Ratbag, Soldier, Saint
The real story of Sergeant Issy Smith VC
|Paperback / softback
|472 mm (H x W x D)
|10 Apr 2022
|Biography: general / Biography: historical, political & military
Lian Knight has recreated the amazing life of her grandfather, a war hero. What has been published about him is extraordinary – 2000 newspaper articles, many printed more than a century ago. Yet almost nothing written about him is consistent. The press varied his name, his age, his place of birth, where he lived and what he did. There were whispers that he emerged from poverty, delivering fish before dawn in London’s East End in the markets and laneways of Jack the Ripper’s local haunts, before joining the army at just thirteen. Averse to authority, he was a military superior’s nightmare. He served in South Africa and India before migrating to Australia.
When World War I broke out, he was despatched to the Western Front where, gassed, bombed and working against remarkable odds, he saved the lives of many and was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour. He became legendary, gaining medals and escaping death on numerous occasions. After the war he married and finally returned to Australia. He was famous in England and Australia for his bravery and kindness to his fellow man. Later as a movie star, a politician, a boxer, a celebrated Australian identity and a good Samaritan, his notoriety seemed to know no bounds. Which of these stories were real? A mixture of truth and fantasy has continued to be reported … until now.