Tom Skeyhill wasn't what he appeared to be. Landing at Anzac Cover on the
morning of 25 April 1915 as a signaller with the 8th Battalion, First Australian
Imperial Force, Tom quickly recognised danger and feigned blindness to escape.
Wearing smoke-glass goggles he returned to Australia as a 'blind soldier-poet'.
His book of verse "Soldier-Songs from Anzac" quickly sold 50,000 copies.
Reinventing himself as charismatic public speaker, in 1917 Tom relocated
himself to the USA where his engaging tales of heroism raised funds for
the war effort and underpinned his lucrative career. He wrote to war diary of
Sergeant Alvin C. York, America's most decorated WWI hero, on which Howard
Hawk's film, "Sergeant York" was based, Gary Cooper winning his first Oscar in
the title role.
Spinning exaggerated and often erroneous tales, Tom's public lectures proved
to be excellent theatre but truthfulness was a casualty of Tom's restless
ambition; an ambition which eventually brought him down.
'Swinging the Lead'
'An Idea of American Manhood'
Introduction: Tom Skeyhill, Signaller 8th Battalion, First AIF
The Place, of Places Dear (1895 to 1914)
- 1. Life Before Work
The Red, Red Realm of Mars (1914 and 1915)
- 2. From Broadmeadows to 'The Sacred Scarp'
- 3. Cape Helles, Krithia and Alexandria
Australia's the Land for Me (1915 to 1920)
- 4. Back to Australia: Publication, Spruiking and Recruiting
- 5. War Effort and a Foothold in the USA
Holding the Line (1921 to 1924)
- 6. Home Once More After Russia, in Disguise
- 7. Heroes and Hero Worship
Into the Future (1925 to 1926)
- 8. Life as a 'Raconteur of Observational Fact'
- 9. Mussolini, 'Mammon from Heaven' and Trouble on the Lecture Circuit
Dixie Land from the Window of a Train (late 1920s)
- 10. Leaving the Redpath Bureau, After Finding 'a National Metaphor for
Patriotism'. Sergeant York
- Broadway and The Unknown
Moon Madness (1929 to 1932)
- 12. His Own Aircraft
Epilogue: A Posthumous Reputation?
- A 'Fundamental Document of Americanism': Seargeant York and Hollywood
Appendix: The Lecturing Voice of Tom Skeyhill