Australian Battalion Regimental History Books

February 19, 2017

Australian Battalion History Books were some of the first Australian military war books to be published about Australia’s military involvement in WWI. At the start of World War One Australian Infantry Battalion soldiers were recruited from the Civil Militia Battalion Units. Subsequent recruitment was structured on the Pals Battalions as devised by Lord Kitchener. Kitchener recognised that men who were from the same locality would be more inclined to join if they were serving alongside their friends – men from the same town or state. This formed a deep military camaraderie and mateship amongst the soldiers.

There were some Australian military books written prior to the ending of World War One. Some of the earliest were the ANZAC Gallipoli Books that were written by Anzac campaign veterans. These Gallipoli war books were mostly formed from the diary kept by the diggers during the Battle of Anzac. Books like, Love Letters of An Anzac (1916) by Oliver Hogue, Straits Impregnable (1917) by S. De Loghe and Over There With the Australians (1918) by R.H.Knyvett.

An important exception was the ANZAC BOOK which was written by the troops at Anzac during the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign. The ANZAC BOOK was the idea Australia’s foremost military historian Charles Bean who at that time was the War Correspondent at Anzac Cove. It was the first Australian war book to document the military records or memories of the veterans of Gallipoli. When published in 1916, the ANZAC BOOK that was to benefit Patriotic Funds and early RSL Legacy movements, was very popular. This military book installed a sense of recording historical military facts amongst the troops of the Australian Imperial Forces AIF. Therefore, even before the end of WWI Australian diggers were collecting information to be included in their Battalion / Unit History Book. Men like Charles Bean (latter to publish the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 and inspired the Australian War Memorial) and General Monash encouraged the collection of war records to be included in the Battalion History. Thus it was not long after the end of World War One that the Australian Battalion History books started to appear.

Some of the earliest Battalion Regimental History Books were:

Whale Oil Guards 53rd Battalion by Chaplain Kennedy published 1919

History of The 7th Light Horse Regiment by Lt Col J D Richardson 1919

Westralian Cavalry in War – 10th Light Horse Regimental History by A.C. Olden

With the 22nd Battalion AIF by Captain E Gorman 1919

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