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 Peter Medcalf

Peter Medcalf

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Peter Medcalf was born in 1925; the second son of a pioneer grazing family in the central west of New South Wales. In 1939 his family moved to Sydney and he gained his Leaving Certificate in 1941. He worked as a trainee analytical chemist in the steel and pharmaceutical industries until he was eighteen and able to enlist. He was posted to the 15th Battalion, 29th Brigade, as a lance corporal, classified “rifleman”. His brigade was the first into action in the Bougainville campaign in 1944 and remained there until the war ended in August 1945. Discharged in March 1946 with a legacy of malaria and blast-damaged hearing, Peter Medcalf returned to the pharmaceutical industry as a chemist. He completed a part-time science degree in 1953 and subsequently held various management positions in the cosmetics industry. He is widowed, with a son and daughter and five grandchildren, and is now retired and living in the Blue Mountains. Forty years after his discharge, he wrote War in the Shadows, which was first published in 1986 by the Australian War Memorial, reprinted in 1989 and re-released by UQP in 2000.