John Laffin

 John Laffin 1922-2000

Australian John Laffin was one of the world’s most distinguished military historians. Both of John’s parents served with the Australian Imperial Force during WW1. His father was an infantry officer, and his mother a nursing sister. John was born in 1922 and grew up in a house where much of the adult conversations concerned memories of the war. From an early age the deeds of the Diggers were instilled in him.

In WW2 John served for five years in the second AIF and was a veteran of the New Guinea campaign.

Many Australians with an interest in World War I will be familiar with the writings of the late John Laffin. Author of such books as

  • Digger,

  • Damn the Dardanelles,

  • Western Front 1916-17 and 1917-18,

  • British Butchers & Bunglers of W.W.I,

  • Digging up the Diggers War,

  • We Will Remember Them

  • Guide to the Australian Battlefields of the Western Front 1916-1918

  • On the Western Front: Soldiers’ Stories 1914-1918

  • World War 1 in Postcards

  • Anzacs at War

  • The Australian Army at War 1899-1975

John earned a reputation both in Australia and overseas for his commitment to honouring the memory of those who served in the AIF. It is impossible to read his books without feeling a sense of great pride, and humbled by the great sacrifice of our Diggers. Together with wife Hazelle, who was his constant companion, John spent many years following the historic steps of the Diggers on the Western Front.

Remembrance was part of John’s everyday life. It took 37 years of campaigning before his concept of an Australian Battlefield Memorial Park in Le Hamel was finally implemented.

John Laffin Le Hamel 4 July 1998

It was on Hamel Day, 4 July 1998, the day of the inauguration of the Australian Corps Memorial Park that John decided to found the FFFAIF. John saw the association as “the best he had ever done for the Diggers”.  Before his untimely death in 2000, John Laffin commenced the first steps in forming an association that would be open to the “families and friends of the First AIF”. The FFFAIF was incorporated in 2002.

John Laffin in honoured through the John Laffin Memorial History Prize and the John Laffin Memorial Lecture series. Click here for details of these.

John Laffin Memorial History Prize

John Laffin Memorial Lecture series