Landing on the beach at Gallipoli, Alec Campbell, aged 16, looked more like a 12-year-old in his big brother's uniform. An Australian country boy caught up in a war he knew little about, on a peninsula he couldn't even spell, he eluded snipers as he carried water up the line to the trenches above Anzac Cove.
Eventually he succumbed to illness and was evacuated to Cairo. Back home again, he went bush as a drover and jackaroo, but Gallipoli had opened his eyes to the iniquities of war and of Empire, and the Depression reinforced his political radicalisation.
He became an active unionist, a socialist and a committed republican. Living with the injury he sustained at Gallipoli, he devoted much of his working life to helping others with disabilities. Alec Campbell, who went to war for adventure and lived to become a national icon, epitomises the Aussie larrikin and reluctant hero.