PERTH-based author Ian Loftus published a book detailing the life of Collie VC war hero Martin O'Meara.
The most fearless and gallant soldier I have ever seen is the first published book from Loftus, and explores the life of the Irish-born soldier, his time in Collie and WA, and his experiences serving Australia at war.
The book is the first published biography of O’Meara and Mr Loftus said he stumbled across some interesting information whilst researching his life.
“The book was published in July this year after about 3 and a half years of research that I have conducted both in Western Australia, Canberra, and in the UK and France,” Mr Loftus said.
“As we know Martin was a Collie VC hero, well-known in the Collie community.
“His footprint though is a lot broader than Collie, he did spend time in different parts of Ireland, he also spent a while in South Australia before he came to the west and also spent time in the Pinjarra area, but rightfully he is Collie’s war hero.”
Mr Loftus said his interest in O’Meara was sparked after a trip to Pozières in 2013.
“I has written a piece for the West Australian on that particular part of the world and a gentleman from the Subiaco RSL wrote to me and asked if I had heard of O’Meara because a photo I had taken, was taken at the particular spot where O’Meara received his VC,” he said.
“I hadn’t heard of O’Meara at that stage so I ended up googling him and collecting information, the more I uncovered about O’Meara, the more his life became interesting and the more I got into it.
“It eventually got to the place where I had so much information, that I had to write a book about it.”
Mr Loftus said he managed to uncover some interesting facts about O’Meara during his research.
“A lot of the popular narrative about O’Meara is that he was a stretcher bearer because he didn’t want to kill people so he volunteered for the role of saving lives,” he said.
“My research indicated that in fact he never was a stretcher bearer he was a sniper and a scout his job was to go out into no-mans land and conduct intelligence, capture German prisoners and occasionally shoot people, so his role in real life was very very different from the role that a lot of the popular narrative of his life tells.”
Mr Loftus said it was of national importance that O’Meara’s life story was recorded.
“His story is important on a number of different levels, and as a biography it simply tells the story of an individual with a very tragic end, he spent the last 17 years of his life in mental hospitals provides a very sad ending to a very brave man,” he said.
The most fearless and gallant soldier I have ever seen available from ianloftus.com.