Guide to the Papers of John Vader [MSS 242]

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Manuscript Name Papers of John Vader
Manuscript Number MSS 242
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 2 cm (1 folder, 1 box)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection includes correspondence relating to research on Armel Guerne, who was a member of the French Resistance Movement during World War 2, collected by John Vader for his book entitled The Prosper double-cross, published by Sunrise Press, Casino, NSW, 1977. Also included are typescript notes on the 2/3rd Forestry Battalion, 1944-1945, by John Vader, 6 p., 20/11/1988.


The collection has been arranged in box then folder order.

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

John Vader was born on 25 March 1919 at Armidale, New South Wales. He saw World War II service with 6th AIF in Libya, Greece and Syria. He later transferred to the RAAF and flew Spitfires in the Pacific theatre. Vader is reputed to have walked away from two Spitfire crashes, and flown a Wirraway bomber so low the propeller blades were bent. (Source: cover of Anzac). These combined experiences informed his war history writings.

In the late sixties Vader went to London to work as a journalist; he wrote articles for Purnell's Magazine and became editor of a weekly journal. It was at this stage he was commissioned to write Spitfire (1969). It was followed by Pacific Hawk (1970), Anzac (1971) and New Guinea the tide is stemmed (1971), some of which were included in the Ballantine/Purnell Illustrated History of World War 2 series.

Living in London, the Cotswolds and the south of France during this period, Vader began researching his other war-time histories - The fleet without a friend (1971), about the French navy after surrender, and The Prosper double-cross (1977) which detailed the betrayal of an Englishman code-named Prosper, and the French Resistance group he led. According to the cover of his 1980 Gold Coast book an illustrated history, it was during this research period he also wrote five short novels for a Monte-Carlo publisher. These have not been traced. The Pottery and Ceramics of David and Hermia Boyd (1977) resulted from time Vader spent in France at Tourette-sur-Loop helping the Boyds to set up their studio. Antique bottle collecting in Australia (1975) was also written during this era.

After eight years abroad, Vader returned to live on a cattle breeding farm near Byron Bay, writing Leatherwork for Australians (1979) and Red Cedar : the tree of Australia's history (1987) which was revised in 2002 with the title Red gold : the tree that built a nation.

Some of Vader's war-themed books have been translated into Turkish, Japanese, Dutch, French and Portuguese.

John Vader died on the 2 December 2005 Potts Point, New South Wales.

AustLit : the Australian Literature Resource, retrieved 16 July 2008.

Administrative Information


The collection is available for research.

Restrictions on Use

No copying is permitted without the permission of the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Papers of John Vader, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, MS 242, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


This collection was purchased by the Academy Library, UNSW Canberra from John Vader in 1989.

Additional Information

Separated Material

This collection originally included a number of publications, listed below. These works have been catalogued separately, and added to the Library's rare book collection.

Murray, Stewart L. The reality of war : an introduction to "Clausewitz". London : Hugh Rees, 1909.

Wolff, Henry Drummond, 1830-1908. Some notes of the past. [London], England : Sir Henry Drummond Wolff (printed by William Clowes & Sons), 1892.

Guerne, Armel. Le Jardin colérique. Paris : Phébus, 1977.

Guerne, Armel. Rhapsodie des fins dernières. Paris : Phébus, 1977.

Access Terms

Personal Names

Vader, John, 1921-2005 -- Archives.

Guerne, Armel.

Topical Subjects

World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements -- France.




Container List

Box 1

Box-folder 1
Notes, photocopies of research material and correspondence relating to the Prosper network for Vader's book entitled The Prosper double-cross, 1944-1977

Photocopy of Monsieur le Ministre from Le Chef In Consular Suisse, 14/2/1944; Professor M.R.D. Foot, 23/12/1971 and 11/1/1972; Dr Otto John, 25/8/1972; M. Dericourt; Jacques Bureau; Alf Nizet; Madame R. Guepin, 11/4/1972; Paul Bert, 15/6/1973; Joy Robilliard for Airy Neave, 3/11/1971; Airey Neave, 10/1/1972 and 7/9/1972, together with a copy of letter from Georges Broussine, MC; Evelyn Le Chene, 24/1/1972; E.G. Boxshall, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, 27/10/1971; Patrick Grattan, Private Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, 30/5/1972 and 16/6/1972; Armel Guerne, 25/12/1977, 15/9/1977, 22/8/1977, 6/5/1975, 13/1/1975, 23/6/1973, 16/5/1973, 6/2/1973, 4/1/1973, 22/9/1972, 16/6/1972, 23/4/1972, 23/11/1971, 25/9/1971, 13/9/1971, 11/9/1971, 21/8/1971, 6/8/1971, 24/6/1971, 17/5/1971, 11/11/1969
Notes from Armel Guerne on Chapters 5, 6 and 9 of Vader's book
Poem entitled 'Mythologie De L' Homme', by Armel Guerne (1944)
Photocopy of news clipping entitled 'Tortured officer 'did not crack'', published in The Times, 31/7/1973 and letter to The Times from Jean Overton Fuller re Henri Dericourt
Manuscript article regarding the The Hot Club, by Charles Delaunay, 13/2/1972
Typescript notes on the 2/3rd Forestry Battalion, 1944-1945, by John Vader, 6 p., 20/11/1988