Courage and Compassion: A stretcher-bearer’s journey


Courage and Compassion

A Stretcher-bearer’s Journey from No-man’s Land and Beyond

By Don Farrands

Published by Big Sky Publishing

RRP $29.99 in paperback | ISBN 9781922488305

Barrister Don Farrands became interested in the story of his grandfather Nelson Ferguson when his mother shared some old long-forgotten diaries her father had kept in which he described the daily life of a stretcher-bearer.

Nelson Ferguson, from Ballarat, was a stretcher-bearer on the Western Front in France in World War I. He survived the dangers of stretcher-bearing in some of Australia’s most horrific battles: the Somme, Bullecourt, Ypres and Villers-Bretonneux.

In April 1918, at Villers-Bretonneux, he was severely gassed. His eyes were traumatised, his lungs damaged.

Sadly, the effects of mustard gas claimed his eyesight, bringing a premature end to the art teaching career he had resumed post war.

Courageously enduring this terrible consequence of war, he was able to assist his son and son-in-law in their stained-glass window business.

Advances in medicine finally restored his sight in 1968, allowing him yet again to appreciate the beauty around him, before his death in 1976.

This book, an updated version of The Glass Soldier (2017), tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary man.


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