Reg Saunders: Indigenous War Hero

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       April 16, 2015


Author  Hugh Dolan: Adrian Threlfall

ISBN:                 9781742234243
Publisher:         New South Publishers
Release Date:    


During the Great War (World War 1) and subsequently World War 2 many indigenous Australians joined the Australian Armed Forces serving overseas with little recognition.

Reg Saunders was the first indigenous Australian solider to become and officer, a position which was earned on merit, respect and intelligence.

Following in the footsteps of this father Chris Saunders who had served in the Great War, and their Uncle William Rawlings who had received the Military Medal ,Reg and his brother Harry signed up for duty in the early days of WW2, proud to be able to carry on the family tradition.

They were both sent to Palestine to acclimatise before being sent into action. The last time they saw each other was on leave in Jerusalem. Harry was killed at Gona in 1942 while Reg continued in the theatre of war, serving in the Defeat of Crete, a battle which was both bloody and destructive for all involved. He managed to escape after 11 months of hiding out on the Island, supported by locals at great risk, making his way to Libya and finally returning to Australia.

 He served in the toughest areas earning respect and admiration from all who served with him. Not just for his leadership qualities but for the person he was, genuine and caring of his men. He rose through the ranks to the rank of Captain.

After spending time in New Guinea he returned to Australia moving back into civilian life. With the outbreak of the Korean War he re-enlisted joining the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment which served with distinction at the Battle of Kapyong.

Finally leaving the Army for good he then turned his talents to becoming a Role Model for Indigenous Australians, to become a unifying symbol for All Australians in a time when racial prejudice was a common place occurrence.

Reg Saunders story is one of mateship, courage, pride, a great love of his country and fellow man, one which is full of inspiration and encouragement; that with pride and determination you can accomplish great things.

His life and his legacy to all Australians has been beautifully told in this graphic novel, created to bring to life a little known story about a Great Australian.

Presented in a format which will bring to another generation the history of Australians at war, it will appeal to a younger audience who are often light on history but thoroughly enjoy a dammed good story.

This is a dammed good story, which just happens to be true.