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Courage and Compassion

A Stretcher-bearer's Journey from No-man's Land and Beyond

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This is the true story of a young Australian soldier whose life of opportunity was challenged by trauma and salvaged by strength. 

Nelson Ferguson, from Ballarat, was a stretcher-bearer on the Western Front in France in World War I. He survived the dangers of stretcher-bearing in some of Australia’s most horrific battles: the Somme, Bullecourt, Ypres and Villers-Bretonneux. In April 1918, at Villers-Bretonneux, he was severely gassed. His eyes were traumatised, his lungs damaged. Upon his return home, he met and married Madeline, the love of his life, started a family, and resumed his career teaching art. But eventually the effects of the mustard gas claimed his eyesight, ending his career. Courageously enduring this consequence of war, he continued contributing to society by assisting his son and son-in-law in their stained-glass window business. Advances in medicine finally restored his sight in 1968, allowing him to yet again appreciate the beauty around him, before his death in 1976.

The story of this Anzac will stir your soul. It is a story of war and bravery, pain and strength, hope and miracles.

Don Farrands was born in Melbourne. He is the grandson of the stretcher bearer in the book. Don has practised as a commercial lawyer and later as financial adviser since graduating from University.  Don’s principal career has been as a barrister at the Melbourne Bar, and recently he was appointed senior counsel. Don has significant experience at board level including in community organisations. He is married to Sally, has two boys, Andrew who is an officer in the Australian army, and Jim, who is a secondary school teacher, majoring in literature. Don likes cycling and watching international rugby. He is also an avid classical music listener, having played in the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.,

  • Publisher: Big Sky Publishing (July 7, 2021)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781922488312