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Hell, Hope and Heroes: Life in the Field Ambulance in World War I

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-1877058295
ISBN-10: 1877058297
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rosenberg Publishing (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1877058297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1877058295
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,457,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John E. Larsen on August 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
A Toowoomba lad, Roy enlisted in 1915, after previously trying in 1914 for the New Guinea expedition. He was interested in medicine and joined the 4th Light Horse Field Ambulance, becoming a stretcher-bearer. He went to Egypt and was involved at times in evacuating casualties from Gallipoli. Following the reorganisation of the army following that campaign he was assigned to 3rd Field Ambulance, which was attached to the 3rd Bde, 1st Australian Division and went to France.

Roy served in many of the big battles his division fought and was often assigned to help other units process their casualties too. For a lot of the time he worked specifically with the 9th Battalion, a Brisbane unit. He doesn't go into graphic detail about war injuries but it's clear he saw some awful things. He's one of the few to address the issue of `shell-shock' and how it reduced men to wrecks. His unit suffers casualties, mainly from shell fire. He writes that generally the Germans respected the Red Cross flag and on occasions showed unexpected compassion. He notes though that the war did a lot to turn men from all sides into brutes, and he found some of the blood-thirstiness of Australian soldiers disturbing. He feels quite lucky to get through as much as he does but a bomb injury finally sees him posted to lighter duties with a dental unit.

The strength of this memoir is the miniature of army life. Roy writes about the movement of units, the particular jobs he himself had to do and of course his experiences on leave. He also covers things like religious attitudes, the conscription debate, resentment at being overused, Anzac leave and even how much money he received as a veteran in the years after the war. It was a good perspective on ordinary matters and was quite informative and interesting.
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