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Memoirs of an Anzac

a first-hand account by an AIF officer in the First World War

Memoirs of an Anzac by John Charles Barrie
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Against his mother’s wishes, John Charles Barrie joined the Australian army in 1909. Five years later, he was on his way to Egypt as an officer with the Australian Imperial Force. He survived the war to write his memoirs, which were kept by his family for 80 years.

Made public for the first time, this book gives first-hand accounts of Barrie’s wounding at Gallipoli on that fateful first Anzac Day, his recuperation in England, and the friendships he made there. It chronicles his escape from rehab so that he could return to the war in France, and his fighting for days on end, waist-deep in mud in the trenches.

Memoirs of an Anzac tells of the horrors of war, but it is also lightened with the good humour that resulted from thousands of young Australian men being thrown together in dire circumstances. This is not a history textbook, nor is it a series of diary notes and letters — it is a gut-wrenching, heart-warming true story that will move you.


‘If [Barrie] were a war poet, he would be a bush balladeer, galloping assuredly from one stanza to the next, breathlessly evoking one adventure after another in vivid, syncopated detail … Barrie’s book offers a timely reminder that not everyone felt the war was a pointless waste of life. For some men, the war was their reason to live.’ The Weekend Australian

‘[Barrie’s] account of trench warfare is deeply personal, detailing friendships, discomfort, disagreements and mischief. Barrie wrote his story in the 1930s, but it was never published. His granddaughter rescued the manuscript. We are in her debt.’ The Adelaide Advertiser

Scribe Publications Pty Ltd; March 2015
296 pages; ISBN 9781925113686
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Title: Memoirs of an Anzac
Author: John Charles Barrie; Ross McMullin