The Digger of Kokoda: The Official Biography of Reg Chard

Daniel Lane

The Digger of Kokoda: The Official Biography of Reg Chard
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The Digger of Kokoda: The Official Biography of Reg Chard

Daniel Lane

Reg Chard endured hell as an 18-year-old Australian soldier who fought in 1942 on the infamous Kokoda Trail. Ironically, Kokoda rescued Reg decades later when he decided to take his own life.

After losing Betty, his wife of 66 years, the grief-stricken great-grandfather lost the will to live. But he found new purpose through educating young people, giving guided tours of Sydney’s Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway.

On these tours, Reg relives Kokoda every day. He sees an image on the wall of a soldier - a comrade - who died of a jungle disease weeks after the photograph was taken. He feels his heart beating as his patrol chases down Japanese troops who had mutilated women in a jungle clearing. He hears the war cry of a samurai sword-wielding officer charging towards him. And he tells these stories on the walkway tours, preserving the memory of those who never came home.

As one of the last surviving diggers of Kokoda, Reg Chard has become a custodian of its legacy. This deeply moving, healing and inspiring biography of the 98-year-old veteran tells us of Reg’s war in the jungle and how, 80 years after the battle that saved Australia, Kokoda still lives within him.

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