20th Battalion AIF – The Unit History is finally being written!

Hi Everyone,

We are delighted to announce that the unit history of the 20th Battalion AIF is currently being researched and written and hopefully will be out in 2014. The battalion has never had it’s World War 1 history written and now is your chance to contribute to it.

Walter_Ernest_Brown_VC_20th_BnSergeant Walter Ernest Brown VC, DCM of the 20th Battalion, AIF.

If anyone has any information or pictures of members of the battalion that you would be happy to contribute to this publication, we’d love to hear from you. Either email us at info@regimental-books.com.au or give us a call on 07-3865-2615.

And if you are interested in a copy and want to know when it’s available, just subscribe to the Back in Stock Notification for the 20th Battalion unit history book.

A brief history of the battalion…

The 20th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. A sprinkling of the 20th’s original recruits had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914. The 20th left Australia in late June, trained in Egypt from late July until mid-August, and on 22 August landed at Anzac Cove.

Arriving at Gallipoli just as the August offensive petered out, the 20th’s role there was purely defensive. From 26 August, until its withdrawal from the peninsula on 20 December, the 20th Battalion was responsible for the defence of Russell’s Top.

After further training in Egypt, the 20th Battalion proceeded to France. It entered the trenches of the Western Front for the first time in April 1916 and in the following month had the dubious honour of being the first Australian battalion to be raided by the Germans. The 20th took part in its first major offensive around Pozières between late July and the end of August 1916. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division, which included the 5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 20th Battalion provided reinforcements for the attack near Flers between 14 and 16 November, launched in conditions that Charles Bean described as the worst ever encountered by the AIF.

In 1917, the 20th was involved in the follow-up of German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter-stroke by a German force, almost five times as strong, at Lagnicourt. The Battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out, second Bullecourt (3-4 May) in France, and Menin Road (20-22 September) and Poelcappelle (9-10 October) in Belgium.

The spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive. The 20th Battalion was one of many Australian battalions rushed to stop it, and it encountered some particularly severe fighting when ordered to attack at Hangard Wood on 7 April. With the German Army’s last desperate offensive defeated, the 20th participated in the battles that pushed it ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October. Montbrehain was the battalion’s last battle of the war. It was disbanded on 20 April 1919.

We’d love to hear from anyone who also may have had a relative serve in the battalion.

Good Reading,

Glenn and the Regimental Books Team





Book of the Week! Pillars of Fire – The Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917

Hi Everyone,

Our Book of the Week is “Pillars of Fire – The Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917″ by Ian Passingham.

‘Gentleman, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography.’ So said General Plumer the day before 600 tons of explosives were detonated under the German position on Messines Ridge.

The explosion was heard by Lloyd George in Downing Street, and as far away as Dublin. Until 1918, Messines was the only clear cut Allied victory on the Western Front, coming at a time when Britain and her allies needed it most: boosting Allied morale and shattering that of the Germans. Precisely orchestrated, Messines was the first true all-arms modern battle which brought together artillery, engineers, infantry, tanks, aircraft and administrative units from a commonwealth of nations to defeat the common enemy. So why is its name not as familiar as the Somme, Passchendaele or Verdun?

This book examines the battle for the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge from the British, ANZAC and German perspectives. Illustrated with archive photographs and maps, it is a major contribution to our understanding of one of the seminal battles of the First World War.

Available now in the Regimental Books Online Store.

Good Reading,


The Black Soil, Plains and Beyond – the 1st Australian Armoured Division

Hi Everyone,

Last year we saw the launch of Cate Clark’s history of the 1st Australian Armoured Division “To Fight and Do Our Best – The 1st Australian Armoured Division in Gunnedah 1942-1943” which covered the division’s activities in New South Wales during 1942 to 1943.

The Black Soil, Plains and Beyond - the 1st Australian Armoured Division

Kate has contacted Regimental Books and has advised us that she is working on a second book called “Black Soil Plains and Beyond“. And yes, I’m very excited about it as her first title was a fascinating read.

The Black Soil, Plains and Beyond - the 1st Australian Armoured Division

In this book she plans to tell the story of the Division around Narrabri/Moree/Wee Waa in a lot more depth as well as what happened to the veterans who comprised it after they left Narrabri; some travelling to Western Australia to act as defence against a possible invasion by the Japanese, others making their way to Queensland and on to the Torres Strait Islands.

She’s already conducted many interviews with veterans and is now actively writing the book.

The Black Soil, Plains and Beyond - the 1st Australian Armoured Division
What she really needs is for people to look through their old photo albums for pictures of the time or information about the 1st Armoured Division.

If you can help out contact Kate, please drop us an email.

And if you are interested in a copy, please subscribe to the Back in Stock Notification for this title. We are hoping it will be out in 2013.

Good Reading,

Glenn and the Regimental Books Team

Sanders DFC – Out Of The Darkness. The story of WWII Bomber Command as told by Lancaster navigator, Tasmanian Max Sanders

Hi Everyone,

We have just received copies of Frank Madill’s new title “Sanders DFC – Out Of The Darkness. The story of WWII Bomber Command as told by Lancaster navigator, Tasmanian Max Sanders”.

A must read for anyone with an interest in the activities of Bomber Command during World War II.

Sanders DFC - Out Of The Darkness. The story of WWII Bomber Command as told by Lancaster navigator, Tasmanian Max Sanders

Their casualty rate was horrendous – six out of every ten who flew were killed. Their courage in the face of almost certain death was extraordinary.

The book tells the story of one man and the crew that flew with him. It is a story of fortitude, comradeship and the unwavering confidence each had in the other. Unable and unwilling to talk about his experiences in the night skies over Germany, Max Sanders’ story remained in the darkness of his memory until forty five years after the war when he met again the men who, in the time of greatest peril were true brothers in arms.

Max Sanders was an ordinary suburban lad who, like many others, became caught up in the great conflict that was World War II. He was born and educated in Launceston, Tasmania and, while still at school, joined the local newly formed Cadet Air Training Unit. In 1943 he volunteered to join the RAAF and was accepted into the Empire Air Training Scheme.

After courses at several training bases in Australia, he found himself on the other side of the world in the UK where he completed his training as a navigator. At 19 years of age, he flew in Lancaster bombers with the Royal Canadian Air Force 419 (Moose) Squadron and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry in action.

This is the story of Max Sanders’ early life and training; and his experiences, along with those of his crewmates, during their perilous tour of duty with Bomber Command in the skies over Germany in 1944.

It is an inspiring story of endurance, courage and the bond between wartime brothers in arms.

Available now in the Regimental Books Online Store.

Good Reading,

Glenn and the Regimental Books Team

Unit History of the 25th Battalion (Darling Downs Regiment) – Toowoomba to Torokina

Hi Everyone,

An exciting new militia battalion unit history is now out and will be shortly available from Regimental Books. Toowoomba’s military historian Bob Doneley has written an exciting new title on the 25th Battalion (Darling Downs Regiment).

Toowoomba to Torokina – The 25th Battalion in peace and war, 1918–45

Toowoomba to Torokina - The 25th Battalion in peace and war, 1918–45

In 1942 Australia faced its greatest peril as Japanese forces advanced rapidly southward. The philippines, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore and Indonesia had all fallen and the only land mass of significance between the Japanese and Australia was the island of Papua and New Guinea. If it fell, Australia, too, would eventually fall, effectively delivering the entire south-west Pacific into Japanese hands.

With the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) fighting in North Africa or entering captivity in Singapore, the defence of New Guinea fell to a handful of Militia units. These units, a mix of pre-war volunteers and conscripts, were given the task of defending the approaches to Port Moresby, New Guinea’s capital city. While most Australians are aware of the defence of the northern approach to Port Moresby over the Kokoda Track, few are familiar with the earlier battle to defend the eastern approach through Milne Bay. Without the battles of Kokoda and Milne Bay, Port Moresby would have fallen and with it, New Guinea.

Like Kokoda, the initial Japanese thrust at Milne Bay was met and halted by untried Militia troops. Experienced AIF battalions then counter-attacked and drove the Japanese back, securing Port Moresby, New Guinea — and Australia itself. One of the Militia units that held the Japanese at Milne Bay was the 25th Battalion from Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, originally raised prior to the First World War. From Milne Bay, the 25th Battalion went on to fight in Bougainville, clearing the Japanese from one of their last strongholds north of Australia. Toowoomba to Torokina traces the proud history of the 25th Battalion from the end of one war to end of the next.

It tells the story of the men from Toowoomba and the Darling Downs who answered the call to fight a war that would threaten their country’s very existence. Like their First World War predecessors, they fought a determined foe in hellish conditions with, as the Battalion’s motto decrees, ‘Never a Backwards Step’.

Available from the Regimental Books Online store.

Good Reading,

Glenn and the Regimental Books Team

An Update – Gallipoli to Tripoli – History of the 10th Light Horse Regiment AIF 1914-1919

Hi Everyone,

A quick update for you all.

Neville Browning’s recent title “Gallipoli to Tripoli – History of the 10th Light Horse Regiment AIF 1914-1919″ sold out very quickly before Christmas however more copies should be available soon.

If you are chasing a copy, please click here to sign up for our Back in Stock Notification to receive an email when it is back in stock.

This all new regimental history seeks to complement and add to Arthur Olden’s earlier history, first published in 1921. The author’s have sought to shed new light and information on the doings of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, from it’s formation in Perth in October 1914 until the end of the Great War and Egyptian Uprising.

Good Reading,

Glenn and the Regimental Books Team

Game to the Last – The 11th Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli

Hi Everyone,

I have some exciting news – “Game to the Last – The 11th Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli” by James Hurst has been reprinted and is now readily available again.

Game to the Last - the 11th Battalion at Gallipoli

The narrative follows the battalion members as they leave their homes and lives in Western Australia, embark for overseas service, experience the excitement and boredom of arid and exotic Egypt, and undergo their baptism of fire in the first wave of the Australian and New Zealand landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

Game To the Last casts its net wide to find and tell these men’s stories and is the culmination of many years’research. Author James Hurst has visited the men’s training grounds and battlefields, homes and graves. Many previously unpublished personal accounts provide the heart of the narrative, while extensive research provides context and colour.

This is a story about sons, brothers, husbands who became soldiers in a bloody war on foreign soil. Their experiences are documented and retold with admiration and respect, and remind the reader of the human face of war.

Available shortly from the Regimental Books Online Store for only $34.95.

Copies are on their way so please subscribe to the Back in Stock Notification to be notified when copies have arrived and be amongst the first to get your copy.

Good Reading,

Glenn and the Regimental Books Team


The Submarine Six – Australian Naval Heroes

Hi Folks,

A new and really exciting title is now available – “The Submarine Six – Australian Naval Heroes” by Dr Tom Lewis.

Any Australian asked to mention our war heroes could probably name General Monash and Albert Jacka VC from World War I, and then Weary Dunlop, and perhaps Field Marshal Blamey from WWII. A knowledgeable few might be able to suggest Australia’s greatest fighting air ace, Clive Caldwell.

But who could name our naval heroes?

Naval conflicts take place often far from our shores. Ships and men sometimes disappear, to leave only mystery in their wake. In the 1990s the Royal Australian Navy broke with tradition, and for the first time named six submarines after six naval heroes.

This book shows the true depths of their achievements. These were men whose warrior exploits stand alongside those of any from other nations. But they have been largely unrecognised, save for those submarines.

Captain Hec Waller, for example, fought to the end in HMAS Perth, alongside fellow cruiser USS Houston. The Houston’s Captain Rooks was deservedly awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour, America’s highest honour. Captain Waller, by comparison, was given distinction, but not of the highest rank. Should he have been given the Victoria Cross?

Other heroes stand alongside him. Emile Dechaineux, hero of Dunkirk and the North Sea, battling it out against Japanese kamikaze attack. John Collins, taking HMAS Sydney to victory against Italian cruisers.  Hal Farncomb – the first Australian to command an aircraft carrier, in action off the French coast.

But The Submarine Six also examines whether two more men deserve further honour. Teddy Sheean, tenacious gunner from Tasmania, fought to the end in HMAS Armidale. Robert Rankin commanded HMAS Yarra against fearful odds, dying in defence of his convoy, attacked by overwhelming Japanese forces. Are they also VC candidates?

Three of the men are from Tasmania, the island state which in WWII contributed more seamen per head of the population than any other state. All of the six are men of determination, bravery, and incredible resolve. Worth analysis, worth following, and worthy of greater recognition – Australian heroes all. The Submarine Six brings forward six naval warriors to stand alongside any other military achiever.

Available now from the Regimental Books Online Store.

Good Reading,

Glenn and the Regimental Books Team

Wounds and Scars – From Gallipoli to France, The History of the 2nd Field Ambulance, 1914 – 1919

Hi Folks,

I’m delighted to announce a new Australian unit history has now become available.

Wounds and Scars – From Gallipoli to France, The History of the 2nd Field Ambulance, 1914 – 1919 by Ron Austin.

This is a unit history of the 2nd Field Ambulance which was raised in Victoria in 1914. After training at Broadmeadows camp it sailed to Egypt and after several months training in the desert it landed at Gallipoli with the 2nd Brigade on the 25th April 1915. The work done by the Stretcher Bearers in evacuating the wounded from Gallipoli is often described in the words of the participants. After the evacuation of Gallipoli the unit trained in Egypt before moving to the shell-pocked, muddy wasteland of the Western Front in April 1916. The same dedication to duty continued through the three long years in France and Belgium. The use of personal diaries and letters enhance the story of this fine Victorian AIF unit.

Available now in the Regimental Books Online Store for  $55.

Good Reading,