From Gallipoli to Coopers Creek
Subject: Non-fiction - Campbell, Bruce, Lieutenant.
World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns--Turkey--Gallipoli Peninsula.
World War, 1914-1918--Participation, Australian.
World War, 1914-1918--Veterans.
RRP: AU$32.99 (paperback)
This is the story of one soldier of the so called Great War. He sailed from Australia at the end of 1914, a proud, even bombastic youth with the certainty that he would do his bit to save Mother England and by doing so, set the world on the right path. He was totally ignorant of the real causes of this war and the place that the different countries played in it.
When he landed at Gallipoli though and found the air permeated with the stench of the hundreds of rotting bodies still lying where they had fallen a month earlier, he was confronted by the reality and horror of war. He records his first shot in his diary – it was far from the first time he had fired a gun, but it was the first time he had deliberately fired a shot with the intent of killing another human being.
The evacuation of Gallipoli, then the inept defeat at Gaza and the realisation that he had to become a completely different person to be able to obey the orders he was given weighed heavily on his soul. Gandhi once said that ‘Man finds himself by losing himself’, and this is the story of how Lieutenant Bruce Campbell struggled to find himself and the difficulties he had in fitting back into a society where the civilians were still thinking in terms of their pre-war society.
Returning home brought no joy either. Even things that he expected to be familiar now seemed strange and no one at home had any idea of what the war was really like. To make matters worse, he was dumped by his fiancé.
This is a biographical story about his struggles to overcome all these adversities. He finally falls in love with a woman who has also been adversely affected by the war and has her own obstacles to overcome. Between them, they carve out a happy and meaningful life on the block of land Bruce has been granted under the Soldier Settlement Scheme. It is a heartwarming story about the legacy of the war and the healing power of love.