Those we Forget: Recounting Australian Casualties of the First World War

By David Noonan
Published by MUP | Academic  www.mup.com.au
RRP $59.99 in paperback  ISBN 9780522866674

Those We Forget: Recounting Australian Casualties of the First World War by David Noonan
Those We Forget: Recounting Australian Casualties of the First World War by David Noonan

This is another book that has been sitting on my review bookshelf for some time. It is David Noonan’s PhD dissertation that has been published by Melbourne University Publishing. I think this book will be primarily of interest to serious military historians, professional and amateur, of World War I. On a lighter note, I smiled when I read his acknowledgements. The final thanks is to his partner Susan for her ‘patience, support, counsel and tolerance (you’re not talking about the war again’)’! I wonder how many other authors of military history books encounter similar domestic tension.

About the book: The official Australian casualty statistics suffered by the men of the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War are seriously wrong, according to Noonan, with significant inaccuracies and omissions. His research, examining over 12,000 individual soldiers’ records, has revealed that hospitalisations for wounding, illness and injury suffered by men of the AIF are five times greater than officially acknowledged today. So why has it taken nearly one hundred years for this to come to light? Was it a conspiracy to suppress the toll, incompetence of Australia’s official war historians Bean and Butler, or was it simply the unquestioning acceptance of the official record?

About the author: Over a decade ago, David Noonan read the first of more than a hundred letters written by his grandfather from the Western Front. That was the impetus for a journey that took him through France and Belgium, retracing his grandfather’s footsteps. His interest turned into a PhD at the University of Melbourne’s Department of History and Philosophical Studies and a course in statistical sampling methodology at the Statistical Consulting Centre, in the Department of Mathematics. His research into the truth of what really happened to the men of the AIF in the First World War has resulted in Those We Forget.

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