Ngaio Press home|

upblue.gif (2462 bytes)
          ISBN: 0-473-06531-2

Text extracts from Roger Smith's
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, Tunisia
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 — Alife, Italy
Christmas 1943 — back from the front
Maori Battalion, Trocchio, Italy
Fear, and fear of fear — Cassino, Italy
A break from Cassino
All in a day’s work in the Cassino rubble
There for your mate at the finish — Terelle, Italy

=> Place an order for UP THE BLUE


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 life’s 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 there’s a great deal more than that: Smith’s 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 read"
Alan Johnston in the NZ Returned Services Association's magazine, 'Review'.

"Dear Roger
I have very much enjoyed and admired 'Up the Blue' the 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 National Radio

"Told with great honesty and clarity, and a deft eye for describing the landscape they passed through."
Morrin Rout, 'Bookmarks', NZ National Radio

"...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 breed."
Les Cleveland, 'The Dominion' (Cleveland was an infantry soldier himself with the NZ Division in Italy.)

"Moving account."
Susan Wood, Holmes Show, NZ Television One

"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."
Katikati Advertiser

utbcovsm.jpg (4743 bytes)
Click image to see a larger version of the cover (19K)


rs-maadi.jpg (4918 bytes)
Private Roger Smith, 22, newly arrived at Egypt’s Maadi Camp in 1941. Before the war, Roger worked on his father’s 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.


"Up the Blue" was  Kiwi soldier slang for moving from base camp to the battle zone: "We're going up the blue."


|Ngaio Press home|Order the book|
PO Box 29-010,
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone 64-4-473 3177

Fax 64-4-499 9062