The Oarsmen: The Remarkable Story of the Men Who Rowed from the Great War to Peace
About the book
'The Oarsmen' tells the story of the servicemen who survived the war to row for the coveted King's Cup at the 1919 Royal Henley Peace Regatta. Combining first-hand accounts with lively prose, this never-before-told story approaches the First World War from peacetime and illuminates history in vivid and compelling detail. Interweaving the soldiers' personal stories from before, during and after the war, 'The Oarsmen' paints a fascinating picture of how these men, and society, transitioned from an unprecedented war to a new sort of peace.
About the author
Scott Patterson is a director and filmmaker based in Australia. He has worked extensively across film, television, advertising and the theatre in his 30-year career. A keen oarsman himself, his documentary about the Royal Henley Peace Regatta will be released in 2019,
This is an extraordinary book, which carefully pieces together the previously untold, extraordinary story of how a rowing eight made up of physically and psychologically scarred AIF servicemen won the King's Cup at the 1919 Henley Regatta. Eschewing a narrative of nationalism this is a tale of the triumph of the human spirit.
Relying on careful research and using an understated prose style, Patterson explores the unassuming lives of these men in pre-war Australia as a prelude to detailing their experiences in the armageddons of Gallipoli, Pozieres and Ypres. In Patterson's narrative the Henley triumph by such a mismatched and damaged crew is almost miraculous, although his accounts of their difficult and sometimes tragic post war lives carefully tempers that understanding. In also speaking to the wider experiences of these servicemen in peace and war this is an inspiring book about human frailty, endurance and survival.