During World War II thousands of Australians, most of them barely out of their teens, joined the Royal Australian Air Force in various capacities to defend the nation. Arthur Gately was one such young man who was thrown into the battles that raged over the South-West Pacific Islands.
Arthur Gately joined the RAAF on 2 November 1942 at the age of 18 and served as a technician until his discharge on 9 April 1946. During this time he served with 79 Spitfire Squadron on Milne Bay, Goodenough Island, Kiriwina Island, Manus Island and Los Negros Island.
In this book, developed from a diary that he maintained and adding his memoirs the author traces his training as an armourer and the trials and tribulations of four years of wartime service, at times under very inhospitable conditions.
It poignatly highlights the comradeship and courage experienced by the many young men and includeds personal observations, especially at times of great sorrow.
For readers ignorant of the lifestyle of the servicemen who went out to defend the freedom of the nation to far-off islands and other places this is a simple and direct description of how tough life was for these young men. The book is a tribute to the determination and steadfastness of the men who served with the RAAF though some of the toughest periods in its history.