Honouring his mates in print
WAR stories shared over a few beers have inspired a book written by Coffs Harbour author Norman Mitchell, that details the battlefield experiences of two of his closest mates.
Glenn's War on the Kokoda Trail is a dramatised tale recounting both the ground and aerial campaigns to stop the Japanese advance on Australia in the Papua New Guinea highlands.
The book combines the stories of a soldier fighting with the 'rag tag' 39th Infantry Battalion on the Owen Stanley Range and the encounters of a Kittyhawk pilot engaged in dog fights with bomber squadrons and sorties of Mitsubishi zeros.
"One part of the books tells exactly how close the Japanese came to breaking through the lines," Mr Mitchell said.
"As the story goes on one particular night they could see the lights of Port Moresby. Very few Australians realise how close they came. We all know about Gallipoli, but if you ask people about the 39th not many people know of the determined defence that saved Australia.
Mr Mitchell said the book is based on the battlefield stories shared by his mates Doug and Glenn in confidence at the Royal Aero Club.
"They wouldn't have wanted me to write up their stories while they were alive, but now I feel its important their stories are not lost to history," Mr Mitchell said.
"Two of my closest mates were in the thick of the fighting. Although never mentioning their activities to family members, they were able to relate their individual stories to me when we shared time together over a glass or two at the Royal Aero Club at Bansktown."