Marble Bar miner’s war story told in new book
A Marble Bar miner has been immortalised in a new book, a vivid exploration of the stealth attacks by Australian infantrymen during World War II.
Written by Lucas Jordan, Stealth Raiders: A Few Daring Men in 1918 tracks the evolution of stealth raids, a subject that has not been considered in depth since World War I war correspondent and historian Charles Bean.
Mr Jordan read hundreds of first-hand accounts of stealth raiders while researching the book and said Don McLeod’s “truly exceptional” story was worth telling in itself.
“It is so unique and incredible ... McLeod was no ordinary man — he was a stealth raider too,” he said.
“When McLeod heard that his battalion was to undertake a raid or small set-piece battle to capture prisoners in order to find out what the Germans planned, he decided to take matters into his own hands.”
A simple gold prospector from the bush, McLeod was one of many who defined the Australian soldier during the war.
“The stealth raiders believed they had a uniquely Australian fighting style that brought out the true qualities of the ‘Digger’ — ingenuity, resourcefulness and personal initiative,” Mr Jordan said.
Of the 204 men involved in stealth raids and named in the book, 63 per cent came from the bush, according to Mr Jordan, and came with what he called the “bush ethos”.
“Don McLeod makes a fine example — he was ‘chasing the gold’ in Marble Bar before the war and returned to the Pilbara afterwards,” he said “Because stealth raids were initiated on the spot, they were carried out with only the weapons the men carried.
“The weapon of choice was surprise, enforced by a revolver and bombs in the hands of cool-headed men.”
Mr Jordan said he was compelled to write about the stealth raids of World War II after reading about their remarkable impact.
“The Australian, alone among all the armies on the Western Front, was the master of the stealth raid,” he said. “Bush skills and a vital sense of direction gave the stealth raiders the ability to navigate these fields to attack and return swiftly to their posts.”
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