Digger Smith and Australia's Great War
Ordinary name - extraordinary stories
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Smiths were among the first men to land at Gallipoli. Smiths fought and died at Pozieres, Bullecourt and Passchendaele. Smiths were wounded - and treated by doctors and nurses named Smith. At home, Smiths penned patriotic doggerel and spoke vociferously against conscription. There was Grace Cossington Smith and her iconic painting The Sock Knitter, and Victor Smith, who designed a guided missile in his dad's workshop in suburban Brisbane. Australia's Smiths included the AIF's senior policeman, a Jewish VC, and the war's most famous Australian aviators. They and thousands of more humble Smiths reflect the hopes and fears, the tragedies and the triumph of Australia in the Great War. Then there are the German-Australian Smiths, the Schmidts, who fought for Australia even as Schmidts at home were vilified and interned. Just as the Great War affected all Australians, we can see the great range of their experience through the lives and deaths of those sharing the most common, representative surname.
- Allen & Unwin, October 2011
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