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Army October 13, 2011
THE latest addition to the Australian
Army's official history was launched
at the CA History Conference on
Fallen Sentinel: Australian Tanks in
World War II explores Australia's WWII
experience with tank warfare and the
development of the home-grown Sentinel
that would never see war service.
The book was written by British
WWII tank veteran Peter Beale who
landed at Normandy with 9th Tank
Regt and was wounded twice during the
The Army's Head of Modernisation
and Strategic Planning, Maj-Gen John
Caligari, launched the book on behalf of
the Army History Unit.
Maj-Gen Caligari said the author's
focus on armoured capabilities could be
applied across the range of major capital
projects in any Army.
"The task for the Australian Army is
to examine past lessons like those Peter
presents in this book, adapt them and
apply them to the learning cycle that
helps Army make better decisions today.
"That is where this book has great
value for it provides a lesson of almost
direct parallel to the modern period."
Maj-Gen Caligari said the book high-
lighted the complexities of balancing
strategic policy and budgetary realities
for major procurements but would have
broad interest with both military and
"Peter doesn't resile from criticism
where warranted, and he identifies waste
and bureaucratic mismanagement of the
project that, in other circumstances, may
have had dire consequences for Australia
under threat from Japanese forces."
Mr Beale, who now resides in NSW,
has written three books on tanks in
WWII: Tank Tracks, Death by Design
and The Great Mistake.
He said military strength demand-
ed substantial resources, and resources
were always limited.
"We have to make effective use of the
resources we have and develop methods
to do so," Mr Beale said.
"One method is to analyse what hap-
pened in the past to see if there are les-
sons we can apply in the future. This is
what Fallen Sentinel attempts to do."
By Graham McBean
A CHANCE find on the inter-
net has resulted in reuniting the
World War I memorial plaque of
Pte David Gregory Irvin with his
family after almost 100 years.
The memorial plaques were
presented to the families of soldiers
killed in action and Canberra-based
Capt Tim Dawes thought this
plaque may have special signifi-
As it turned out the plaque
belonged to Pte Irvin, 54 Bn, who
was killed in action at Fromelles
and whose remains were identified
and reburied last year.
Capt Dawes bought the plaque
on speculation and gave it to Lt-Col
Glyn Llanwarne, who created Lost
Medals Australia with the specific
aim of returning medals to their
Lt-Col Llanwarne said it was
a case of modern soldiers looking
after their own a century on.
The Army's Head of
Modernisation and Strategic
Planning, Maj-Gen John Caligari,
presented the plaque to fam-
ily members Rosemary Irvin and
Wayne Douch at the CA History
Conference on September 29.
Mrs Irvin was married to Roy
David Irvin, a nephew and name-
sake to the WWI soldier.
"This is a wonderful addition for
us -- we thought our story was fin-
ished when our soldier was buried
at Fromelles," Mrs Irvin said.
"It has just caused so much
excitement and it is astounding
that after 96 years it could even be
found but it is also further closure."
Tank history helps
with future plans
WWI plaque returned to family
Back where it belongs: Maj-Gen John Caligari presents the plaque of Pte David Irvin to family
members Rosemary Irvin (married to Mr Roy David Irvin) and Wayne Douch.
Photos by Graham McBean
Tank warfare: Maj-Gen John Caligari launches Fallen Sentinel with
author Peter Beale and Mr Beale's wife and researcher, Shirley, during the
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