[Editor: This review of “The History of the Thirteenth Battalion, A.I.F.” was published in the “Books and Bookmen” column in The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 22 March 1924.]
The Fighting 13th
“The History of the Thirteenth Battalion, A.I.F.,” by Thomas A. White (Sydney, Tyrrell’s), 12/6.
If any explanation were needed for the appearance of this history it is contained in a challenge by General C. H. Brand. “Can anyone,” he said, “show me a battalion with a finer record than the 13th?”
Lieut.-General Sir John Monash adds emphasis to this declaration of the fair fame of “the Fighting 13th.” Among all the varied opportunities he has had of associating himself with war records General Monash affirms that nothing of the kind has given him greater pleasure than an invitation to write a foreword to the present book. “For the 13th Battalion of the A.I.F.,” he says, “was dear to me in an especial degree, as is the first-born to the patriarch. It was the senior battalion of the Fourth Australian Brigade, with the responsibility for the raising and training of which I was honored in the earliest days of the Great War. The 13th led the way, and set the standard for the whole of that famous brigade, and history now testifies to the very high standard of efficiency and performance which that brigade achieved, first in Gallipoli, and later on the western front … The story of this battalion rests upon the pride in their unit, the concern for its prestige, the ardour for its reputation, and the zeal for its traditions, which were, from first to last, fostered and cherished by every man who entered its ranks.”
It is these qualities that form the basis of Captain White’s story. Although, probably, finding it an effort to condense into reasonable space the battalion events of four years, he has run the whole gamut, from the “Rosehill cough” days of 1914, right through Gallipoli and the various sections of the western front. It is a “family” history, and yet a national record, made thrilling by a recital of the deeds of brave men, including the famous Lieut.-Colonel H. W. Murray, V.C., C.M.G., D.S.O., D.C.M., C. de G.
A lance-corporal at the Anzac landing, Murray’s record of promotion and honors is one of the most brilliant in the Empire’s forces. Of such as he and Lieut.-Colonel Marks, D.S.O., M.C. (who was drowned at Palm Beach, in 1920, when attempting to rescue a stranger) was the Fighting 13th made.
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 22 March 1924, page 14
A.I.F. = Australian Imperial Force; the First Australian Imperial Force was created in 1914 to fight in World War One, the Second Australian Imperial Force was created in 1939 to fight in World War Two
C. de G. = the Croix de Guerre: a French medal awarded for meritorious acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy (the medal could be awarded to both French and Allied military personnel)
C.M.G. = Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, a British order of chivalry
D.C.M. = Distinguished Conduct Medal: a medal awarded for “distinguished, gallant and good conduct in the field” (the medal was awarded to soldiers below commissioned rank in the military forces of the British Commonwealth)
D.S.O. = the Distinguished Service Order: a medal awarded for meritorious service during wartime, usually awarded regarding service in combat (originally only awarded to commissioned officers; the award was utilised by the military forces of the British Commonwealth)
the Great War = the First World War (1914-1918), also known as World War One
John Monash = Sir John Monash (1865-1931), a civil engineer, and a leading Australian army general during the First World War
Lieut.-Colonel = Lieutenant-Colonel
Lieut.-General = Lieutenant-General
M.C. = Military Cross: a medal awarded for “acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land” (originally only awarded to those ranked from warrant officers to captains, inclusive; the award was utilised by the military forces of the British Commonwealth)
patriarch = the male head of a family or of a household; the male founder or ruler of a tribe, village, ethnic group, institution, organisation, religious order, country, etc.
V.C. = Victoria Cross: a medal awarded for conspicuous acts of bravery in wartime (it is the highest military decoration which can be awarded in the military forces of the British Commonwealth)
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]