37,576 Australian aircrew graduated from the EATS. Over 300 were killed whilst training for war and 9874 aircrew were killed or listed as missing while on active duty. Those who fought under this scheme during World War II amounted to just 6.7 per cent of Australian service personnel serving overseas yet the aircrew losses amounted to almost 25 per cent of all the Australian fatalities during the war. This made serving in EATS among the most hazardous duties of the war.
The Empire has an Answer was researched using more than 35 000 articles, from 150 metropolitan, regional, and district newspapers, and what materialised was a story of one of, if not, the greatest training programs the world has seen.
Follow the journey from the conception and implementation of the scheme, through recruitment and basic training, flight training, and then into combat. The individual accounts woven into the narrative provide a first-hand experience of the triumphs and trials of typical airmen and airwomen who performed extraordinary feats in a time of great need.
The significant achievements and success of the Empire Air Training Scheme has for the most part been overlooked in our history, until now.
Tony was the inaugural winner of the RAAF Heritage Fellowship in 2014 and wrote his debut book The Empire has an Answer in fulfilment of this award. The book, based on more than 45 000 newspaper articles from the period, draws on the lived experience of numerous men and women to paint a picture of life in the Empire Air Training Scheme during World War II. It is no surprise that Tony was drawn to the life of historian and military history. Born in Singleton NSW where his father served in the Army, Tony can trace his family’s military history from his four-times great-grandfather, a Marine Private on the First Fleet, through his grandfather in the Light Horse at Gallipoli and Egypt to his father’s service in the Malay Emergency. Other family served in Viet Nam, including in the AATTV, one, a convicted horse-thief, was a jockey in the first Melbourne Cup, and another was the first dual winner of the Stawell Gift. In 1980, aged sixteen, Tony joined the RAAF as a technical apprentice and served as an Airframe Fitter and then Photographer. He continued his photography in civilian life before completing a Bachelor of Social Science in 2008 and an award-winning PhD in 2013.
Though Tony has published articles in an array of academic journals this is his debut book. Tony’s previously published work focusses on post-colonial Australia and examines training for purpose.
His works include an award winning PhD on the Rural Schools of Queensland, an examination of the difficulties faced by school teachers educating the children of Prison Warders on a prison island, the history of the Sheffield Shield and the importance of Queensland’s first win in the summer of 1994/95, and the attempt by two brothers to create ‘New Australia’ in in Paraguay and how this led one brother to train colonial school children in the new methods of agriculture.
The ISG unintentionally gained a fascinating insight into Saddam’s dictatorship through interviews with most of ‘the Quartet’, Saddam’s senior committee of trusted lieutenants, and uncovered a web of international corruption surrounding Iraq’s erosion of UN sanctions.
The author interweaves his daily experiences in Iraq with interviews with Saddam’s men and historical analysis of pre- and post-war Iraq. He explores Australia’s intelligence relationships with allies and also covers the human rights issues in the coalition occupation of Iraq, as well as the development of the insurgency in Iraq and the rise of ISIL.
This story is not just about the Iraq War; it’s a rare look into Australia’s allied intelligence relations, and the international politics, intrigue and corruption surrounding the war.
This book, the result of many years of research, details the work of the Company from its raising in August 1914 until the end of the war in November 1918. Drawing on both official records and personal papers, it explores the varied activities of an engineering unit, ranging from the taxing work of building bridges and other vital infrastructure in and behind battle zones to the highly dangerous task of extending trenches and barbed wire obstructions on the front line.
From senior command levels down to the rank-and-file Sappers, the book combines a careful account with personal experiences and observations to present a compelling portrait of the unsung heroes of the AIF. As an example of the role of engineers in the First World War, Purple Patch offers an authoritative examination of the achievements of this most notable unit.
Elliott follows Oscar from his carefree childhood in the Blue Mountains through his training over the vast emptiness of Canada to the mist-shrouded patchwork landscapes of Britain and on to the hostile skies of occupied France. He uses the accounts of the two surviving aircrew to piece together the events of the fateful night that saw most of the crew of Lancaster JA901, affectionally know as Naughty Nan, perish as pilot Colin Dickson heroically manoeuvred his burning aircraft away from the towns and villages that dotted the landscape. This has been a difficult book for Elliott to write as it contains a harrowing description of his uncle’s last moments. The terrible impact of the deaths of the aircrew are vividly described alongside the miraculous tales of the two survivors.
But for the family of Oscar Furniss there would be no miracle, just the lingering weight of deep and lasting grief. This is a story that moves beyond the technical descriptions of bombing missions to describe the human toll of conflict. It underlines the crucial importance of commemoration, of refusing to allow those who perished in war to be forgotten. Theirs was a sacrifice that we who live in freedom should never forget.