Bravest: How Some of Australia's Greatest War Heroes Won Their Medals

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Allen & Unwin, 2008 - History - 286 pages
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The Victoria Cross is the highest award for valor that can be won by an Australian; just 96 Australians have been awarded the VC in conflicts from the Boer War to the Vietnam War. And only 14 Australians have been awarded the George Cross, the ultimate medal for heroism away from active combat, since its inception in 1940. But what is it that makes these remarkable soldiers risk everything in defense of their country and their mates? Noted biographer Robert Macklin tells the inspirational story of 15 Australian recipients of the Victoria and George Crosses, from Neville Howse in South Africa in 1900 to the heroes of the Great War such as Albert Jacka, "Diver" Derrick in World War II, and Keith Payne in Vietnam in 1969.
  

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Contents

1 One miserable scribbler and a little bit of ribbon
5
2 A matter of chance
12
3 Bullets thick as hail
19
4 I begin to hate the damned country where I was born
26
5 An ardent Australian patriot
32
6 I managed to get the buggers Sir
39
7 The bravest man in the Aussie Army
48
8 Tell Dad Im still fighting
57
21 Guest of the Emperor
158
22 That moment of decision
164
23 Courage beyond compare
174
24 Thats what Im here for Sir
185
25 His crew before himself
195
26 Ones nerves suffer a bit
203
27 A wall of fire
209
28 A war of nerves
218

9 A compelling ubiquitous figure
61
10 An ideal leader
67
11 I wasnt mad
77
12 Hit with a sledge hammer
84
13 A paradoxical attitude to heroes
94
14 To live and learn and see much
100
15 Cross purposes
112
16 Down to the wire
117
17 The endless day
125
18 The larrikin
133
19 One of our very best
144
20 One among many
150
29 Indomitable
229
30 We went and had a beer
235
31 Anomalies
245
Afterword
252
Acknowledgements
256
List of VC winners
258
Notes
261
Bibliography
265
Index
268
Back cover
279
Copyright

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Page 162 - In 1893 he was appointed a companion of the Order of St Michael and St. George, and was created a Knight Bachelor in 1896.
Page 16 - The cross is intended primarily for civilians and awards to the fighting services are confined to actions for which purely military honours are not normally granted. It is awarded only for act-s of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.
Page 7 - Irishman, an Apostate Catholic (but that is neither here nor there), but he has the gift of the gab, uses his pen as well as his tongue, sings a good song, drinks anyone's brandy and water, and smokes as many cigars as foolish young officers will let him, and he is looked upon by most in camp as a Jolly Good Fellow. He is just the sort of chap to get information, particularly out of youngsters. And I assure you, more than one 'Nob...
Page 253 - for most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.
Page 51 - Jacka's counter-attack . . . stands as the most dramatic and effective act of individual audacity in the history of the...
Page 220 - we have just received a dispatch from Seoul, advising that the North Koreans have struck in great strength south across the 38th Parallel at four o'clock this morning.
Page 76 - For most conspicuous bravery when in command of the right flank company in attack. He led his company to the assault with great skill and courage and the position was quickly captured. Fighting of a very severe nature followed and three heavy counter-attacks were beaten back, these successes being due to Captain Murray's wonderful work. Throughout the night his company suffered heavy casualties through concentrated shellfire, and on one occasion gave ground for a short way.
Page 199 - ... sufficient strength to take evasive action. After crossing the Channel there was only sufficient fuel for five minutes' flying. Flight Sergeant Middleton ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft while he flew parallel with the coast for a few miles, after which he intended to head out to sea. Five of the crew left the aircraft safely, while two remained to assist Flight Sergeant Middleton.
Page 163 - Throughout the fighting, which lasted for four days, he set a magnificent example of brave leadership, determination and outstanding courage. He not only showed fighting qualities of a very high order but throughout exposed himself to danger without any regard for his own personal safety.
Page 76 - ... courage, and the position was quickly captured. Fighting of a very severe nature followed, and three heavy counterattacks were beaten back, these successes being due to Captain Murray's wonderful work. Throughout the night his company suffered heavy casualties through concentrated enemy shell fire, and on one occasion gave ground for a short way. This gallant officer rallied his command and saved the situation by sheer valour. He made his presence felt throughout the line, encouraging his men,...

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