The Silent Men: Syria to Kokoda and on to Gona

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Allen & Unwin, Jun 1, 1999 - History - 240 pages
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Who are 'the silent men'? Peter Dornan tells of the incredible heroism of Bruce Kingsbury, Alan Avery, Harry Saunders, Teddy Bear, the Professor and others who make up the eleven-man section that became one of the most decorated in British and Australian military history.

This is their story, and the story of the Australian 2/14th Battalion in World War II, told through the eyes of Stan Bisset, international rugby player. These men fought a bitter and costly war against the Vichy French in Syria and were recalled to defend Australia against the Japanese in Papua New Guinea. At Isurava on the Kokoda Track they were part of the Australian force that held up the all-conquering Japanese in some of the most critical and vicious battles of the war. Their story finishes on the bloody beaches of Gona with Stan Bisset being one of the few men to walk out.

Among the battalion's record swag of decorations, Bruce Kingsbury was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross - the only one given during the gruelling six-month campaign, the first awarded in the Pacific area, and the first gained in territory administered by the Australian Commonwealth.

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Page 162 - ... pace, restored contact with the battalion and returned with relief. Buckler chose Treacy for this mission when, having found a secluded native garden high on the hilltop, shrouded in cloud, the stumbling column halted there on 4th September. "Get medical supplies, food and carriers,
Page 162 - If the unit is not at Myola, push on till you find it.
Page 120 - He fired a burst from his gun through 119 one man's chest and saw the blood spurt on his clothes and run from his mouth as the man fell in a limp heap.
Page 76 - Citadel, which sits on a high rocky outcrop bordered by the sea on one side and surrounded by mountains on the other sides.
Page 92 - Thanks to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on 7 December 1941, most of them had been posted there since the first few days of the new year. The intervening eight months had seen the deteriorating condition of the Allies' position bring about a belated 'backs to the wall' stance towards the defence of Australia.
Page 129 - Somewhere in the sturdiness of the figure, in the hard, quiet eyes, in the cheeks tanned by a...

About the author (1999)

Peter Dornan has for more than 30 years been a physiotherapist in the field of sporting injuries and manipulative therapy. He has worked with many international sporting teams, including the Queensland Rugby team and the Wallabies, and has been an Olympic and Commonwealth Games adviser. His father served in the actions described in this book.

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