While researching the lingering effects of war, historian and journalist David Hastings stumbled upon a story he felt compelled to tell. Odyssey of the Unknown Anzac follows the trail of Stratford man George McQuay, who disappeared from the Western Front in 1916.
Ten years after the end of World War 1, the Sydney Sun reported that an unknown Anzac still lay in a Sydney psychiatric hospital apparently suffering from total amnesia. Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand responded to the story and an international campaign to find the man’s family followed.
David uses hospital and military records, diaries and letters of the soldier’s contemporaries, along with family recollections to reconstruct George’s long struggle to find his way home. This is a story that looks deep into the psyche of war and the pressure on young men to fight for their country, whether fit for duty or not.
TO THE POINT: Compelling story / unknown Anzac / total amnesia / international campaign / long struggle / home coming