Tale of raid written

April 16, 2018

Copies of Wayne Barrie's Boer War history book Reid's Raid will be available from the Shepparton RSL.

Wayne Barrie said fate prompted him to write Boer War history book Reid’s Raid.

‘‘I’m not a journalist, writer or historian,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m a geographer.

‘‘So I tried to write an entertaining story, not a history book.’’

Mr Barrie visited Shepparton ahead of Anzac Day last week, where he spoke about the eerie similarities Reid’s Raid had with the well-publicised Gallipoli landing, which took place during World War I.

Reid’s Raid took place when a patrol of 22 Australian soldiers came across 60 people in an enemy camp.

He said it was a conversation with a mate while playing golf prompted him to begin his research, which took him a total of five years to complete.

‘‘He had a hand-written transcribed letter of his grandfather’s — James Henry Smart,’’ Mr Barrie said.

‘‘The letter had lots of gaps in it and no-one could tell me why.’’

Mr Barrie went on to discover the transcriber had been unable to decipher all the words in the original letter and his hunger to find out more began.

It was a photograph discovered by a Boer War descendant that enabled Mr Barrie’s research to flourish.

‘‘I was with this lady one day and she pulled out a photograph of 240 men,’’ he said.

Mr Barrie went about getting the dressed-photograph enlarged, which he said was the key to much of his research.

‘‘I have been able to enlarge the photo and find out things history didn’t record,’’ he said.

With Anzac Day taking place this April 25, commemorating the day Australian soldiers landed on the shores of Gallipoli, Mr Barrie said he had discovered Reid’s Raid had similar characteristics.

‘‘It’s got some parallels,’’ he said.

‘‘It was a pre-dawn attack, against all odds, and it took place on April 25.’’

Mr Barrie also discovered the location of the two battles was incredibly close-by to one another and a final similarity is revealed during the final moments of the book.

‘‘Readers will have to wait and see the connection,’’ he said.

Reid’s Raid will be available to buy for about $20 by emailing and copies will also be available at the Shepparton RSL in the future.

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