Australia and New Zealand have a proud record of sending troops overseas to fight for Great Britain when conflicts have arisen over the years. This book chronicles the transporting of these troops by ship to overseas destinations, starting with the Sudan Campaign in 1865, which was followed by participation in the Boer War at the turn of the century.
The first major international conflict to involve Australian and New Zealand troops was the First World War. During the first year of the conflict, troops travelled to the war zone in convoys, but these were dispensed with, as German naval forces were driven from the seas. These three conflicts are covered in the opening chapters.
The majority of the book is an in-depth coverage of the troop convoys of the Second World War.
From January 1940 to the end of 1941, Australia and New Zealand transported the cream of their military forces to far away battle grounds in the Middle East, where the ANZAC troops covered themselves in glory. Unlike the First World War, German naval forces remained a constant threat throughout the war, and the risk of attack was always present. Despite this, the troops were loaded in huge numbers on board the greatest liners of the day, such famous names as 'Queen Elizabeth', 'Queen Mary', 'Aquitania',' Mauretania', 'Ile de France' and 'Nieuw Amsterdam' featuring in many of the convoys.
However, the sudden entry of Japan into the war brought about a reversal of the policy of sending our troops overseas. Instead, Australian troops were brought back home in a series of convoys so they could be sent to New Guinea to repel, and eventually defeat, the marauding enemy forces.
With the end of the war the survivors were brought home on any available ship, be it an aircraft carrier or a tramp steamer.
All these troop movements are covered in depth, with numerous personal glimpses gleaned from the diaries of those who travelled in the convoys.
This is a story that has never been told before, about an aspect of war that has been largely overlooked by military historians. However, without the convoys, the outcome of the entire war would have been very different.
This is far more than a book about ships, or the war in general. It is a very different, yet highly compelling story of men thrust into dangerous situations, who coped with daily life with the courage and humour that was typical of the average soldier.
This book will be an essential addition to the library of anyone with an interest in military history, naval history, maritime history, the Second World War, or the great liners of the past.
1. The Sudan Campaign
2. The Boer War
3. World War I
4. Between the Wars
5. The First Convoy
6. The Second Convoy
7. The Third Convoy
8. August to December 1940
9. From Britain to Egypt
10. The 'Monster' Convoys
11. Reinforcing Singapore
12. The Final Middle East Convoys
13. Airmen at Sea
14. Darwin and the Pacific Islands
15. The Singapore Convoys
16. Operation Stepsister and the Fall of Singapore
17. Operation Pamphlet
18. New Guinea and the Islands
19. Coming Home
20. The Korean War
21. The Vietnam War
Appendix: Major Convoys of World War II
Merchant Ships Index
Naval Ships Index
Military Units Index