Joe Dean enlistment

The real Joe Dean

The hero of ‘Blood and Blitzkrieg’ is named after my grandfather, who volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in 1916 and made it to France just in time to go into action at the Battle of Messines in June 1917, where the Australian tunnellers blew up Hill 60 with 450 tonnes of explosives. The blast was so big it was heard in London.

He went over the top and got caught up in the mud of the battle of Passchaendale for a few weeks, then got shot in the face and invalided out to England for three months. I remember him telling me about this when I was about 12 years old, and a couple of years ago I searched the Australian National Archives and found that they’d scanned in his service papers.

Here’s his Enlistment Attestation:

Joe Dean enlistment

If you’ve got a relative who was in a war, it’s well worth seeing what information is stored about their service. A good place to start at the website of your National War Museum. You might be amazed at how much you can find.

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