Great Upstarts. "That Magnificant 9th: An Illustrated History of the 9th Australian Division 1940-1946" by Mark Johnston and "Alamein: The Australian Story" by Mark Johnston and Peter Stanley. [review]
At 9.40pm on 23rd October 1942, in the North African desert, the heavens lit up with myriad flashes from more than one thousand guns, and the roar of the British Commonwealth Eighth Army's opening barrage rolled out towards Field Marshal Rommel's poised Panzerarmee Afrika. Promptly, at 10 p.m., when two search-lights arced across the sky, beams crossing, the waiting infantry from Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Great Britain rose from weapon pits, where they had been lying doggo all day, and began to fight their way forward through wired and dug defences, and ingeniously laid enemy minefields stretching up to six thousand metres deep. The intense fighting that followed over the next twelve days is recounted graphically in "Alamein", co-authored by Mark Johnston, Head of History at Scotch College, Melbourne, and Peter Stanley, of the Australian War Memorial. "That Magnificent 9th: An Illustrated History of the 9th Australian Division 1940–1946", also written by Mark Johnston, has the unique distinction of telling the 9th Division's entire wartime story through the medium of more than 200 photographs. They trace the Division’s history through the growing pains of recruit training to its final campaign of the war, at Brunei-Labuan in north Borneo.