Text extracts from Roger Smith's
UP THE BLUE:
Flies and worse in the Western Desert
A peculiar addiction to Irish lyrics
Burying the dead Tebaga Gap
British Army at a minefield near Sfax,
The countryside near Sousse, Tunisia
The Padre's tools of trade
A minefield near Takrouna, Tunisia
Kelly in Cairo
Housekeeping in a two-man bivvy in the
rain Sangro, Italy
Falling asleep on duty Sangro
Kelly dies at
the Sangro River
Civilians caught in the frontline
Castel Frantano, Italy
Getting sadness off your chest
Giant drunken zooming fireflies
back from the front
Fear, and fear of fear Cassino,
A break from Cassino
All in a days work in the Cassino
There for your
mate at the finish Terelle, Italy
Place an order for UP THE BLUE
HERE TO VIEW ROGER SMITH'S PERSONAL WORLD WAR
II PHOTO ALBUM 60 PHOTOS OF WAR SCENES AND ARMY LIFE FROM
NEW ZEALAND TO NORTH AFRICA AND ITALY. (NOT IN THE PRINTED BOOK.)
LINKS to other interesting websites connected
with World War II in North Africa and Italy
IN 1953, former 24th Battalion infantryman Roger Smith began writing about his
lifes great adventure: service during World War II with the Second New Zealand
Division. Two years later the object of the exercise had been achieved a book was
complete and the Devils of War were pushed firmly back into their box.
Now, after almost half a century and the urging of his family, Roger
Smith has agreed to release his extraordinary manuscript to a wider public, and his book
has been published by Ngaio Press.
UP THE BLUE tells of things as they were for the ordinary Kiwi
soldier, with atmospheric and chilling descriptions of the great battles in North Africa
and Italy. But theres a great deal more than that: Smiths sensitive and moving
story examines the psychological impact of war service: horror, elation, homesickness,
culture shock, mateship, trust, off-duty shenanigans, laughter, fear and tears.
The crucible from which a generation of New Zealand men was forged.
271 pages, soft cover
"We who served with Roger know that what
he tells is true."
Lieutenant Colonel E W Aked OBE, MC, ED
"I have read many wartime personal accounts
of a New Zealander's experience in the "frontline", but in my opinion for clear,
concise descriptive writing of battle-action, Roger Smith's detailed summary exceeds them
all. He is a writer who can express himself with that unique ability to carry the reader
into the very heart of battle with his every thought and action...an enthralling
Alan Johnston in the NZ
Returned Services Association's magazine, 'Review'.
"Dear Roger I have very much enjoyed and admired 'Up the Blue'
understated quality of the writing, the telling detail, the good humour, the compassion
and perspective. You make me proud to be a New Zealander."
James Weir, former NZ ambassador to
Moscow, Rome, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and author of 'Letters from Moscow' and 'New
Zealand Wit and Wisdom'.
"Beautifully written, moving story...vivid
and detailed writing...describes excellently how ordinary New Zealanders did extraordinary
things in battle."
Jim Sullivan, 'Sounds Historical', NZ
"Told with great honesty and clarity,
and a deft eye for describing the landscape they passed through."
Morrin Rout, 'Bookmarks', NZ National
"...moving statement of one man's
experience of war...emphasises the personal relationships and codes of responsibility that
bond an infantry outfit together...a salute to a tough, dedicated and highly integrated
Les Cleveland, 'The Dominion'
(Cleveland was an infantry soldier himself with the NZ Division in Italy.)
Susan Wood, Holmes Show, NZ Television
"A graphic piece of wartime
writing, told with humour, sensitivity and a fine eye for detail."
Jock Vennell, Editor, New
Zealand Defence Quarterly
"More than a war story...it is a
sensitive examination of the impact of war on the bodies and minds of those who fought it."
Click image to see a larger version
of the cover (19K)
Private Roger Smith, 22, newly arrived at Egypts Maadi Camp in 1941. Before the war,
Roger worked on his fathers Waikato dairy farm, and from the early 1950s he farmed a
dairy unit with his brother at Athenree, near Katikati,
He has long been active in the Returned Services Association, and was
president of the Katikati branch for 24 years. After moving to Wellington,
Roger served on the executive of the Wellington RSA. He died in August 2005.
Blue" was Kiwi soldier slang for moving from base camp to the battle zone:
"We're going up the blue."