‘Stan Savige had been on Gallipoli for just two weeks, in the trenches firing at Turks less than 20 metres away. But Sniper’s Ridge was a different proposition. Killing took on another dimension. In the flurry of trench warfare, a soldier would rarely be certain he had hit an enemy. On this ridge of death, however, Savige’s job was to make sure he struck as many of the opposition as possible.’
The son of a struggling country butcher, Stan Savige left school at twelve to become a blacksmith’s striker. But in 1915, a passage in the Bible inspired the devout scout leader and Sunday school teacher to enlist. Soon, his abilities as a crack marksman attracted the attention of officers and he was put in charge of the sniper’s post, his job to eliminate enemy assassins at Anzac Cove. Savige succeeded and survived Gallipoli, only to be sent to the Western Front, then to Persia as part of the elite squad Dunsterforce. It was the beginning of a long, dangerous and distinguished military career spanning both world wars, with Savige fighting and commanding in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific in World War II.
In this gripping biography, Roland Perry paints a fascinating and complex portrait of Lieutenant General Sir Stanley George Savige, KBE, CB, DSO, MC, ED. Savige was a man of character and compassion, a quiet outsider who founded war veterans’ support charity Legacy, who still has few peers in courage, skill and achievement. His record is second to none in Australian military history, in the scope of his combat over two world wars.