Medal honour for Australian war historians

Neville James Browning has had a passion for Australian military history since childhood but never imagined a side project writing books that highlighted personal experiences would get him any recognition of his own.

Military historian Neville Browning is shocked at being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Military historian Neville Browning is shocked at being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

"I do it for the families," he told AAP.

The 58-year-old Perth man said he was in shock to learn he was receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the preservation of military history.

"I've been writing history books for donkey's years. It's just what I do with my spare time," he said.

As a child, he heard diggers share war stories on the radio and his interest grew as a teenager.

Mr Browning realised later that some people never shared their memoirs, so he began to fill the gap and has now published eight books.

"I think the human stories are very important," he said.

Mr Browning also works as a tour guide at the Western Front and helps people find where their family member fought and often died.

"Being able to connect people with their grandfathers, or whoever it may be, it keeps me going," he said.

Fellow recipient Lloyd William Blake had his own naval career, which included serving during the Borneo Confrontation and Vietnam War, and he became the founding vice president of the Submarine Institute of Australia.

The 73-year-old, who co-authored the book Centenary of Silent Service, said it was humbling to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the preservation of maritime history.

Mr Blake has worked hard to get recognition for Australia's maritime heroes, who are often overlooked.

He noted Australia's only real success at Gallipoli came through HMAS AE2, which managed to provide a block at the Dardanelles that prevented supply access for the Turkish.

The submarine was later damaged and scuttled in the Sea of Marmara by the crew, who were all captured.

Mr Blake said as Australia prepared to mark the Anzac centenary a few years ago, he felt it was too focused on the army.

"I thought I should make a noise about this," he said.

"They all deserve recognition."

Both Mr Blake and Mr Browning agree schools should teach more Australian war history.

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