“A gripping true yarn about Australian courage,comrades and compassion!” – Mark Donaldson VC
About the Book
This is the true story of a young Australian soldier whose life of opportunity was cut down by trauma yet revived by strength and providence.
Nelson Ferguson, from Ballarat, was a stretcher-bearer on the Western Front in France in World War I. He survived the dangers of stretcher-bearing in some of Australia’s most horrific battles: the Somme, Bullecourt, Ypres and Villers-Bretonneux. In April 1918, at Villers-Bretonneux, he was severely gassed. His eyes were traumatised, his lungs damaged.
Upon his return home, he met and married Madeline, the love of his life, started a family, and resumed his career teaching art. But eventually the effects of the mustard gas claimed his eyesight, ending his career. Courageously enduring this consequence of war, he continued contributing to society by assisting his son and son-in-law in their stained-glass window business. Advances in medicine finally restored his sight in 1968, allowing him to yet again appreciate the beauty around him, before his death in 1976.
The story of this Anzac will stir your soul. It is a story of war and bravery, pain and strength, hope and miracles.
“Remarkable… intensely personal.”
– Barry Jones AC
“The Great War changed everything. This true story shows what wonders can be born of such horrors. And it reminds us that we must never forget.”
– Julian Burnside AO, QC
‘Let there be light! Farrands’ truly visionary book is as fine on the miracle of sight as John Hull’s masterpiece Touching the Rock – or the masterful writings of Oliver Sacks’.
-Phillip Adams AO
“This inspiring soldier’s life fills the reader with the broader history of the ANZAC generations and reveals the power of endurance, hope and the bonds of family.”
– Kate Darian-Smith
Professor of Australian Studies and History University of Melbourne
“Like NH Ferguson, my grandfather, Horace Stott, returned damaged from World War I. He was also a ‘timeless believer in peace’. The Glass Soldier blends wartime horror with peacetime beauty. This remarkable story shows that hope and courage and beauty can survive almost anything.”
-Natasha Stott Despoja AM
“Profoundlymoving, vivid and informative.”
– Nigel Westlake, composer
“Grandly told but touchingly revealing, this ANZAC story reminds us of the horror of war; of personal legacies; of ‘mateship’; and the power of unswerving love. I wish I had known the Glass Soldier.”
– Derek Guille, broadcaster
“When you restore a person’s sight, you restore their dignity and independence. The Glass Soldier is a heart-warming reminder of the trauma of the loss of sight, and the miracle of its return when made possible.”
-Gabi Hollows AO The Fred Hollows Foundation