April 27, 2004


Fascinating article by Fairfax feature writer Andrew Rule on Korean War sniper Ian Robertson, now 77:

In all of modern warfare, few were more fatally efficient than this kindly grandfather. No one knows just how many dozen enemy soldiers he killed in eight bone-chilling months in Korea, except the man himself. And he's not saying much.

Far from it; Rule gently encourages Robertson -- who "could group 15 rounds in a space smaller than his fist at 300 metres, hit a target the size of a man's head at 600 metres, and was confident of hitting a man from 800 to 1000 metres if conditions were right" -- to say a great deal. Rule is one of Australia’s best.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 27, 2004 02:28 AM

I can't help but wonder, at the rate that history is being rewritten, how long it will be till all our war heroes are re-cast as war criminals?

Posted by: Brian. at April 27, 2004 at 02:44 AM

Concur Tim, excellent writing.

Posted by: fidens at April 27, 2004 at 03:01 AM

I got to the bit about how the ex-sniper couldn't shoot his horse and had to fight back tears. Rule used to write for the Age. What Fairfax retard let him leave?

Posted by: superboot at April 27, 2004 at 03:05 AM

He's still at Fairfax, superboot -- this piece ran in the Good Weekend magazine included in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

A sidenote: Rule reports that Robertson finished second in the Queen’s Medal shooting contest after returning from Korea. My uncle Alan, who taught me how to shoot, once won the Queen's Medal, at which standards are incredibly high. Like, freak-show high. No wonder Robertson was so effective in Korea.

Posted by: tim at April 27, 2004 at 03:35 AM

Thanks, Tim. My point was the fading Age needs him a lot more than a glorified lifestyle mag.

Posted by: superboot at April 27, 2004 at 03:40 AM

Does anyone know where I can get a sniper's rifle that could be disguised as a walking stick? It is for purely recreational sniping, you understand, and would not be used in acts of politically-motivated terror. I give you my word on that.

Why would I wish to kill my fellow man, unless he was sinning?

Posted by: Harry Hutton at April 27, 2004 at 04:37 AM

Harry, send your name and address in to the Department of Homeland Security (or your country's equivilent thereof), Attn: Purchases of Weapons Not Intended for Acts of Politically Motivated Terror, Honest

They should respond promptly. :)

Posted by: Sortelli at April 27, 2004 at 10:52 AM

This was one of the best pieces of Australian journalism I have seen for a while and deserves the plaudits it is getting here.

Posted by: mike at April 27, 2004 at 08:21 PM

a wonderful article tim; thanks!

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at April 27, 2004 at 11:00 PM

Just read this article for the second time. What a great story, and more to the point, what a great man.

Posted by: mark bristow at April 28, 2004 at 12:19 AM

What an incredible, moving story. God bless this man, and God bless the Australian Army.

Posted by: James Holloway at April 28, 2004 at 04:30 AM