At nineteen, powerfully built from his years of manual labour, Bert joins Mickey Finn's Boxing Troupe as a prize fighter. Touring Australia as a heavyweight, he never loses a bout.
When World War I breaks out, Bert rushes to enlist. He serves in Gallipoli, where Australian and allied troops suffer thousands of casualties in their attempt to wrest control of the peninsula from the Turks. Bert takes part in bayonet charges and hand-to-hand combat in trenches, and sees his companions dying around him. His own brother Roy is killed by a shell, and Bert helps to bury him.
Then an exploding shell crushes one of his legs and causes internal injuries. Bert is sent back to Perth to recuperate. While there, Bert meets a young woman, Evelyn Gibson. After a short courtship, they marry, and Bert settles down to a life of relative peace and contentment like he never knew in the struggles and hardships of his early life.