He cherished, like all his family, ties of affection and family mythology to his lowland Scottish heritage. The Scottish virtue of unswerving loyalty meant unreflecting acceptance of Great Britain as the font of all that mattered in the world besides the bush Australian ethos of strength and endurance.

What began as an adventure ended in horror too profound for speech. The farewells, the adoring young ladies, the troopship, England, and the training on Salisbury Plain, were in line with all the British empire tales heard in childhood. The daily slaughter of the trenches never ceased to be a part of his nightmares. A childhood spent hunting kangaroos made him an excellent shot and earned him the post of sharpshooter, the man sent ahead alone to pick off the enemy. About this he could not speak, except to describe the common experience of the trenches, a kind of fellow feeling for the opponent. His worst memories were the screams of wounded horses, and the sight of men being driven back to the trenches at rifle point.

For Memorial Day, Jill Ker Conway’s description of her father in The Road from Corain.

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