In March 1952 Tom Stevens sailed from Southampton aboard the troopship Dilwara, one of the last generations of British soldiers to serve in the West Indies. 'How did I get here?', he asks.
Swansea-born Tom Stevens grew up in wartime and as a teenager joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers. His service with the Royal Welch in the West Indies forms the substance of his candid and engaging memoir, A Welch Calypso. Back in Wales he married Kaye and they had three children, Adrian, Jonathan and Lesley-Anne, migrating to Australia in 1965. While running a shop in the small New South Wales township of Gerogery, Tom became an artist, painting landscapes and scenes from his childhood. Tom and Kaye moved to Canberra, where in the mid-1990s Tom became blind. He now lives in a residential home in Canberra. Professor Peter Stanley was born in Britain and migrated to Australia with his family in 1966 aged 10. He met Tom Stevens's son, Adrian, at university in Canberra in 1976. After working as a museum historian for 32 years, in 2013 Peter became Research Professor at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. He has published 26 books, mainly on Australian and British military-social history, and in 2011 his book Bad Characters (on Australian soldiers in the Great War) was jointly awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History.