Born in Innisfail, North Queensland, Australia 2 March 1939.

Lex was interested in aviation from an early age, given that in WW2 there were constant flights of war planes overhead and one uncle was a pilot killed in the RAAF.

There was no flying school or aero club within 60 miles of Innisfail, so there was no prospect of riding a bike to and from as in the legends of aviation.

Any hope of becoming a pilot were dashed at a high school cricket match when Lex was hit in the left eye by a fast-moving ball that inflicted damage.

Lex joined the Regular Army June 1960 to see more of the world. The eye damage to his left eye was not bad enough to affect shooting and he scored ‘Marksman’.

Lex opted for infantry; in 1962 volunteered for language aptitude tests; accepted for RAAF School of Languages, Point Cook; 1 year fulltime study 1963; graduated as Vietnamese linguist.

Lex and two other Vietnamese linguists in 1964 were sent to 4th Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR), preparing to fight Indonesians, in defence of Malaysia. The Australian presence in Vietnam was a small number of advisers at this time. Being young and bullet-proof, Lex and the others did not care who they fought.

When Australians were committed to South Vietnam in April 1965, Lex received an immediate posting to the first Australian infantry battalion to serve there. This was 1st Battalion RAR (1RAR), and with additional armour, artillery, signals and support elements, joined the US 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate) at Bien Hoa, north-east of Saigon.

With the brigade, 1RAR experienced actions against the Vietcong over much of the Corps area and into the Mekong Delta.

A high-light of this tour of duty was the capture of the Vietcong headquarters for the entire region of Saigon and district.

After a year in SVN Lex returned to Australia in 1966 and was played a major role in establishment of a short colloquial Vietnamese course taught in Sydney.

In late 1967, Lex went back to Vietnam on the staff of the Military Attache, Australian Embassy, in time for the Tet Offensive and was for a time the only Australian with access to General Westmoreland’s operations room.

On return to Australia in 1968, Lex taught Intelligence subjects and returned to Vietnam in 1970, eventually taking charge of the Interrogation and Document Translation Section at the Australian field HQ.

Having returned from SVN in April 1971, Lex was asked to go again later in the year, and agreed, but the Australian involvement ended in October.

These postings allowed him to experience the war in Vietnam at the highest and lowest levels – out in the weeds and tunnels, at the field HQ and with access to General Westmoreland’s operations room.

In 1977 Lex went to Germany on exchange with the British army and was able to travel extensively there and in the UK, especially to battle-fields.

Lex retired from the Army in 1982 and researched and wrote the following:




When the Buffalo Fight - a novel about 1RAR 1965-66; first Australian combat unit deployed to Vietnam.

The Battle of Long Tan - the decisive battle fought by one rifle company of Australians against four battalions of Vietcong and North Vietnamese, which changed the balance of power in the Australian area.

The Battle of Coral - the defence of Saigon 1968 by the Australians.

Contact - a photographic ‘tour of duty’ in South Vietnam.

The Fighting First - History of 1RAR’s second Vietnam tour of duty 68-69.

In The Ocean's Dark Embrace - the history of the Australian navy divers in Vietnam, 1967-71.

Blue Lanyard, Red Banner - the capture by Australians of the Vietcong.



        Against All Odds - RAAF fighter pilots, Malta 1942; Darwin 1943.

             Four Aces - the flying careers of four Australian aces 1941-44.

        Six Aces - the flying careers of six Australian fighter aces 1940-45.

             We Who Are About to Die - the aviation career of John Lerew DFC.

Press On - Flying Lancaster bombers against the Third Reich, the aviation

career of SqnLdr Frank Lawrence DFC DFM.

Southern Cross Spitfires – 79 Squadron RAAF, the only Spitfire squadron

raised in Australia.


Blood & Iron  - the Kokoda campaign 1942, using Japanese documents to add their side of the campaign.

To The Bitter End - the Buna campaign Nov 42-Jan 43, which followed Kokoda, when the Japanese pushed back to the coast of New Guinea had to be exterminated in frightful jungle fighting.

Battle of the Bismarck Sea - the decisive action in March 1943 when 12 of 16 Jap ships bringing troops to New Guinea were sunk in one day, and changed the balance of power in favour of the Allies.

Into The Dragon’s Jaws - the daylight bombing campaign on Rabaul 1943.

MacArthur’s Eagles - the airwar over PNG 1943-44.



Anzac to Zentsuji - the military career of John Scanlan, 1914-19 and 1939-45.

Jack Scanlan landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 as a platoon commander and by 1918 commanded a battalion in the big battles of that year. In 1941 he was unfortunate in being sent to Rabaul to command, six weeks before Japan attacked, and unfairly has been denigrated for the defeat at Rabaul.

 These books have been published in Australia, the UK and USA.


Also available on Amazon-Kindle are:

Anzac to Zentsuji

Blue Lanyard, Red Banner

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea

Into the Dragon’s Jaws

Southern Cross Spitfires



At present, Lex manages Banner Books, which specialises in Australian aviation and military history.

In 1996, Lex McAulay returned to Queensland to live in Maryborough, on the east coast about 250 km north of Brisbane. It has a sub-tropical climate, pleasant most of the year and is south of the main cyclone belt.

Lex lives in a typical Australian tropical style home, with living area above and garage, storage and book business areas below, macadamia and frangipani trees in the yard and many other shrubs selected to attract birds. Kookaburras perch on the power utility poles outside, when they arrive in that part of their travels.

He has been President of the Rotary Club of Maryborough twice and has held various Board positions in the club since 2001. At present he is the club Secretary.

In late life, Lex took up target shooting and has a 1918 .303-inch SMLE that shoots well; a .223 Savage; and a .308 Mauser action that shoots very well. Lex knows he has to improve to reach the standard of these rifles.

In the 2007 Queen’s Birthday honours he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to literature as a military historian.



 Lex McAulay

   Betty Beck - Lex McAulay - Bill Beck - Stan Shaban - Joe Long

 Lex McAulay was the Guest Speaker at the Reunion.

In the 2007 Queen’s Birthday honours he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to literature as a military historian.