ISBN: 978-0-9582855-4-4

While others dived for cover, the bravest of the brave went in.

Brendan O’Carroll’s new book pays tribute to the courageous ‘Khaki Angels’: stretcher-bearers and other Kiwi frontline medical people who put others before self in two world wars, serving in Gallipoli, Europe, North Africa, Greece, Italy and the Pacific.

Khaki Angels also looks at general wartime medical matters: field organisation, what caused death and injuries, what the injuries were like and how they were treated.

... and we meet some heroes.

"The courage needed to go into battle cannot be understated, but to walk around the battlefield armed only with a stretcher  and dressings takes a whole different mindset...This book graphically describes how they struggled in the different environments that the wars were fought in." Major Lee Turner, a registered nurse specialising in trauma medicine and author of a book on dealing with trauma injuries, in Army News.

"Brendan O'Carroll has succeeded in conveying to the reader a stark picture of the great handicaps and continual danger which stretcher-bearers faced as they sallied forth with tremendous courage to tend troops suffering minor or horribly major wounds. Included, too, are riveting personal accounts by stretcher-bearers themselves of their daily perilous duties as they ventured unarmed into the thick of battle. A diverse selection of photographs and illustrations adds greatly to the value of this book." Clark Isaacs, Otago Daily Times.

"This beautifully presented book is a hymn to New Zealand's unsung heroes of the two world wars." Your Weekend

"A story beautifully told." Jim Sullivan, Sounds Historical


“There is no finer work in connection with the army than that performed by the stretcher-bearers. They must always go where the fighting is fiercest, for there the casualties are most severe. Under the enemy’s fire, they afford first aid to the wounded, and carry them, when unable to walk, to the nearest and most suitable cover. It is only on rare occasions that official notice is taken of their bravery.” Herbert Strang, The Empire of Arms, 1919

Click here to see the book's index




Kiwi medics treating a boy found under ruins of a building in Sesto Imolese, Italy, in 1945. (Photographer: George Kaye.)

Khaki Angels is available in New Zealand bookstores and by
mailorder from Ngaio Press to anywhere in the world.

Click here to go to the ordering page.
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October 2009