veteran interviews are vital. The vets are dying out fast,
and they will take their stories with them. Also the current
written background is very scarce and lacks detail.
vet I talk to gives me a new perspective on the battle, from the
artilleryman who called down the vital support fire to the stretcher
bearer who tried to save his dying mates as a Japanese gun opened
up on them at point blank range and of course to the front line
infantryman who hauled himself up the near vertical ridge face with
Jap grenades rolling down past him.
makes one very humble when they tell you things they have not talked
about for over 50 years and then say how pleased they are that someone
will finally tell their story and that perhaps they won't sleep
that coming night because the memories can be very painful.
tell you how the official histories got it all wrong and that no
one can ever comprehend what it was like. When I tell them I climbed
the ridge they are amazed but they know I can relate to their own
will be their story, not mine. There will also be photos and probably
a chapter in the book about Shaggy Ridge today.
Grenades and mortars discovered
Shells and helmet