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Off the Shelf (Vetaffairs Summer 2019)

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Walk a War In My Shoes
By Murray Ernest Hall, 226pp, $23.50, 

This book follows Ernest Alfred Hall, from his country-Victoria upbringing, to his enthusiastic, parent-approved, enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force. It tracks his progress to a holding stage in Egypt and eventually to his first experiences of the mayhem, death and destruction that was France in 1916.

Assigned to the Pioneer Corps, then seconded to the Tunnelling Companies, he recounts in his letters the terrifying ordeal of mining below the front lines. In utter blackness, digging without a noise, only yards and sometimes inches from the Germans on the other side of thin tunnel walls. He tells of how, when they got too close, the ANZACs would rapidly organise explosive charges to bring down the earth on the enemy, before they could do the same.


Leadership Secrets of the Australian Army
By Nicholas Jans, 208pp, $29.99, or the Allen & Unwin website

The military assumes no-one is born a natural leader, and that good training makes good leaders. Drawing on his own long military career and defence training programs, and on research, Nick Jans has identified the core principles of this consistently successful approach to leadership. These ‘3Rs’ are the leadership skills that generate loyalty and commitment at an operational level, and they are just as successful in everyday team management as they are in the field.

Leadership Secrets of the Australian Army includes real stories from the field and from workplaces, from everyday employees and from well-known leaders. It shows how you too can become a leader your team can believe in, and – equally importantly – how you can help them believe in themselves.


Just Doin’ Me Job 
By Warren Baker, 103pp, $22.50 

The book is biography of a young sailor, Ron Gregg, who was just 18 when he joined the Royal Australian Navy in early 1941. He was posted to HMAS Vampire, then based in Singapore, shortly before the Japanese invaded Malaya. The Vampire joined HMS Thanet in investigating a Japanese landing at Endau on the lower east coast of the Malay Peninsula. In a short, sharp, naval action, Thanet was sunk with the Vampire barely making it back to Singapore.

Vampire sailed from Singapore, just prior to the surrender, with many refugees aboard, for Ceylon (Sri Lanka). She was sunk along with the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes on 9 April 1942.

Able Seaman Ron Gregg then joined HMAS Australia and 15 months later joined a Fairmile Patrol Boat ML 820 and went through the remainder of the war, up to February 1946, in the New Guinea theatre.

Available from Caboolture-Morayfield RSL Sub-Branch or the author at  

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