Soldiers and Aliens
Men in the Australian Army’s Employment Companies in World War II
by June Factor
Published by Melbourne University Press
RRP $39.99 in paperback | ISBN 9780522878585
June Factor’s interest in this topic was sparked by her own father’s war service. The family had been in Australia less than three years when, on 16 May 1942, he enlisted in the Australian Army after several attempts.
He enlisted as a ‘friendly alien’. As it transpired there were to be four thousand Australian soldiers in World War II who signed up as ‘aliens’ for service and who never fired a weapon.
Scholars and peasants, musicians and factory workers, communists and royalists, Jews and Catholics, everyone laboured under standard strict Army regulations, living in tents and huts, loading and unloading trains, working the wharves, cutting timber and transporting goods.
They raised money for good causes, gave public concerts and staged theatre performances. They were a multicultural force in the Army long before the term ‘multicultural’ was coined.
Largely forgotten, Factor honours their contribution to Australia during World War II through this engrossing story, offering the reader new and very personal insights into a critical period of Australian history.