Cover art for The Most Fearless and Gallant Soldier I Have Ever Seen
Ian Loftus, August 2016
22.9cm × 15.2cm × 1.6cm

The Most Fearless and Gallant Soldier I Have Ever Seen

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"I respectfully beg to draw your attention to the conduct of Pte O'Meara during the recent operations of this Bttn. Pte O'Meara is the most fearless and gallant soldier I have ever seen"

Lieutenant Bill Lynas of the Australian Imperial Force's 16th Battalion penned these words in mid-August 1916, shortly after the battalion had withdrawn from fierce fighting near the small village of Pozieres, on the Western Front.

A little over two years later, in December 1918, O'Meara was described as 'suffering from Delusional Insanity, with hallucinations of hearing and sight, is extremely homicidal and suicidal, and requires to be kept in restraint'.

The contrast with 1916 could not appear to be an greater. So what happened to Martin O'Meara in those two or so years?

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