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Bomber Boys : The Extraordinary Adventures of a Group of Airmen Who Escaped the Japanese and Became the Raaf's Celebrated 18th Squadron - Marianne van Velzen

Bomber Boys

The Extraordinary Adventures of a Group of Airmen Who Escaped the Japanese and Became the Raaf's Celebrated 18th Squadron

Paperback Published: 25th July 2018
ISBN: 9781760528232
Number Of Pages: 320

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The unknown story of a unique RAAF squadron, its men and its mission to halt the Japanese advance in the Pacific

March 1942. Java is about to fall. An Australian military dispatch rider and a Dutch air force transport pilot embark on a frightening escape from the advancing Japanese that takes them from Bandung to a crash landing just north of Darwin. Both would later join a unique band of flyers determined to strike back at the enemy.

Bomber Boys is the extraordinary and little known story of more than 100 Dutch airmen, stranded in Australia with no country to return to, who were joined by a contingent of Australians to make up the RAAF's No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron. Formed in Canberra in April 1942, the squadron flew operational coastal patrols before eventually being relocated to the secret MacDonald Airfield, north of Pine Creek in the Northern Territory, and eventually Batchelor, near Darwin.

This is, however, more than a story about the 900 bombing raids, reconnaissance missions and attacks on Japanese shipping that the squadron flew in its three years of existence under Australian control. At its heart is a powerful and compelling story of a group of very different men, thrown together for a common purpose, and the strange and sometimes difficult friendships they formed.

About the Author

Marianne van Velzen is a Dutch journalist who lived in Australia for many years. She has a life-long interest in the country. She is the author of Call of the Outback, the story of Ernestine Hill, published in 2016, and Missing in Action, the story of Australia's World War I Grave Services, published in 2018.

Author's note Map of 18th and 120th Squadron: Bases and Flight Movements

1. Java, 1942

2. The dispatch rider

3. Attack on Broome

4. Escape to Australia

5. Stapleton Station, NT

6. The bombing of Darwin

7. Archerfield Air Base, Brisbane

8. Flying under the bridge

9. Fairbairn Airfield, Canberra

10. The making of three traitors

11. Nothing is fair in love and war

12. Picking up the pieces

13. The move north

14. MacDonald Airfield, NT

15. First operational order

16. Across the Timor Sea

17. Batchelor, NT

18. War and horseracing

19. New recruits

20. Death of a friend

21. Moving on

22. The hell of Merauke

23. Island hopping

24. Return to Java

25. Lost and found

26. Message from a Don R

Epilogue

Bibliography

Acknowledgements

ISBN: 9781760528232
ISBN-10: 1760528234
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 25th July 2018
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN ACADEMIC
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8
Weight (kg): 0.3

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