From the schoolyard to the battlefield,
a dozen student soldiers put down
their books, and went to war…
The children of the 1920s grew up in the shadow of the Great War. They lived through the Great Depression and as their final years of school passed, Australia found itself in the next global conflict – World War II.
They were fathered by the veterans of Gallipoli and taught in the classroom by the heroes of Lone Pine, but one figure towered above all others in the lives of some of Sydney’s schoolboys. Captain Neil MacNeil, decorated for valour and leadership at the Battle of Loos, served as Headmaster at this small start-up school. He turned the students into cadets and armed them with rifles, preparing them for the war he saw coming.
In the desert of Tobruk, the skies above Germany and in the jungles of New Guinea, they served. 609 boys taught by MacNeil joined the fight. Our story focuses on twelve of these boys, who became men as they fought for their school and country.