The guns have been going all day long. It’s enough to drive you crazy…the waiting to see if this is the shell that is going to blow you to pieces… (Private Walter McAlister, 60th Battalion, 15th Bridgade)
The Battle of Fromelles began at 11 am on 19 July, 1916 and lasted less than 24 hours, but when it was over more than 5000 Australian soldiers were either dead, wounded or taken prisoner. More died in this died than in the Boer, Korean and Vietnam wars combined. Yet this, Australia’s bloodiest day at war, is not as well-known as campaigns such as Gallipoli. Fromelles: Australia’s Bloodiest Day at War attempts to redress this by providing young readers with both the facts of the battle and a glimpse at the human face of the battle.
Factual chapters are interspersed with fictional chapters telling the story of an underage soldier who enlists in Melbourne and finds himself fighting in Fromelles. There are also visual aids including maps, photographs and fact-boxes.
Carole Wilkinson has a wonderful knack of making history come alive for young readers.
Fromelles: Australia’s Bloodiest Day at War, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog, 2011
ISBN This book can be purchased from good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.