It is a story common to many Australian families – a history of military service that spans generations and decades. It is the story of the soldiers of the Dowsett family of the Bexley-Hurstville area of Sydney, New South Wales and their time serving with the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF) in World War I and the Second Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF) in World War II.
With two cousins in the first war and two brothers in the second, the Dowsetts’ experiences would range from the bitter trench battlefields of Gallipoli and France and the deserts of Sinai and Palestine in the Great War, to the the loss of Malaya and the ignominy of captivity, and to the hot, humid battlefields of the disease-ridden jungles of New Guinea. All volunteered to serve.
Their periods of service cover some of the most significant events of both wars in terms of the Australian Forces and the experiences that forged their reputations – the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign, The Battle of Beersheba, the Third Battle of Ypres, the Fall of Singapore, the New Guinea Campaign, Changi and the Thai-Burma Railway.