Walk A War In My Shoes

The Story of an ANZAC on the Western Front
by Murray Ernest Hall

On the 25th August 1895, Ernest Alfred Hall was born into a pioneering Australian family that lived on a 313-acre property called ‘Cloverdale’ near the hamlet of Beech Forest, south of the Otway Ranges, some 200 kilometres south west of Melbourne, Victoria.

As a child, it seemed he would be destined for the life of a farmer in a country that was just realising its independence through Federation, yet his path was to be diverted by the cataclysmic events that befell Europe and the British Empire.

So it was, that one month short of his 20th birthday, Ernest caught the train to Melbourne and enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. At only 5′ 3″ he was never going to be the biggest soldier in the army, but as his father said to him, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, son, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

This book follows the young Ernest, from his country-Victoria upbringing, to his enthusiastic, parent-approved, enlistment, indicative of his unbridled desire to fight for King and Country. It tracks his progress from the shores of Australia to a holding stage in Egypt and eventually to his first experiences of the mayhem, death and destruction that was France in 1916. Assigned to the Pioneer Corps, then seconded to the Tunnelling Companies of the Australian Imperial Force, he recounts the terrifying ordeal of mining below the front lines. In utter blackness, digging without a noise, only yards and sometimes inches from the Germans on the other side of thin tunnel walls. He tells of how, when they got too close, the ANZACs would rapidly organise explosive charges to bring down the earth on the enemy, before they could do the same. Viewed through the letters he wrote home to his brothers, Ernest’s journey is drawn inexorably towards the Third Battle of Ypres, centred on that little town called Passchendaele.

Like so many, Ernest Hall embarked for the war to end all wars. Unlike so many, his letters and records survived. This is his story.

Category: Autobiography, WWI, ANZAC

ISBN: 9780648222286 – Hardback: 200 pages – 6” x 9” 152mm x 229mm – Case Laminate

ISBN: 9780648222293 Paperback: 222 pages – 5.25” x 8” 133mm x 203mm – Perfect Bound