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From Gallipoli to Coopers Creek

Lieutenant Bruce Campbell was returning from the ravages of World War 1, still a young man, but one who has seen far too much; too much bloodshed, too much horror, too much senseless carnage to ever be the same man that left Australia several years before to take part in an adventure like no other.

His life as he knew it before joining the Australian Imperials Forces was over; his life a s soldier was in its last days as he sailed towards Australia and demobbing in Sydney.

As he reflects on the changes within himself he wonders just how he and the men under his command are going to be able to fit back into their families, what he will do to earn a living and how, in general, will he be able to cope with the changes.

He realises his family will not be able to understand what has changed him. He is also worried that his romance with fiancé Dottie was coming to an end but is unsure just why.

Cate Davis with the assistance of her father’s diaries has given us a firsthand look at one man’s war; the war that was brutal in so many ways and the aftermath left behind.

How Bruce Campbell found himself after losing his soul on the battlefields of Europe is riveting, as it is based on the diaries of a young man, Bruce Campbell who lived, served and paid the price for volunteering for his country, along with the many men struggling to fit back into a society that refused to accept so much had changed.

Bruce takes up an offer of a 2,000 acre block at a place called Coopers Creek, and begins to rebuild a once variable property, rebuilding his life along the way. He meets Grace, a woman who has also been tragically affected by the war and together they go on to build a successful life together.

Reading his story is like stepping back into a time when things were swept under the carpet, societies rules were set in stone and people were simply expected to fit back in, regardless of trauma and distress.

The firsthand account of how the Australian Officers and Soldiers viewed what was happening in Europe during the long and horrific days of the war is fascinating and throws and altogether different perspective on what was the popular, or government, version of the day!

There is also a strong social commentary on the depression and social diseases that followed in the wake of the war and the often tragic endings to the lives of the men who did return, injured physically and mentally, and the families who struggled to cope.

On all fronts this biographical story of Cate Davis father, Bruce Campbell, makes fascinating reading.

AuthorCate (Catherine) Davis
PublisherHorizon Publishing Group