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Pioneers of Australian Armour

In the Great War

Pioneers of Australian Armour tells the story of the only Australian mechanised units of the Great War. The 1st Australian Armoured Car Section, later the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol, and the Special Tank Section were among the trailblazers of mechanisation and represented the cutting edge of technology on the Great War battlefield. The 1st Armoured Car Section was raised in Melbourne in 1916, the brainchild of a group of enthusiasts who financed, designed and then built two armoured cars. Having persuaded the Australian Army of the vehicles’ utility in the desert campaign, the Armoured Car Section, later re-equipped with Model T Fords and retitled the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol, provided valuable service until well after the Armistice. The First World War also saw the emergence of the tank which, despite unpromising beginnings, was to realise its potential in the crucial 1918 battles of Hamel and Amiens. A British Mark IV tank which toured Australia in 1918 demonstrated the power of this new weapon to an awestruck Australian public. Much of the story of the armoured cars is told in the voices of the original members of the section and in newspaper articles of the time which highlight the novelty of these vehicles. Painstaking research has produced a remarkable collection of images to accompany the narrative, many never previously published. Biographies of the members of these extraordinary units are also a feature of this book, their stories told from the cradle to the grave. Appendixes provide a wealth of supporting biographical and technical information that enriches the text and adds factual detail.

David Finlayson (MEd, BA, Dip Ed, & Grad Dip Ed) was born in Melbourne in 1964. He served in the Army Reserve with the 4th/19th Prince of Wales’s Light Horse Regiment in the early 1980s. In 1983 joined the Department of Defence later resigning to join the Victorian Education Department in 1990. He currently teaches history at a northern metropolitan secondary college and is the Honorary Historian for the RAAC Officers Mess at the School of Armour. His family has had a long-standing relationship with the both RAAC and the Army Tank Museum. Since 2005 he has contributed to RAAC’s Journal Ironsides, and The Shrine of Remembrance’s Magazine Remembrance. In 2011 he coedited The AFV School - 70 years of Training Australian Armour and in 2012 published Green Fields Beyond, a biographical Honour Roll of Australian Light Horse and Armour from 1939.