The British Army in the First World War, in a shameful act of misguided patriotism, was withdrawing from the front line veterans with a German name and posting them to a non-combatant regiment. At home, anti-German feeling was reaching fever pitch. However, one young man, the son of a German father, conspired to have the Army send him into battle. In doing so he became a hero.
This is the story of the ‘German Tommy’, Walter Schwarz (alias Lieutenant Walter Lancelot Merritt, Military Cross and Bar, bearer of the king’s pardon), told in full for the first time after years of research in Australia and Britain. It reveals why and how others helped the young man from Queensland – an Australian Army deserter – survive in an atmosphere that was poisonous at home and in battle for those of German blood, who were, nevertheless, like Schwarz, loyal to king and country. Ken Anderson has gone behind the scenes to show how official documents were altered and fellow Freemasons lied and swore false testimony to help Schwarz, acting on their oath to help a fellow member in distress.
The book offers an insight into how people of German origin were treated in Australia and Britain during the First World War, as well as how Freemasonry helped men of humble background improve their status in life.
GERMAN TOMMY The Secret of a War Hero
An extraordinary and unique tale of how a brave and loyal Australian First World War soldier, Walter Schwarz, deserted, then lied and bamboozled his way back into the trenches after being withdrawn because of Army prejudice against his German origins. The book also shows how Schwarz’s fellow Freemasons conspired to help a Mason in distress. A great read and a great story.