‘It’ s a treasure trove. It’ s previously unknown, candid images of our troops just out of the line. Men with the fear and experiences of battle written on their faces.’
— General Sir Peter Cosgrove
Investigative journalist Ross Coulthart, joint winner of the Prime Minister’ s Prize for Australian History 2015, brings together stunning images of Western Front diggers and the amazing stories behind them.
A trove of portraits taken in the tiny French town of Vignacourt just behind the frontlines was found a century later in an ancient metal chest in a French farmhouse.
The collection of detailed glass plates has been hailed as one of the most important First World War discoveries ever made. Haunting images show diggers enjoying a brief respite from the horror of the trenches: having their portraits taken for a lark, for a keepsake or to send to loved ones. For all too many, this would be their only memorial, and to gaze into the eyes of these men is to meet a lost generation.
This fully revised and expanded paperback edition (though warning: it’s large and heavy!) offers a wealth of fresh information including more soldiers newly identified with the aid of their families.
‘These stunning black and white photographs stand as mute, yet eloquent, witness to the courage of soldiers and the horror of war… Remarkably informative, beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched…’
— Ross Fitzgerald, Sydney Morning Herald
Just released in Britain: The Lost Tommies
An ancient metal chest in a French farmhouse. A treasure trove of previously unknown, candid photographs of troops just out of the line, many gathered for the Battle of the Somme…
One of the most important First World War discoveries ever made. A glorious companion to The Lost Diggers: the book that made Ross Coulthart’s name. The Lost Tommies is now at the top of Amazon’s Historial #1 on Amazon.co.uk historical biographies! And here’s part of the Sunday Times (London) notice: ‘But most of what is said about those we euphemistically call “the fallen” seems hollow when placed in proximity to this book. “We will remember them”, for example, is clearly false. They have vanished like melted snow, and but for this astonishing cache of pictures, we should not even know how they once looked. Whatever ideas you have about the Great War, The Lost Tommies will change them.’
Stop Press: Sixty Minutes journalist Ross Coulthart had shared top prize in the history category at the Prime Minister’s literary awards for his investigative biography of one of Australia’s greatest war correspondents, Charles Bean. Ross shared the prize with David Horner, who wrote an unofficial history of ASIO called The Spy Catchers.
On the eve of the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign comes a long overdue new biography of this iconic Australian war correspondent, C E W Bean. Charles Bean’s wartime reports and photographs mythologised the Australian soldier and spawned the notion that the Anzacs achieved something nation defining on the shores of Gallipoli and the battlefields of western Europe. But did Bean tell the whole story of what he knew? In this new biography, Ross Coulthart explores not only the veracity of Bean’s post-war official history but also how closely his actual experience from his diaries and other first-hand accounts compares with what he actually wrote as a journalist during the conflict. Publisher: HarperCollins Australia.
“A fascinating and important record of First World War history. There’s an intimacy about these photographs I’ve never seen before… it’s like looking back into time, looking into the eyes of men who’ve just been in battle.” — Australian War Memorial historian and First World War expert Peter Burness. Publisher: HarperCollins Australia.