Since a young age, Glenmore Park resident Adam Lunney has been fascinated by Australia’s military history.
Now, the 40-year-old historian has just published his first book which documents Australia’s participation in the Normandy Landings during World War II.
When taking the trip of a lifetime to Normandy back in 2014, things took an unexpected turn when he signed up for what he thought was a battlefield tour, but was in fact a French hiking group.
“I went along with it, did the hike, and when we got to the gun battery there was a memorial that mentioned Australians, so I asked the group if I could give a small talk because its unusual for Australians to be known for their part in this,” Mr Lunney told the Weekender.
The group were blown away as they had never heard of Australia’s involvement and immediately asked if they could have a minute of silence for the soldiers.
“I was blown away by their response, it was very emotional, so that’s when I thought to myself there’s something in this and there’s stories here that people don’t necessarily know about,” he said.
Upon his return to Australia, Mr Lunney began researching high and low on the Internet and at the National Archives. He then joined the Spitfire Association in an attempt to track down members of the squadron
“I was able to reach out to families and seek people who had relatives who were in the squadron, I’ve been able to tell them a lot more about their father or grandfather than they actually knew,” Mr Lunney said.
After three years of extensive research, Mr Lunney has now published his book. Many of the photos used within are from the families he met along the way.
The book, titled Ready to Strike: The Spitfires and Australians of 453 (RAAF) Squadron over Normandy, was Highly Commended in the 2018 RAAF Heritage Awards.
“You’ll notice the title is not ‘forgotten heroes’ or ‘untold stories’, I’m not into that ‘don’t forget me’ business, but at the end of the day we were there and these are their stories,” Mr Lunney said.
On Saturday, November 3, Mr Lunney has been invited to attend a screening of a spitfire documentary in Canberra, where he will launch his new book.
To purchase a copy, visit www.echobooks.com.au/biography/ready-to-strike.
Nicola Barton is the Weekender’s general news journalist, incorporating political affairs and crime.