5RAR Book Reviews Page



Author: Robert Kearney


Foreword By

Neil Wilson
Major General AM RFD
Assistant Chief of the Defence Force Reserves
Head of Reserve Policy

The Book: Silent VoicesThis book is a unique amalgam of painstakingly researched official history, personal accounts from the men who made the legend and insightful comparisons with modern warfare based on the author's considerable personal experience. The story of the men of The Fighting Tenth is told here as they would have it told; self-effacing, understated and matter of fact, but with an underlying theme of mateship, courage, determination, sacrifice and devotion to duty.

From its earliest days, the 10th Battalion was identified as showing extraordinary promise. At Morphettville on 4 September 1914, when the battalion was less than three weeks old, General Sir William Bridges, the commander of the 1st Division, said, 'I think they will uphold the reputation held by Corps from the mother country when the serious business of warfare has to be contended with.' The men of The Fighting Tenth did that and more. From Gallipoli, through Pozieres, Mouquet Farm, Gueudecourt, Hill 60, Flers, Le Barque and Bullecourt the battalion established an enviable reputation as a disciplined, courageous and outstanding unit. The subsequent operations under Lt Col Maurice Wilder-Neligan at Polygon Wood, Merris, Crepey Wood and Jeancourt were magnificently conducted and further added to the reputation of the battalion.

It was my honour to command the 10th, and subsequently, the 10th/27th Battalion from July 1986 to April 1990. During that time I was fortunate to meet some of the members of the original 10th Battalion and to share their experiences.

Their voices, and the voices of their mates, now silenced through the passage of time, call out from these pages. It is difficult to be a member of this battalion and certainly not possible to command this battalion without being acutely aware of the enormity of their legacy. I commend this book to anyone who would begin to understand the legend.

On behalf of all those who will read this work, I congratulate the author, Robert Kearney, on an outstanding achievement. He has captured the spirit of The Fighting Tenth and presented it here in an enthralling and eminently readable manner.