“Gallipoli is overrated”. So states author and retired IEU member Ron Inglis, who has just published Lest We Forget the Western Front, a Guide to Following in the Footsteps of the First Australian Imperial Force in Britain, Belgium and France, a revised edition including GPS coordinates.
The book is an attempt to draw attention to the overlooked conflict.
During World War I, 8000 Australians died in the eight month Gallipoli conflict and 50,000 in the three years of horror that was the western front in France and Belgium.
Yet it is Gallipoli that has captured the imagination of the public when it comes to commemorating World War I.
In the foreword Ken Inglis (no relation) Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, writes: “This guidebook is a labour of love. As its arresting title implies, Ron has been provoked to authorship by what strikes him as an overemphasis on Gallipoli in Australian scholarly and popular writing about the First World War at the expense of what happened in France and Belgium”.
Although Ron has retired from teaching geography and economics he has retained his IEU membership, and has been a continuous member since March 1981.
His book has been published on behalf of Auburn RSL, and he’s still actively involved in education.
Ron writes: “I recently had to review a new history text book for teenage high school students. The Gallipoli campaign case study takes up 17 pages while the western front gets just six sentences!”
However, western front ‘tourism’ is growing in popularity. It is a common pilgrimage for British school excursions.