Over the Top: A Digger's Story of the Western Front

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 342 pages
Author: H. Hartnett
Year: 2011
ISBN: 9781742375953
Other: b&w photos, map, appendixes
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Australia’s diggers didn’t go ‘over the top’ for King and Country, they did it for their mates and their battalion- these were extraordinary deed performed by ordinary men.

Henry George Hartnett, known as ‘Harry’, joined the Australian Imperial Force on 13 September 1915 at the age of 23. He saw action on the Western Front at Fromelles and on the Somme, receiving his first ‘Blighty’, a wound so serious he was sent back to Britain for treatment, in the Battle of Pozieres. Upon his recovery, he returned to ‘tour’ the front with his battalion – an endless cycle of fighting interspersed with brief rest periods behind the lines.

In this book Harry recalls the battles, the long marshes, and the many musing events that provided escape from the horrors of the battlefront. His moving descriptions give the reader insight into the unshakeable bonds forged between men trapped in situations they could never have imagined.

‘Over the Top’ takes the reader on an eye-opening tour of life in and behind the trenches on the Western Front. Harry’s book, which has never before been published is a magnificent gift to Australia.

Introduction by Chris Bryett
Original Preface by H.G. Hartnett
1. Marmalade Days
2. The Voyage to Suez
3. Egypt
4. Crossing the Mediterranean Sea
5. The ‘Bull Ring’, Etaples, France
6. The 2nd Battalion, AIF
7. The Front Line Near Fleurbaix
8. The Battles of Pozieres
9. Dear Old Blighty
10. Back to the Frontline Trenches at Hill 60 in Belgium
11. Marching on the Cobblestones
12. Floundering in the Mud at Flers
13. Christmas in the Frontline at Gueudecourt
14. Freezing in the Snow-bound Icy Trenches at Eaucourt l’Abbaye
15. East 1917: The Capture of Hermies
16. The Second Battles of Bullecourt, May 1917
17. A Return to Marmalade Days
18. The Battle of Broodseinde Ridge
19. The Battle of Passchendaele: Unlucky Days for C Company
20. Christmas 1917 at Kennel
21. The 1st Brigade School at Dranoutre
22. Promotion for Jack Davis
23. Anxious Days in March 1918
24. Hurrying South to Amiens
25. Helping to Check the German Advance on Hazebrouck
26. Weary Months in Hospital
27. Hopes Realised
28. Home
Appendix 1: Xmas Milestones
Appendix 2: Honours, Decorations and Ranks of the 2nd Battalion

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Over the Top: A Digger's Story of the Western Front

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