Links to interviews and special pages below:
Young Digger, by Anthony Hill, with photographs. New edition published by Penguin Books, Melbourne, 2016 284 pages. First edition 2002, short-listed NSW Premier's History Awards, Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Book.
A worthy companion to Soldier Boy Anne Briggs
Young Digger was published in 2002, as a companion book to Soldier Boy. It's another true story of a boy caught up in the horrors of the First World War.
This one was a little French war orphan called Honore or Henri, a mere child who was adopted as a mascot by some Australian airmen. They nicknamed him 'Young Digger', although his real identity remains unknown to this day. And when the airmen returned to Australia in 1919, they brought Young Digger with them – smuggling him aboard the troopship in an oat sack.
Young Digger new edition cover 2016
And they got away with it!
Digger grew up in Queensland with the family of his guardian, Air Mechanic Tim Tovell. Eventually he went to Melbourne and joined the fledgling Royal Australian Air Force as an apprentice mechanic himself.
Young Digger first edition cover 2002-15
In his novel Anthony Hill has focussed on the great adventure of bringing Young Digger home ... from the time the war waif came to the men of No. 4 Squadron in Germany on Christmas Day 1918 ... making him their mascot ... the journey across war-ravaged Europe ... and smuggling him onto the ship.
* NEW: Anthony Hill interview with Philip Clark, ABC Nightlife 29 March 2021
* Young Digger short video (Fairfax Media)
* 'Young Digger' New photos discovered
* Introduction to new edition
* Writing Young Digger Chapter Notes War Memorial National Archives References Teachers' Notes New Ending
In 2009 there was a wonderful new ending to the story of Young Digger. Read about it on this special page