Vivid Publishing - Book Publishers Australia

High in the Sunlit Silence

Cmdr Tony Vine

The story of fifty Trainee Pilots
RAAF Narromine NSW, December 1941

‘Make sure you give your brother a big hug and remember his face as you will never see him again.’

These are the heartbreaking words of a father, addressed to his daughter, as her brother Bill Gunning went off to war. Tragically, his father’s presentiment came to pass and, like so many other young men who fought in World War II, Bill never did come back.

But almost seventy-five years later, Bill’s nephew, Commander Tony Vine, revisits the lives of the fifty young men, including his uncle, who trained at RAAF Narromine in New South Wales to become pilots and other aircrew in the European and Pacific theatres of the war. He takes us through their rigorous training, their successes and failures and gives us an insight into the ways in which their lives and the lives of their loved ones were changed by their experiences. Their story is both heartbreaking and exhilarating; by sharing in it through Commander Vine’s thoroughly researched narrative, we can come a little closer to understanding the generations-long impact of war and the simultaneous strength and fragility of the young people we send to fight it.


About the Author

Tony Vine enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in 1971 as a fifteen-year-old engine-room artificer apprentice. Over the next four decades, he served on a range of ships and submarines, including four of the six Australian Oberon-class submarines. He has served on exchange with both the Royal Navy and the Canadian Forces – Maritime Command.  Promoted to Warrant Officer in 1986, he was commissioned in 1988 and he completed an Honours Degree in Engineering at the Australian Maritime College - Launceston. He served as the Marine Engineering Officer of HMAS Orion and HMAS Manoora, and as the Fleet Marine Engineering Officer. His final posting was as the Commanding Officer of Navy Headquarters Tasmania. He transferred to the RANR in 2010 after 39 years service.

A private pilot, Tony has had a lifelong love of aviation and is a keen student of naval and military history.Highlights of his career include carrying the Australian National Flag at Westminster Abbey on ANZAC Day in 1984, and, the following year, laying the wreath at Lone Pine on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy. In 1995, while on exchange with the Canadian Forces, he and a fellow Australian exchange officer inaugurated ANZAC Day services in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. Since 2011, he has been a member of the ABC TV commentary team for the Sydney ANZAC Day march.

Tony has been married to his wife Cathie for forty years. They have four adult children and five grandchildren. His youngest son, Gordon Vine, is the fourth generation of his family to serve in the Australian Defence Force.

This is Tony’s first book.


Book Launch

Book launch of "High in the Sunlit Silence" held in the Captain Reg Saunders Gallery at the Australian War Memorial. 03 April 2017. View more photos here.

Book Launch





High in the Sunlit Silence by Cmdr Tony Vine
ISBN: 978-1-925590-21-0
Format: Paperback C 198mm x 128mm
Extent: 356 pages
RRP $36.99
Publisher: Vivid Publishing
Category: Australian Non-Fiction
Distribution: -- sold out --