History detective, historian, investigative writer & specialist tour guide

Lynette Silver’s Latest Release :

Billy Young’s secrets finally revealed
At the age of 90, ex-POW Billy Young finally tells his story – all of it.

Billy: My Life as a Teenage POW

billy-book

Lynette Silver and Billy Young

PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2016

Paperback | Sally Milner Publishing | | 9781863514958 | 340pp | $29.99

“I had never experienced a regular home environment, and certainly nothing even approaching what people take for granted today. I had never experienced the feeling of belonging to a proper family, or the warm comfort of a family home. Life for me had always been a game of chance; a matter of heads or tails. Yet it was here, on that faraway island, while chained to a cable on an old timber wharf, that I had my first yearning for home.” Billy Young

“Billy Young is a remarkable human being and a national treasure. I am proud and humbled to have him as my friend.”  Lynette Silver

Billy: My Life as a Teenage POW is the story of an orphaned 15 year old, who enlisted in the army in World War II. Assigned to 2/29 Infantry Battalion in the 8th Australian Division, he was captured by the Japanese when Singapore fell in February 1942. He spent all his teenage years slaving on airfield construction in Sandakan, Borneo, and as an inmate in Outram Road Gaol Singapore, the infamous high security punishment prison run by the Japanese secret police.

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Billy is now the only soldier left alive from Sandakan and the only surviving Australian imprisoned in Outram Road Gaol. He is also the last of the ‘boy’ soldiers who enlisted in WW2.

His close friend, historian and author Lynette Silver, has spent the last thirty years researching and writing about events that Billy experienced at first hand. Consequently, he talks to her as if she had actually been in the POW camp and gaol with him. This unique rapport between historian and POW survivor has produced a lively and at times thought provoking account of life as a prisoner of war, told through the eyes of a teenaged boy.

Their book has been compiled from a chronicle begun by Billy in the 1970s, when he recorded his memories in exercise books while travelling around Australia, supplemented by hundreds of conversations that Lynette and Billy have shared in the course of their close friendship spanning more than two decades. Billy’s story is the only account published by a soldier from Sandakan, and one of only three to recount the daily struggle to stay alive in the Kempeitai’s equally notorious Outram Road Gaol.

The way in which the teenaged Billy overcame the many difficulties he encountered as a POW, and how he managed to survive incredible hardships when so many did not, is inspiring.

Interspersed throughout the book and printed in italics, are Lynette Silver’s historical details providing additional narrative to compliment Billy’s first-hand accounts.

Billy: My Life as a Teenage POW also includes short poems written by Billy, along with his drawings and paintings depicting events that occurred during his time as a POW. These are the only visual records in existence. The book is his memorial to all those who died in Borneo and in Outram Road Gaol.

ABOUT LYNETTE’S CO-AUTHOR

Bill_feder

KEITH WILLIAM (BILLY) YOUNG, OAM known as Billy, was born in Hobart in 1925. In 1929, after his mother died, his father moved to Sydney’s Ultimo, at that time regarded as a slum. The Depression was at its height, and life was difficult. After several jobs, and an aborted attempt to ride round Australia on his bicycle, Billy enlisted in the AIF at the age of 15. He was sent to Singapore, where he was wounded before becoming a POW. Shortly afterwards he was drafted on a work force to Sandakan in British North Borneo to build an airstrip.

After a failed escape attempt in early 1943, he was badly beaten before being sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in the high security Outram Road Gaol in Singapore. Conditions were horrendous, and a number of inmates died. Billy somehow defied the odds and survived, only to discover on his release that all but six of the 2500 POWs at Sandakan had perished.

He returned to Australia, became a carpenter and married. The marriage did not last, largely due to the trauma of the war years. There was no counseling for returned servicemen, but Billy has managed to work through his trauma by writing poetry and to paint and draw various scenes based on his many wartime experiences.

Some years ago Billy also began to record his experiences. However, while Billy has featured in various books on Sandakan, he had never told anyone the complete story, which until now he has kept entirely to himself.

He lives in simple retirement in Sydney where he continues to paint, and indulge in his other favourite pastime, reading. In 2004, he received an OAM for his efforts to keep the Sandakan story alive.


IN THE MOUTH OF THE TIGER

Front cover

IN THE MOUTH OF THE TIGER

Derek Emerson-Elliott & Lynette Silver
Paperback | Sally Milner Publishing | 9781863514576 | 800pp| $40.00

How did I find out my father was MI6? I had absolutely no idea until I was in my 50s. On reflection, my father shared many of the character traits created by his friend Ian Fleming for the fictional James Bond. Like James Bond, his secret service identification number was 007. (Author Derek Emerson-Elliott)

In the Mouth of the Tiger is a novel that is very personal to authors Derek Emerson-Elliott and military historian Lynette Silver. It is based on real people and events and the central character is based on Derek’s own father, Denis Emerson-Elliott, who worked for British intelligence before, during and after the Second World War. He is also the MI6 spy that Lynette Silver met on Central Railway station in Sydney, one wet winter’s day in 1996 and is referred to in her book Deadly Secrets.

In the mouth of the Tiger is an amazing story of love, mystery and intrigue.

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The title of the book has been taken from an old Malayan saying that ‘The safest place in the jungle is in the mouth of the tiger’.

At the time of the story, Britain ruled the whole of the Malayan Peninsula as part of her Empire. Security Intelligence Far East (SIFE) was a special British Intelligence organisation set up in Singapore to combat the spread of Communism. It comprised agents from both MI5 and MI6.

“My father was always reluctant to the point of obsession to respond to any questions by his family about his life in the secret service until just before he died in 1997.  He did, however, open up to Lynette, who I think he admired and trusted because she had such a deep knowledge of secret matters.  He would often say to Lynette ‘How on Earth do you know that?’ in a tone of absolute wonder.  It was almost a standing joke between them, and I think he thought of her as being ‘within the fold,” explains Derek Emerson-Elliott.

In the Mouth of the Tiger is also a love story between Derek’s father and his mother, Nona Orlov, a very beautiful young Russian, the heroine of the story and her early life was as depicted in the book and their family home was Whitelawns, near Changi. In real life, Nona (Norma Emerson-Elliot) died tragically young. Derek and his brother and sister never knew their mother was Russian until after her death.

The final scenes in the story are pure fiction but the setting for these events are based on facts. The Emerson-Elliotts did live at Almer Manor, Dorset, in 1949, where they entertained senior intelligence personalities including Ian Fleming and Admiral Sir Reginald Drax, their neighbour (Fleming cheekily ‘borrowed’ Drax’s name for the villain of the James Bond novel Moonraker).

Denis Emerson-Elliott (the name given to him by British intelligence) was a most engaging figure. There has been much speculation over the years on the identity of the wartime naval intelligence officer, on whom Fleming is said to have based his famous character James Bond.

Some people in Britain believe that Fleming used himself as the model. Both Denis and Fleming were in the British Secret Service, were about the same age, moved in the same circles and even had identical wartime intelligence roles – Fleming in the UK was Personal Assistant to the British Director of Naval Intelligence and Denis was the Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in Australia. These two look-alikes were suave, sophisticated, charming, charismatic, mysterious, had an eye for the ladies and could be ruthless, when and if the need arose. Although both would be equally suited to have inspired the creation of James Bond, Denis has a definite edge. Documents uncovered reveal that his wartime secret service number was, indeed, 007.

REVIEW

Engaging book suggestions for yourself or your bookclub

In the Mouth of the tiger by Lynette Silver, Derek Emerson-Elliot.
Published 2014. Sally Milner Publishing.

Vivid, intriguing and entirely evocative love story set in Malaysia, KL, Singapore, England and Australia, from early 1900s til end of WW2. My-oh-My, the espionage that went on…in all types of countries and levels of society…!Fascinating look at the changing politics in the Malaya region, whilst following the great love between Nona Orlov, a young Russian refugee residing in colonial Penang, and Denis, an Englishman who offers her a multi-dimensional world of espionage, stunning homes including a beachside mansion in Malaya, romantic cars, well-bred horses, yachts and fascinating dinner parties. There’s intrigue under every bush, as inch by inch, we learn that Denis Elesmere-Elliott is not always what he seems. Nona gets plunged into a dark world of treachery, violence and sudden death. Mysteries unfold and Nona realises that, if she is to survive, her courage and wisdom needs to intensify. Which it does. Big time! It rings true, probably because of the sharp writing and the characters and events have been based on real life happenings and people. Awe-inspiring research and memorable characters. Amazing and spell binding. Read it four days because I became addicted. Now I need to read it again. Why? Because I cannot say farewell!!!! Am not ready to put it to sleep. Cannot wait for the film!!!

Review by Fran Penfold
A Book Club choice you will treasure!

To read more about the James Bond/Denis Emerson-Elliott story, go to The Real James Bond.

 

Published Books

The following books are currently available. Inscribed and signed copies of ALL books can be ordered by Australian buyers direct from the author (see Book orders for details). Sandakan, Vinegar Hill, Parit Sulong, Deadly Secrets and In the Mouth of the Tiger can also be ordered through any good book shop in Australia or via the internet. Marcel Caux is now out of print, but copies can still be obtained from the author. For details on where to obtain Blood Brothers in Australia and in Sabah, see Book orders.

Readers in the UK can obtain copies of Sandakan A Conspiracy of Silence , Deadly Secrets and In the Mouth of the Tiger from:

Gazelle Book Services Ltd
White Cross Mills
Hightown
Lancaster LA1 4XS
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 68765 or Fax: +44 (0) 1524 63232
Email : sales@gazellebooks.co.uk

These books are also available in Singapore from:

Changi Museum,
1000, Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707
Tel: (65) 6214 2451
Email: changimuseum@singnet.com.sg

 

billy-bookIn the Mouth of the TigerSandakan - A Conspiracy of SilenceBLOOD BROTHERS

 

  • Billy: My Life as a Teenage POW
    Synopsis
    Billy: My life as a teenage POW has been compiled by historian Lynette Silver from a personal chronicle penned by Billy young in the late 1970s. It is the only first-hand account by an ordinary soldier imprisoned by the Japanese in the infamous Sandakan POW Camp, and one of only three books by a survivor of the Kempeitai's equally notorious Outram Road Gaol in Singapore. Billy is now the only soldier left alive from Sandakan and the only Australian still alive from Outram Road Billy enlisted at the age of only 15, one of the youngest, if not the youngest, soldiers to serve in the AIF.  His unit, 2/29 Infantry Battalion, saw heavy action as the Allies attempted and failed to prevent the Fall of Singapore.  Wounded, captured and taken to Sandakan in British North Borneo, Billy and his mate Jimmy Brown escaped, but were soon recaptured, tortured and taken to Kuching for trial, where they were sentenced to four years in Outram Road Gaol. Lynette and Billy have used their many years of friendship to create Billy: My Life as a teenage POW, with Lynette providing historical details gleaned from years of combing archival documents, and Billy giving the narrative immense vibrancy and life as he takes his readers on a very personal journey.
  • In the Mouth of the Tiger
    Synopsis
    How did I find out my father was MI6? I had absolutely no idea until I was in my 50s. On reflection, my father shared many of the character traits created by his friend Ian Fleming for the fictional James Bond. Like James Bond, his secret service identification number was 007. (Author Derek Emerson-Elliott)
    In the Mouth of the Tiger is a novel that is very personal to authors Derek Emerson-Elliott and military historian Lynette Silver. It is based on real people and events and the central character is based on Derek’s own father, Denis Emerson-Elliott, who worked for British intelligence before, during and after the Second World War. He is also the MI6 spy that Lynette Silver met on Central Railway station in Sydney, one wet winter’s day in 1996 and is referred to in her book Deadly Secrets.
    In the mouth of the Tiger is an amazing story of love, mystery and intrigue.
  • Sandakan – A Conspiracy of Silence NEW: The 4th edition of this book, which has been revised, extensively updated and completely revamped, is now available from book stores in Australia or from Lynette (see Book Orders)
    Synopsis
    It is August 1945 and World War 2 is over. Japan has surrendered. As the small number of remaining Australian and British prisoners of war are massacred. Of the 2434 prisoners incarcerated by the Japanese at the Sandakan POW camp, only six, all escapees, have survived.The POWs, sent from Singapore in 1942-43 to work on airfield construction, endured frequent beatings and were subjected to other, more diabolical punishment. Sustained only by an inadequate and ever-diminishing rice-ration and with little medical attention, many died of malnutrition, maltreatment and disease. In 1945, those still able to walk were sent on a series of death marches into the interior. Anyone unable to keep up was ruthlessly murdered. Those left behind were systematically starved to death, or massacred.
    In late 1944 the Allies, aware that POWs were being ‘eliminated’, had evolved a plan for their rescue – a rescue which, after months of bungling, was finally cancelled in April, 1945, in the erroneous belief that the camp had been evacuated.
    Gross incompetence and faulty intelligence were to blame for the failed rescue attempt. When it was realised that mistakes and stupidity were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of men, those at the highest level shifted the blame to others, before embarking upon a policy of wilful and deliberate suppression.
    Desperate to obtain information, grieving relatives wrote to newspapers, begging for information and asking the reason for the secrecy. ‘The story of the greatest tragedy in Australian military history remain to be written’, wrote one, in 1946. ‘Who will undertake the task?’
    Lynette Ramsay Silver, through painstaking research and interviews with survivors, as well as study of Japanese records, has pieced together a detailed and highly readable account of the lived and ultimate fate of Sandakan’s POW’s. She tells a totally gripping and horrifying tale, not only of the prisoners, but the reasons why they, and their story, become World War 2’s most deadly secret.
  • The Battle of Vinegar Hill (Bicentenary edition)
    Synopsis
    The story of botched mini-rebellions, failed escape attempts, mutiny, wild rumours, conspiracies, betrayals and personal tragedy. The author reveals the lives of the key rebels and their enemies against a background of Irish politics in the colonial period.On 5 March 1804, a small group of resolute convicts, many of them Irishmen, staged a revolt against the colonial government. With the cry of ‘Death or Liberty’ a short but bloody rebellion took place, resulting in the death of twenty-four rebels and the arrest of 300 others. yet this event in Australia’s history her largely been ignored.Among the embezzlers, forgers, petty thieves, sheep stealers and house breakers transported to the colony, were men whose crimes were purely political. The resentment of these political prisoners knew no bounds. Many of the Irish convicts, incensed by the injustice of their situation, were infuriated by the lack of official records and the resulting confusion over the lengths of their sentences. Disillusioned by the impossibility of returning to Ireland, the dissidents created a state of constant unrest in the new community. Cropping their hair in the style of the French revolutionaries, they formed secret leagues and held clandestine meetings to plan their escape from exile. In desperation, they laid siege to the colony and demanded to be taken home to Ireland.Lynette Ramsay Silver’s work is the first thorough account of the battle and its causes. Illustrated with portraits, maps and landscape art of the period The Battle of Vinegar Hill is an important book for every reader interested in colonial history and the development of the Australian character.
  • The Bridge at Parit Sulong
    Synopsis
    IN JANUARY 1942, AS THE JAPANESE PUSHED THE MAIN ALLIED ARMY DOWN THE MALAY PENINSULA, TWO UNDER-STRENGTH AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALIONS, A HANDFUL OF GUNNERS AND A DEPLETED INDIAN CONTINGENT HELD BACK A VASTLY SUPERIOR ENEMY FORCE. THE BATTLE WAS ONE OF THE MOST DESPERATE FIGHTING RETREATS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR FOR WHICH THE AUSTRALIAN COMMANDER, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CHARLES ANDERSON, WAS AWARDED A VICTORIA CROSS.After four days of relentless combat, they reached the bridge at the village of Parit Sulong only to find it in Japanese hands. Unable to break though and unwilling to surrender, Anderson gave the order ‘every man for himself. Left behind at the bridge were the badly wounded, over 100 Australian and 35 Indian soldiers, expecting Red Cross protection. This was not to be and what followed was one of the most infamous massacres of World War II.The Bridge at Parit Sulong tells, for the first time, the full story of this epic battle, and its appalling aftermath. Through dogged research, including an examination of the battle site, Lynette Silver has pieced together a story of heroism, mass murder and barbarism.For sixty years, the names of the Australians murdered at Parit Sulong, the location of their remains, and even the killing field itself, were unknown. In this gripping account, the author unravels these mysteries and reveals the fate of many other Australians who, up until now, have just been listed ‘missing in action’.This book traces, in detail, the story of all these events and how, through an intricate legal chase, the Japanese responsible for the massacre were finally brought to justice.THE BRIDGE AT PARIT SULONG IS HISTORICAL DETECTION AT ITS VERY BEST.
  • Marcel Caux – A Life Unravelled
    Synopsis
    The eleventh day of the eleventh month, 2001. The magnificent sandstone GPO clock, towering over Sydney’s Martin Place, strikes the eleventh hour. The few hundred people assembled around the cenotaph bow their heads. It is Remembrance Day. A time to pause and reflect on the war to end all wars.Beyond the ranks of official guests, pedestrians wander past, some pausing momentarily in idle curiosity. Others, ignorant or uncaring of the solemnity of the occasion, scurry along the arched colonnade or push through the edge of the crowd, provoking scowls and murmurs of displeasure. Some, however, take the time to stop and watch as an elderly veteran, red Flanders poppy in his lapel and campaign medals pinned to his chest, places a wreath on the shrine. Later, the Prime Minister, elected to his third term only the previous night, shakes the veteran’s hand, declaring him to be ‘one of a dying breed’. Yet very few of the onlookers have any idea who the old bloke is.For anyone outside his immediate circle, Marcel Caux’s appearance that Remembrance Day was, like the PM’s, quite unexpected. He was one of only four surviving Great War veterans in New South Wales, yet he was also an enigma. Asked by one reporter why he had remained silent about his war service for eighty-four years, he said he did not want to bring back memories of killing other men. ‘I was trained to kill … and I killed. I can never get that out of my mind. It never leaves me.’ Another journalist who posed the same question was told, ‘Well, no one ever bothered to ask me about it’.When the questions were finally asked, however, no one could have guessed where the answers would lead …
  • Deadly Secrets
    Synopsis
    In February 1942, when Australian Bill Reynolds escaped from Singapore in a battered Japanese fishing boat, he had no idea that his nondescript vessel would be the catalyst for Operation Jaywick, one of the most daring missions undertaken behind enemy lines in World War II. Using Reynolds’ boat, now renamed Krait, a small band of men attacked enemy shipping in Singapore Harbour – an action that would have far reaching and tragic repercussions for the people of Singapore. The following year, members of the same team embarked upon a second and far more ambitious raid, Operation Rimau. Although this mission was partially successful, every member of the party was killed.In telling the story of both these raids, Lynette Silver reveals a number of deadly secrets, and gives an insight into the world of covert operations, partly through the eyes of Denis Emerson-Elliott, a British secret service agent closely associated with both missions. Aided by a vital eyewitness, she also sheds light on action which took place on a remote Indonesian island, and lays to rest a number of myths which have arisen in the sixty-five years since the Singapore raids took place. Deadly Secrets is a gripping tale, told by a consummate story teller, who fearlessly handles the often unpalatable truth.
  • Blood Brothers
    Synopsis
    In January 1942,the peace and tranquility enjoyed by British North Borneo (Sabah) for sixty years was shattered by the invasion of Japanese forces. Vastly outnumbered,and compelled to lay down their arms without a shot being fired, the people of Sabah may have lost the battle, but they did not give up the fight. On the west coast, freedom fighters formed the Kinabalu Guerrillas, taking many enemy lives before their rebellion was put down in a series of bloody reprisals. On the east coast, determined to help overthrow the occupying forces, Sandakan’s civilian population established an underground movement,taking enormous risks to assist European internees and hundreds of Australian prisoners of war, transported from Singapore to build an airstrip.The story of these courageous and resilient people, which has been ignored for well over sixty years,has now been documented in great detail. These unsung heroes,who risked and sacrificed their lives to extend the hand of friendship to total strangers in their hour of need, laid the foundations for a lasting and very special friendship between the people of Sabah and Australia.Blood brothers is not only a moving and absorbing tale. It is a wonderful tribute to those who demonstrated courage of the highest and rarest order, inspired not by the prospect of victory, but by the reality of defeat and oppression.

    Blood Brothers, which was published in Sabah,  was launched at Sandakan in August 2010 by the Governor General of Australia, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce.

    This book is available in Australia from Lynette,  Warbooks in Sydney (mail order) at warbookshop@bigpond.com or the bookshop at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. For orders outside Australia contact Borneo Books in Sabah, which has an on-line shops selling many titles that deal with Borneo, at borneobooks.com

 

Sabah edition of Sandakan A Conspiracy of Silence (RRP RM60), and Blood Brothers (RRP RM70) are available in Kota Kinabalu  at Wisma Merdeka (next to the Hyatt Hotel) either from the publisher, C L Chan, Natural History Publications, on Level 9, or from Borneo Books on the ground floor (online shop at www.borneobooks.com); at Sabah Tea Gardens near Ranau; and from various other bookstores in Sabah.


The books listed below are previous works by the author.

The Heroes of RimauKrait - The Fishing Boat that went to War

  1. Fabulous Furphies - 10 Great Myths from Australia's Past

    Every country has its historical myths and Australia, where such tales may be known as ‘furphies’, is no exception.

    The ten diverse and uniquely Australian furphies exposed in this book by Authors Edward Docker and Lynette Silver, have been chosen to cover a wide range of topics, from Aboriginal Australia and early settlement to World War 2.

    Some, like Fisher’s Ghost, have been around for the best part of 200 years; others, such as the story of Lasseter’s Reef, for a much shorter time, while the effects of an amazing gold scam, pulled off by Edward Hargraves in 1851, continue to the present day. Illustrated with a large number of photographs, drawings and maps, Fabulous Furphies shows that in the hands of skilled researchers and story-tellers, Australian history is always fascinating.

  2. On this Rock - The Church of St Peter, Hornsby (1898 - 1998)

    Lynette’s mother, Eunice Ramsay has been a member of St Peter’s congregation for more than 40 years. Serving as unofficial secretary for four Rectors and producer of Pew Bulletin, she is in a unique position as observer and recorder of parish life.
  3. A Fool's Gold? - William Tipple Smith's challenge to the Hargraves myth.


    A quartz gold specimen, a few tattered, fragmented letters and an old death notice. These seemingly unrelated clues were the vital links in the solution which has put an end to the long-standing myth that Edward Hammond Hargraves was the discoverer of gold in Australia.

    In 1847, mineralogist William Tipple Smith ventured into the rugged hill country near Bathurst, New South Wales and discovered payable gold. After additional successful exploration, he informed the government of his discovery. The apathy, lies and cover-up which followed form the basis of an intriguing tale of mismanagement, buck-passing and official ineptitude.

    Smith’s discovery resulted for him, not in fame and fortune, but in defamation, ruin and untimely death. The government and Edward Hammond Hargraves, were so effective in the systematic destruction of Smith that the true story has remained untold for almost one hundred and forty years. Persistent detective work by the author, whose belief that an innocent man was the tragic victim of political expediency, enabled her too succeed where others have failed, resulting in a totally new interpretation of a fascinating aspect of Australian history.

    The story of William Tipple Smith is the story of one man’s fight for justice and recognition long overdue. The large number of illustrations and a comprehensive document appendix make A Fool’s Gold? a valuable reference work on the history of early gold discoveries in New South Wales.

  4. The Battle of Vinegar Hill (1988 edition) - Australia's Irish Rebellion, 1804
    The story of botched mini-rebellions, failed escape attempts, mutiny, wild rumours, conspiracies, betrayals and personal tragedy. The author reveals the lives of the key rebels and their enemies against a background of Irish politics in the colonial period.

    On 5 March 1804, a small group of resolute convicts, many of them Irishmen, staged a revolt against the colonial government. With the cry of ‘Death or Liberty’ a short but bloody rebellion took place, resulting in the death of twenty-four rebels and the arrest of 300 others. yet this event in Australia’s history her largely been ignored.

    Among the embezzlers, forgers, petty thieves, sheep stealers and house breakers transported to the colony, were men whose crimes were purely political. The resentment of these political prisoners knew no bounds. Many of the Irish convicts, incensed by the injustice of their situation, were infuriated by the lack of official records and the resulting confusion over the lengths of their sentences. Disillusioned by the impossibility of returning to Ireland, the dissidents created a state of constant unrest in the new community. Cropping their hair in the style of the French revolutionaries, they formed secret leagues and held clandestine meetings to plan their escape from exile. In desperation, they laid siege to the colony and demanded to be taken home to Ireland.

    Lynette Ramsay Silver’s work is the first thorough account of the battle and its causes. Illustrated with portraits, maps and landscape art of the period The Battle of Vinegar Hill is an important book for every reader interested in colonial history and the development of the Australian character.

  5. The Heroes of Rimau

    The Heroes of Rimau
    On 11th September 1944, Porpoise, a British submarine, slipped quietly from Fremantle Harbour, Australia, bound for the Riouw Islands, south of Singapore. Onboard were 23 Australian and British members of Operation Rimau under the leadership of the remarkable Lieutenant-Colonel Ivan Lyon, Gordon Highlanders. They had intended to repeat Operation Jaywick, a commando raid on Japanese-occupied Singapore Harbour, where they had successfully blown up sixty vessels in the previous year. None of these men were to return. For 45 years, the truth about Operation Rimau had been shrouded in mystery. Embedded in red tape, distorted by hearsay and covered up by officialdom at the highest levels, the facts behind Rimau and its 23 men were all but lost. According to scant official history, the mission was an utter failure. Nothing could have been further from the truth. It has taken the combined talents of Major Tom Hall, who spent 31 years in research, and writer Lynette Silver to overturn the official version. Their work revealed a dramatic story of unparalleled courage with amazing tenacity.

    The first substantive study of Operation Rimau…based on solid and detailed research…well-documented…a pacy, well-written and captivating book, which fills a gap in Australian military history. The Australian War Memorial. …possibly the most complete recordSydney Morning Herald … The Heroes of Rimau is an enthralling tale of great heroism and determination in the face of overwhelming odds and is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable and intriguing stories to emerge from World War II. Canberra Times.

    Ivan Lyon is an extremely brave man, possibly the bravest man I have ever met. Someday his exploits will be disclosed and they will read stronger than any fiction.Admiral Christie, US Naval Commander Task Force 71, 1944

  6. Krait - The Fishing Boat that went to War
    Krait - The Fishing Boat that went to War

    On 12 February, 1942, Kofuku Maru, a small nondescript Japanese fishing vessel slipped out of the chaos of Singapore and headed for the safety of Sumatra. The boat, commandeered by Bill Reynolds, set sail from the island moments before the last bastion of the British Empire fell to the Japanese.
    In September 1943, eighteen months after Reynolds’ amazing escape to Australia, the vessel now renamed Krait, returned to Singapore on a clandestine visit. In what was the most daring Allied commando raid of WWII, her crew, all members of a highly secret missing known as Operation Jaywick, entered the harbour and mined enemy shipping under the very noses of the Japanese.
    But the story of Krait – a tale as varied and as colourful as the many men who sailed in her – continued beyond Operation Jaywick. Attached to special operations, Krait spent the rest of the war based in Darwin, before disappearing into the jungle-lined rivers of Borneo. Rediscovered in 1958, she eventually returned to Australia – not to genteel retirement but to the most turbulent and controversial period of her sixty-year history.

    ‘..a great addition to the collections of military and maritime historians’ Reveille
    – The official paper of the RSL

    ‘..an answer to those who question the pride of the veterans for doing their job – and marking the pride annually on April 25.’
    – The Courier Mail