Extract from an interview with the author, Dr Daphne Elliott, InDaily, Thursday 24 April 2014: 

"The letters generally skirt around the details of the fighting as well as the squalor of life in the trenches, partly for reasons of security and partly to put on a brave face for the family back home.

Reading between the lines, the shocking loss of life at the First Battle of the Somme was clearly a low point for Arthur Davison; one of the letters mentions the horror of treading on corpses or body parts in the pitch blackness of the trenches at night.

Away from the front, Davison made the most of his leave with trips to London or Paris, dining out and making frequent visits to the theatre.

“He was usually broke by the time he went back to duty,” author Dr Elliott said.

He even found time to romance a young Frenchwoman named Madeleine, although the relationship did not survive his return to Australia.


An Australian soldier's first-hand account of World War One told through letters home to his parents. 

Arthur Davison was an original member of the 17th Battalion, raised in Liverpool in March 1915. 

This fascinating new book provides a new and human perspective on the reality of conflict. 

Over 120 original letters  have been painstakingly transcribed to bring the story to life. 

The book combines letter with the relevant history to paint a detailed portrait of the 17th battalion. 

This is the story courageous and spirited young man, ready to sacrifice himself for his nation. 

Endless battles, not only against the enemy but cold, mud, wind and tedium are revealed in stark detail, as are lively accounts of leave periods in London and Paris. 

Football matches, the voices of friends and neighbours at home and the many charming references to Madeline show that in spite of all the hideous experiences of war, the human spirit could not be extinguished.

A wide rage of contemporary issues, the social and political background in Australia that is picked up from points in the letters: the climate, the drought, the flu epidemic of 1918, the issue of conscription, unrest and strikes all fill out the drama that was taking place on the battlefields.

Sponsored by the Association of 17th Infantry Battalions, the School of International Studies, Flinders University, and the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Saluting their Service program.


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Dr Daphne Elliott will be traveling to Gallipoli for the ANZAC Centenary Commemorations from 20 April.
Media requests: Hannah Frank 0427 636 837



1. Send email to daphne.elliott@flinders.edu.au with number of copies required (@$38.50 each + $12.50 postage & handling for up to 2 copies), name and postal address.

2. Transfer total by direct deposit using details below and send email notification to daphne.elliott@flinders.edu.au.

Daphne Clair Elliott
BSB: 065 115
Acct No: 10379481
Please send email notification to

3. You will receive order confirmation and your books will be mailed to you.


The author, Dr Daphne Elliott is available for media interviews, and guest speaking at events. 

To arrange an interview, please email daphne.elliott@flinders.edu.au or ring 0427 636 837 for urgent enquiries. 

Thank you for your interest in this book. 


Australian Federal of University Women (AFUW) Magazine, April 2015
Australian Federal of University Women (AFUW) Magazine, January 2015

Narooma News, Wednesday 19 November 2014
The Advertiser, Saturday 5 April 2014

INDAILY, Thursday 24 April 2014