It was only when she self-published her novel that Brenda Inglis-Powell really came to know her father.
Like many men, the late Jock Inglis had returned from the Second World War ''psychologically damaged'' by post traumatic stress and unable to form close relationships with his children.
‘‘I wanted to know why my childhood was so sad and so difficult,’’ Ms Inglis-Powell, of North Parramatta, recalled. ‘‘I thought I was the only one.
My father was born in abject poverty... When he’d walked from Victoria to the South Australian border [during the Depression], he’d met Albert Moore, and they got together again during the war.Author Brenda Inglis-Powell
‘‘He would have terrible nightmares and they would take him off to Concord Repatriation Hospital, which is now the general hospital.’’
Ms Inglis-Powell, 69, said her mother had told her about diaries in the War Memorial she might like to read, but it wasn’t until 1993 that she finally found them.
‘‘They were the diaries of Major Albert Moore, who was a Salvation Army welfare officer in WWII. My father became his batman.
''A batman was a man who was assigned to an officer -i n this case Major Albert Moore - to help with their work. It was an assistant role, a bit like an aide-de-camp.''
From those diaries, Brenda’s research probed deeper into the early life of a man who had arrived in Australia alone at 18 from Glasgow, Scotland, with nothing but a calico haversack.
‘‘My father was born in abject poverty... When he’d walked from Victoria to the South Australian border [during the Depression], he’d met Albert Moore, and they got together again during the war.
‘‘My father was seconded from the Australian infantry to work with the Salvation Army for the duration of the war.
‘‘My mother grew up in the land of plenty outside of Forbes and didn’t know anything about the Depression, she always had plenty of food... She became a Salvation Army officer... and delivered telegrams to say that husbands or sons were dead.''
Soldiers in Different Armies, a historical fiction novel, tells the tale of Jock Inglis’ Salvation Army service in the Middle East and on the Kokoda Track and his eventual return to Australia.
‘‘It’s a unique story... My father never once mentioned the war let alone told me about it. He did speak to my brother, just before he was dying.
‘‘We never understood his injuries, we never understood his trauma. This book was my attempt to discover a man that I never knew.’’
■ Brenda Inglis-Powell will appear at a book signing at The Book Haven in Stockland Mall, Baulkham Hills, on Saturday November 15.
■ All royalties from sales of Soldiers in Different Armies will be donated to the emergency work of the Salvation Army.
Excerpts from Albert Moore's diary:
''I also met here a Salvation Army Bandsman who had played in the band when I was stationed as the Corps Officer at Red Cliffs in Victoria, namely Bill Inglis, better known as Jock.
He is a typical Scotsman, he hails from Glasgow. Jock was later to become my Batman and no officer ever had a more faithful or loyal servant than Jock to me.
I have much to say about him later as we worked together for the good of the men we tried to serve. Jock was a tremendous ‘scrounger’ with a fantastic ability to both get things and get things done. He could mingle with the highest and lowest.''
''It is strange that so often a Batman is looked upon as something of a ‘lackey’ perhaps a down trodden servant of an Officer, but this is rarely the truth. More often than not the association of Officer and Batman establishes a friendship between the two that lasts long after hostilities have finished.''