Seeing war through a digger’s eyes

EMPATHY for soldiers who come home from war affected and sometimes broken has helped inspire a book of modern poetry, focusing on conflict from Gallipoli to Derapet.

Casino author Kerry Roche will launch her book of war poetry today, Remembranc Day, at the Casino RSM Club.
Casino author Kerry Roche will launch her book of war poetry today, Remembranc Day, at the Casino RSM Club. Picasa

Casino woman Kerry Roche credits her Pop, her mother's father Bill Grimston, for inspiring an understanding of how young men changed after witnessing the horrors of war.

Difficult, mental journey

That interest led Ms Roche on a long and sometimes difficult mental journey, and her anthology of 50 poems of Australian Army history, will be launched tomorrow, Remembrance Day, upstairs at Casino RSM Club at 4.30pm.

"Soldiers have told me they don't like to relate their experiences because they don't like to see the sadness in civilians' eyes when they tell them," she said.

"But I've been lucky enough that some have shared their experiences with me."

Book draws praise

Ms Roche has not been in a war zone but has related the experiences of others so closely that the book has already drawn praise from those who have witnessed conflict.

Bulk orders have been made by Kapooka Recruit Training Centre and the Military Post Office.

Ms Roche's interest in war began as a child, observing how many men in her extended family had come back from war broken.

There was her Pop, on the cover of her book, 100 Years of ANZAC Tradition: A Salute to the Australian Soldier.

And there was her grandfather on her father's side who volunteered with the RAAF and recalled hosing out the remains of tail gunners who did not return from battle.

I learned early that war caused men to behave badly 

All these men struggled to return to civilian life, and some battled demons for many years after.

"I learned early that war caused men to behave badly," Ms Roche said.

"It takes their lives. These are stories that need to be told," she said.

She said common to all those soldiers was their love of freedom and a desire to defend that for future generations.


Cover from Kerry Roche's new book of war poetry.
Cover from Kerry Roche's new book of war poetry.

Proceeds from the book launch will go to Homeless Veterans for Lobuche East, who are climbing the Everest training peak next year in an effort to raise $20, 000 to support a homeless veteran for a year.

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