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All the king's Enemies Cover


The history of the 2/5th infantry Battalion, "All the King's Enemies", was reprinted in late 1994 by order of Major General Frank Hickling, the General Officer Commanding the Australian Army's Training Command. The following letter by General Hickling, which appeared on the inside front cover of the re-print, points to why the Battalion is so important in Australian military history.

"This book has been reprinted by Headquarters Training Command of the Australian Army. The headquarters recently published other works of Australian military history but this is the first occasion it has reprinted an existing work and a unit history. I wish to explain the reasons for doing so.

The books and films of Australian military history produced by Headquarters Training Command reinforce our current Army doctrine or illustrate the well-founded principles of war. Our efforts to date have focused primarily on individual battles, although a campaign history is currently being prepared. "AII the King's Enemies" was recommended for reprinting as it was an excellent account of a battalion at war which contained many relevant lessons for junior officers, non-commissioned officers and private soldiers. The book was also an important piece of Australia's military history in that the 2/5th Battalion was one of only two battalions to fight all of Australia's enemies in the Second World War; Italians, Germans, Vichy French and the Japanese. Despite this "AII the King's Enemies" was extremely difficult to obtain and our Defence Libraries held only one copy of the book placed on a special reserve. For these reasons we decided to reprint the record of service of the "Fighting Fifth". I regard it a significant contribution to Australia's military history and as an appropriate way for my command to help commemorate the 50th year since the end of the Second World War.

F.J. Hickling
Major General
Sydney NSW
1 November 1994."

"AII the King's Enemies" was first published in 1988 and as lan Clarke has recently put it, the 1994 reprint was a feather in the cap for the author, the late Syd Trigellis-Smith.

Also of note is that the book has again recently been reprinted and is available through several internet based book sellers. The fact of three editions of "All the King's Enemies" is also a feather in the cap for all soldiers who served in the 2/5th Infantry Battalion.

Courtesy of 2/5th Assoc Newsletter

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