Best known as the ‘Rats of Tobruk’ for their involvement in that well known seige, the Australian 9th Division was one of five volunteer AIF divisions raised in Word World II. From its formation in 1940 until it was disbanded in 1946, the division fought in Tobruk, El Alamein, New Guinea and Borneo, being widely praised and gaining more fame than any other Australian division.
In That Magnificent 9th author and military historian Mark Johnston traces the history of the division. Whilst there are plenty of facts, figures and maps, the focus is on providing a visual record, with hundreds of photographs providing unique insight into the life and feats of the members of the division. Whilst there are official and press photographs, some of the most telling and personal come from the private collections of veterans.
Of course, the photographs themselves are well supported with Johnston’s well-researched commentary, providing a detailed history of all aspects of the Division’s entire existence. There are detailed tables of the Divsion’s casualties and of bravery awards bestowed on members of the Division.
Not light reading, this is instead informative but accessible, sharing an important part of Australia’s history to those who may not know it, and providing greater insight for those who do.
That Magnificent 9th, by Mark Johnston
Allen & Unwin, 2002, this edition 2005