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With a reputation for being hard to discipline, generosity to their comrades, frankness and sticking it up any sign of pomposity, Australian soldiers were a wild and irreverent lot, even in the worst of circumstances during World War II. In Larrikins in Khaki, Tim Bowden has collected compelling and vivid stories of individual soldiers whose memoirs were mostly self-published and who told of their experiences with scant regard for literary pretensions and military niceties. Most of these men had little tolerance for military order and discipline, and NCOs and officers who were hopeless at their jobs were made aware of it. They laughed their way through the worst of it by taking the mickey out of one another and their superiors.
From recruitment and training to the battlegrounds of Palestine, North Africa, Thailand, New Guinea, Borneo and beyond, here are the highly individual stories of Australia’s World War II Diggers told in their own voices – warts and all.
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