Armoured cars in World War I.
Armoured cars in World War I.

South Burnett historian releases World War I novel

SOUTH Burnett historian Tony Matthews, author of Landscapes of Change: a history of the South Burnett and Heartbreak, Hope and Harmony: a history of Wondai Shire, has written a new book just in time for the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I.

Mr Matthews' latest book, A Dawn with No Birdsong is set during World War I.

Although a work of fiction, Mr Matthews has drawn on historical events throughout the novel.

The novel will be launched by Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour at the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough, on November 17.

The historian's new novel looks at how soldiers were fighting two enemies: the German forces and the British military. He tells the story of an incredible struggle for survival and delves into how the British treated their own soldiers and their allies throughout the war.

According to Mr Matthews, A Dawn with No Birdsong explores the British military policies for executing soldiers for misdemeanours such as sleeping at a post, shell-shock, striking an officer, and other similar 'crimes'.

"During the four years of war a total of 346 men were executed by British firing squads for just such offences. Some of the victims were as young as 17 years,” Mr Matthews wrote in a press release for his new novel.   

"A Dawn with No Birdsong is a novel, but it is also an examination and, I hope, a powerful indictment of the British military system of field punishment at that time.

"I wrote A Dawn with No Birdsong as a tribute to all those soldiers who were killed unnecessarily by their British masters.”

November 11 this year marks the 100-year anniversary since the end of World War I. Mr Matthews' novel will be released shortly after.