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Title: Without Glamour: The Social History of the 2/18th Battalion AIF in Australia and Malaya 1940-1942
Contributor(s): Willcocks, Wendy Lavinia (author); Bongiorno, Frank (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2006
Copyright Date: 2005
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: "Without Glamour: The social history of the 2/18th Battalion in Australia and Malaya in 1940-1942" narrates the story of a unit of volunteer Australian soldiers who, after a period of initial training at home, had expected to fight the Germans in the Middle East. Instead they had to adjust to the extremely trying conditions of life and garrison work in peaceful tropical Malaya. The story focuses on the interplay of relationships, experiences and actions of the battalion's members both among themselves and beyond the battalion. It also traces the development of the battalion itself. The formal military institution fashioned on conventional lines with its emphasis on discipline and training became the entity with which its members identified most. It was permeated with the spirit so earnestly sought by the battalion's commanding officer but the battalion's final shape was not the achievement only of those in command. This research uses the approach of microhistory to reveal the contribution of the soldiers themselves to that development. The soldiers proffered their views on their daily affairs, actions, experiences and attitudes in the letters they wrote home from Malaya, their post-war accounts and their recorded memories. They were individuals and had their own codes and goals. Certainly they were trained and disciplined, receiving and obeying orders from above, but although they lacked control, they proved to be not entirely powerless. The level of their enthusiasm, cooperation and even of their resistance could and did directly affect the outcome of any endeavour. This research explores the men's commitment, contribution and influence on the battalion's performance in the various facets of its Malayan experience. It considers what the men ate and wore, how and where they trained, how they reacted physically and mentally to their situation, what they did at work, at play and on leave, how they interacted with the different ethnic, military and civilian groups in Malayan society and, finally, how they performed in battle. The 2/18th Battalion was shaped by all the men who comprised it - it represented the culmination of their shared experience.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 2005 - Wendy Lavinia Willcocks
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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