’s 1000’. Authors who dedicate themselves to keeping history alive are very special indeed. We are proud and fortunate to have people like yourself dedicating your time to this cause! Thank you!

Q&A With Author Wes Olson

I have just finished a blog post covering an author Bio and Q&A with Western Australian author Wes Olson.

Wes is the author of three books to date which include Battalion Into Battle, Gallipoli – The Western Australian Story, Bitter Victory – The Death Of HMAS Sydney (with a fourth in the works on H.M.A.S Sydney II) due for release 2016. His latest book “Battalion Into Battle” sold out its first print run in 6 months. It is now in 2nd edition and available at Booksforever – while the 2nd edition lasts of course!

I contacted Wes to ask him to send a small bio of himself simply because i enjoyed the book and it is one of our top sellers here at Booksforever. I then also added some questions to finalize our chat. The hard part about asking questions to anyone is what to ask, and when to stop asking as not to push to much! So hopefully you will find the post interesting and enjoyable as I did writing it up.

For those who would like to hear more about this Military historian and author including our Q&A, please head here for the full blog post: Military Historian Wes Olson