From the battlefields of Korea, Malaya and Vietnam to the struggle for veterans' welfare, Keith Payne has never shied away from a fight. More than 50 years ago, this bravery saw him receive the Commonwealth's highest military honour - the Victoria Cross.
Keith grew up one of thirteen children in the shadow of the Great Depression and the Second World War. After seeing his father come home wounded from war, Keith joined the army. He was sent to fight in Korea at just 18 years old, the bloody beginning to decades of military service across the world.
Keith's life was defined by one night in 1969. In the dark jungle of Vietnam, under heavy enemy fire, Keith returned to a fled battlefield to rescue 40 of his soldiers. For his extreme act of bravery in leading his men to safety, Keith became the last Australian to earn the VC for 40 years.
Keith spent decades in the public spotlight while struggling with his own demons, then found new purpose as an advocate for others. In a lifetime of service, he has helped not only veterans of foreign wars, but also Indigenous diggers and communities left behind by civilian and military bureaucracy.
No One Left Behind tells, for the first time in his words, of Keith Payne's remarkable life. His definitive autobiography reveals the story of a big-hearted, iconic Australian and the heart and heartaches of a man who continues to fight for his mates.
Featuring a Foreword by Mark Donaldson VC
Praise for No One Left Behind
'The power is in the story. Keith Payne's life and story is a gift to our nation and the next generation. Born of hardship, a man shaped by the best and worst of human behaviour, who has loved and been loved by one woman. He fought wars for us, then in peace, the lived traumas he brought back with him. A life given ultimately for others. To read No One Left Behind is to accept the challenge to be a better person.' - Hon Dr Brendan Nelson AO
'Raw, brutal, compelling and very, very personal, Payne's account illuminates more than the grizzly and chaotic details of the battlefields he has seen. This reflective tale of an a remarkable Australian, placed in extraordinary circumstances, is also a story of the human condition - warts and all.' - Professor Craig Stockings
'At one level, Keith Payne's book is an exciting story of his exploits in wars from Korea to Vietnam, culminating in the award of the Victoria Cross for bravery. At a deeper level, his post-war experiences show that war unleashes demons in the mind that can overwhelm even the bravest of the brave.' - Dr Peter Yule
'In his own words Keith tells, humbly, how he not only saved 40 of his soldiers in Vietnam, but how he went on to help many, many more veterans in the years to come, while also striving to get on top of his own problems. I can't think of a better example to set ... take care of yourself, but never forget to look after your mates.' - Mark Donaldson VC