The following books have been written, and often self-published, by veterans. If you have a book for a subsequent edition, please email vetaffairs [at] dva.gov.au, noting that we may not have room to include it in the hard copy, but will include all online. Please provide the following: title, name of author, blurb (short description that we reserve the right to edit), publisher (if any), price, how to buy it, and image of front cover.
Please note that the following are not reviews or promotions of the books. DVA takes no responsibility for the accuracy of their content or the opinions expressed in them.
A Skipper’s Tale
By Doug Arrowsmith
For the last two years, Doug Arrowsmith and his daughter Judith have been working on his memoir, A Skipper's Tale. The title refers to his time in Bomber Command as a Lancaster pilot in 460 Squadron, completing 35 operations; and later as a champion lawn bowler. For someone who turned 100 in April 2022, his memory is exceptional. His writing style has produced an autobiography that is very readable and will play an important role in ensuring his story endures for future generations to come.
- Pages: 194
- Cost: $33 (incl packing and postage)
- To buy: contact Judith - email: jarrow1551 [at] yahoo.com.au
The Passion of Private White
By Don Watson
This book is about the 50-year struggle of Nev White, a National Serviceman, and the involvement of himself and members of his Vietnam rifle platoon in volunteer work in a Northern Territory Aboriginal homeland. A great read about the problems facing Aboriginal homelands, the clans involved and what was done to develop a community.
- Pages: 336
- Cost: $37
- To buy: Big W and bookstores
From Duntroon to Darazinda: A Compilation of Engineering & History through War and Beyond
By Lt Col Daniel Simpkins
From Duntroon to Darazinda traces Dan Simpkins’ postings in the Army after graduating from Duntroon. He was in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and England, then worked on engineering projects in Samoa, PNG, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Georgia. Dan spent 24 years working on a contract basis with the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, the most prestigious consulting engineering company in Australia, but finally COVID ended his work overseas.
- Pages: 647
- Cost: $39.15
- To buy: Amazon
The Australian Somalia Journal 1992–1994
By Gary Conquest and Paul O’Brien CSC
The journal encompasses a group of Australian and New Zealand Somalia veterans in showcasing the events, personal stories, and the work conducted as part of ASC UNOSOM (Operation Iguana). The operation involved the NZDF Supply Platoons and the 1 RAR Battalion Group (Operation SOLACE) from 1992 to 1994 in Somalia. These units ensured food reached the Somali people during a ravaging famine, despite the Somali warlords who held their own people to ransom for food and water.
- Pages: 592 (hardcover)
- Cost: $135 plus $20 postage
- To buy: contact Gary Conquest at admin [at] veteransofsomalia.au
A Son of Empire – An Englishman in the Australian Army in the First World War
By Lucie Davison and Rob Gray
Steve Cornish was born in 1887 and killed in action in 1917, one of the millions of victims of the First World War. He was an ordinary man – a son, brother, father and husband who simply lived his life and did what he thought he should. He spent a little over a year as a soldier and died minutes into his first action. This book places him within the world he experienced, from the vast historic events to the ordinary, day-to-day aspects of life. It details Australian Imperial Force (AIF) recruiting, kit, weapons, food, training, troopships, the lead-up to the Battle of the Menin Road, and the first day of that battle from the perspective of the 9th Battalion.
- Pages: 212
- Cost: $9.99 (USD) ebook
- To buy: Amazon, Books2Read, Google Books
Journey of a Jackaroo: The Life of Leslie Stansfield – Little Brother to Soldier Settler
By Margaret Stansfield and Gary Barker
This biography is the factual story of Leslie Stansfield who served in the Second AIF as a trooper in the 2/4th Armoured Regiment in Bougainville. He arrived in Australia aged 18 in 1939, went jackarooing, then enlisted, served in action, was discharged into the wilderness in 1946, and slowly rebuilt his life. He arrived on King Island as a soldier settler in 1956, achieving his ambition to be a farmer, but tragically died in 1961 aged 40, as a result of his war service. The book is real, raw and factual, written from a soldier’s viewpoint and finally free of the censorship of superiors. The administrative bungling of the soldier settlement scheme and the effect on the veteran is also covered.
- Pages: 262, with photographs and maps
- Cost: $40.00 plus postage
- To buy: contact Gary – gary.barker3 [at] bigpond.com or 0409 446 475
By Hank Koopman
This book tells the story of two youngsters, Hank and Donna Marie, who married much too young, but survived a remarkable journey of discovery together. From the Cold War, Malaysian Confrontation, to Vietnam and life in the Navy from 1964 to 1973. The couple then travelled across Australia many times as troubadours in their motor home and also performed on cruise ships in the USA and South Pacific.
- Pages: 368
- Cost: $40.00 (including postage and MATES CD)
- To buy: hankkoopman [at] telstra.com
By Cyril Ayris
An Army General and a State Premier became strange bedfellows in their efforts to persuade the federal government to form a Pilbara-based regiment to protect the North. The politician, Sir Charles Court, and the soldier, Major-General Ken Taylor, were a formidable combination, and they were not above playing the system to achieve their aim. As a result, the 5th Independent Rifle Company was raised to take over coast watching and to extend its patrols across a staggering 1.3 million square kilometres of dangerous semi-desert all the way to the Northern Territory border. Desert Diggers celebrates the Regiment’s 25th anniversary.
- Pages: 130
- Cost: $25.00 plus $10.00 postage
- To buy: contact John Geoghegan, email – historian [at] tpraw.org