Sparrow is a seldom-heard but uplifting story of The Sparrows - Battle of Britain gunners who defended Timor as part of Sparrow Force. It is the story of Charlie McLachlan's war: a triumph of stubborn Scottish defiance and laconic Aussie genius over the relentless violence of man and nature. From the Rudolph Hess crash-landing to the atom bomb, from history's last bayonet charge to the war's greatest aerial bombardment, Charlie McLachlan survives and bears witness to some of the landmark days of World War II. At one time or other in a four year ordeal, he is fired upon by the armies, navies and/or air forces of Germany, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the United States of America - pretty much everyone but the Russians. He defies or evades the ravages of tropical ulcers, tropical heat, alpine cold, gangrene, cholera, malaria, beriberi, dysentery, mosquitoes, crocodiles, snakes, sharks, scorpions, sadistic Sikhs, Japanese hellships, falling coconuts, flying shrapnel, beatings, beheadings, bullets, bombs, bayonets, torpedoes, a crushed leg, a fractured skull, malnutrition and premature cremation. He's presumed dead by the British Army, left for dead by Japanese guards, and declared dead by a Dutch Javanese doctor. Yet through it all, Charlie soldiers on. Half a world away, his wife Mary, fashioned from the same mental granite, stoically awaits his return. Not even an official telegram confirming the near-certainty of Charlie's death, or later rumours of his torture, can shake her iron faith... Sparrow Force - the force who defended Timor in 1942 - was one of Australia's most successful military units. At the lowest point in the Second World War, soldiers equipped with First World War weapons destroyed Japan's most successful and elite special force. Cut off from Australia, a commando campaign held off a Japanese division for almost a year at the turning point of the war. Low in medicine and ammunition, they built an improvised radio that regained contact with their homeland. It was the first good news of the war for the Allies. Sparrow Force was unique. They were the first force to defeat Japan in battle. They were the last to be captured. Those who escaped to pursue a guerrilla campaign spent more time in combat against the Japanese than any other Allied unit. They were set up to fail. Instead, they endured, defied, and succeeded. Newsreels were made, victories were recorded, medals were awarded, Australia's morale elevated. As Winston Churchill famously said, "They alone did not surrender." ...
Second hand Trade Paperback