Walter Downing


Walter Downing was born in 1893 at Portland in Victoria.

He was a Melbourne law student when the First World War began, and tried to enlist but was rejected eight times, due to his height, before being accepted by the army. He fought on the Western Front and won the Military Medal for Bravery for the battle held at Polygon Wood.

In 1920 he published To the Last Ridge, possibly the best book about Australians at war. But his publisher went bankrupt in the week of publication, and the book disappeared until its reissue by Duffy & Snellgrove in 1998.

After the war, Downing completed his law degree, married and had four children. The rest of his life appears to have been relatively quiet.

He also wrote Digger Dialects (1919), a collection of the printable slang used in the army.


Email Duffy and Snellgrove