Title: The Soldier Who Never Grew Up
Author: Clift, Ken DCM
Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 1976
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 199 pages
Comments: This collection of short stories are about real people, they are filled with humour, pathos and compassion, while the scenes are set in many different parts of the world such as Palestine, the Western Desert, Alexandria, Ceylon, Australia and New Guinea’s steaming jungles where men faced death not only from a ruthless enemy but also disease, despair and disillusionment on a trail called Kokoda.
Kenneth Rochester Clift DCM (January 1916 – July 2009) (Service No. NX3698) is an Australian recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and author of The Saga of a Sig (1972) during his time with the 6th Division Signals.
The day after war was declared, Clift enlisted with the Second AIF and sailed in the first convoy to Palestine. He saw service in Libya, Egypt, Bardia, Tobruk, Greece and Crete then, while returning to Australia, stopped in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he completed a commando selection course. He later fought in the Kokoda Track campaign.
He entered the war as a signaller in the 2/1st Battalion (part of the 16 Brigade, 6th Division) and was discharged as a Lieutenant in the 1st Australian Parachute Battalion in October 1945. He was in hospital when the war ended, after fracturing his back in a parachute jump. He always said that being a corporal was the easiest rank to get, noting that he was promoted to it four times in one year – and was busted back down again the same number of times.
Clift was regarded as a near miss for the VC – in Tobruk in 1941. He and two other linesmen, working ahead of the advancing troops, took on a battery of Italian field guns protected by machine-guns. With a cry of “At them, boys”, Clift lead the charge – between them they had with two pistols, a rifle and a few grenades – to capture the guns and about sixty enemy soldiers.