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The First Ashore by Peter Burgess

A small but significant group of Queensland's 9th Battalion Anzacs holds the unique honour of being the first soldiers ashore at the Gallipoli landing. Their identity was a serious matter of battalion and unit pride for World War 1 Diggers and, for many Queensland communities and families, today, these men represent a proud connection to the Anzac Legend. The author's extensive research of wartime letters, diaries, newspaper reports and interviews has confidently identified 26 of the approximate 30 Anzacs who landed in this first boat ashore. To honour their sacrifice and promote awareness of their contribution to the Anzac Legend, their life stories are re-told Each story intimately reveals the experience of ordinary Australians in war. Heroic actions and horrendous ordeals are recounted, and neglected aspects of the Gallipoli landing, such as the role of 9th Battalion scouts, highlighted. Mateship, self-sacrifice, dedication to duty and changing identity become recurring themes.

A strong focus is also placed on the post-war lives of those who survived. The immense problems of repatriation and the war's devastating impact on families and communities are revealed. Many men from the first boat suffered broken lives but, for some, their unique identity as first ashore, 'original' Anzacs inspired strength and leadership. Important contributions were made to community and veteran affairs.

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