The Salamander and the Fire

Dan Davin
Date Published
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First published in 1986, these collected war stories are told in the order of the Middle East campaigns that provide their settings. The characters are mainly men from the New Zealand Division seen in battle, and in the intervals between battle, sometimes scared, bored, drunk, and disillusioned, like soldiers everywhere. One story, ‘The General and the Nightingale,’ gives a vivid picture of General Freyberg, the man Churchill called ‘the Salamander of the British Empire’. The men of the 2NZ he described as ‘a ball of fire’. The author of these stories was one of them.


Dan Davin (1913-1990) was a scholar, soldier, writer and publisher. Born in New Zealand, he came to England as a Rhodes Scholar. In the Second World War he fought with the New Zealand expeditionary force, writing as a result the highly regarded Crete volume in the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War. Much of his post-war…

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