Title: The First at War – The Story of the 2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion, 1939 – 1945

Author: Givney, E.C.

Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1987

ISBN: 1862529655

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 558 pages

Comments: The history of the 2/1st Battalion 1939 to 1945 – A very scarce publication.

When reading the manuscript of the history of our sacred Second First Battalion, memories come flooding back.  Of dangers and experience shared.  Of brave men who risked all for their country.  Of those unlucky ones who were killed or wounded or struck down by disease, made worse by strain and exhaustion.  Comradeship and mutual trust and intense pride in our Battalion were the mainspring of our efforts. 

Our successes were due to a determination not to fail, not to let down our friends and comrades, to succeed or pay the price.  This story of the unit raised by Ken Eather, who commanded it and gave it its character in the Libyan Campaign, brilliantly led by Ian Campbell in Greece and Crete – both later promoted to Major General. 

During the three years I had the honour to lead this gallant band I confess I was inspired to follow in their footsteps, as well as I was able, determined to make our team as effective as possible and to set an example to the best of my ability, and with all humility, so that our esprit de corps would be recognised consciously and subconsciously by every member.  Primus agat primas.  The Kokoda Trail with its savage fighting against an enemy who had not previously been defeated, was probably the Battalion’s finest hour during my three years in command.  We were all inspired by the vital importance of our campaign to the allied cause.

The Wewak Campaign was different.  The significance to war strategy was minimal.  IN both campaigns, morale was perfect.  However arduous the task, whatever sacrifice was demanaded, on no occasion was there any faltering.  It is something that all of us can be proud of. 

I pay tribute to my comrades and feel their gallantry, courage and sacrifice and steadfastness have earned an esteemed place in the history of our nation.  What they gave was not in vain. They and men in other Services and Units all played their part gaining victory and honour.  May I thank you all for a truly great experience shared.

This is a unique copy signed by three (3) Major-Generals who all were commanding officers of the battalion during World War II.

Kenneth Eather – raised the unit and led the battalion in the Libyan campaign.

Ian Campbell – led the battalion in the Greece and Crete campaign.

Paul Cullen – led the battalion for three years, which included the Pacific campaign.

Includes Nominal Roll