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Over the Top With the Third Australian Division
G. P. Cuttriss
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divisions and two mounted divisions, fully officered, fully equipped,
and stamped with the seal of brilliantly successful performance; and
has created and maintained all the hundred and one national activities
upon which such an achievement depends.
We are still too close to the picture to realize the miracle which has
been wrought, or to understand in all their breadth the factors on
which it has depended; but, fundamentally, and overshadowing all other
factors, the result is based upon the character of the Australian
people, and upon the personality of the Australian soldier.
It is the latter factor which, to one who has been for so long in
intimate daily contact with him, makes the closest appeal. It is from
that close association, from the knowledge born of experience of him
in every phase of his daily life, that the Australian can be
proclaimed as second to none in the world both as a soldier and as a
fighting man. For these things are not synonymous, and the first
lesson that every recruit has to learn is that they are not
synonymous; that the thing which converts a mere fighting man into a
soldier is the sense of discipline. This word 'discipline' is often
cruelly misused and misunderstood. Upon it, in its broadest and truest
sense, depends the capacity of men, in the aggregate, for successful
concerted action. It is precisely because the Australian is born with
and develops in his national life the very instinct of discipline that
he has been enabled to prove himself so successful a soldier. He obeys
constituted authority because he knows that success depends upon his
doing so, whether his activities are devoted to the interests of his
football team or his industrial organization or his regiment. He has
an infinite capacity for 'team' work. And he brings to bear upon that
work a high order of intelligence and understanding. In his other
splendid qualities, his self-reliance, his devotion to his cause and
his comrades, and his unfailing cheerfulness under hardship and
distress, he displays other manifestations of that same instinct of
Some day cold and formal histories will record the deeds and
performances of the Australian soldiery; but it is not to them that we
shall turn for an illumination of his true character. It is to stories
such as these which follow, of his daily life, of his psychology, of
his personality, that we must look. And we shall look not in vain,
when, as in the following pages, the tale has been written down by one
of themselves, who has lived and worked among them, and who
understands them in a spirit of true sympathy and comradeship. The
Author of these sketches is himself true to his type, and an
embodiment of all that is most worthy and most admirable in the
JOHN MONASH, _Major-General_.