At The Frankfurt Book Fair, From 7 To 13 October 2
Posted 26 September 2003 - 12:49 AM
Click Here to order:http://www.amazon.co...rd_i=1581128878
Posted 26 September 2003 - 12:50 AM
Reviewer: Barbara Donohue from Las Vegas, NV
Twice I've read HAVERLEIGH, and each time I was mesmerized by the characters, the surroundings, the historical accuracy. The Kokoda Track (The New Guinea campaign, including Milne Bay and typified by the Kokoda Track) is recognized as a defining moment in Australia's history; and yet, few know about it. This was where the invincibility of the Japanese Army was first broken. Dr Cumes doesn't "just" tell the story of young Australians in WWII.
Instead, he takes you there in his words, through his characters and gives you the gift of seeing first-hand what happens to people in the dredges of war. His characters capture your heart, and take you beyond what you think happens before, during and after a war, to the people in and around the war. Dr Cumes gives you cause for retrospection; he allows you to wonder "what if"...
Posted 26 September 2003 - 12:50 AM
Posted 26 September 2003 - 12:52 AM
People can order as a regular print book or, if you prefer, as a CD-rom.
Alternatively you can order the book from the American publishers at -
Posted 26 September 2003 - 12:53 AM
Posted 26 September 2003 - 12:57 AM
I replied, yes, James, brochures will be sent to you tomorrow.
What a wonderful man for thinking of me!
I thought how can I repay him....I know, by posting it here for the WHOLE WORLD TO SEE!!!!
Goodluck James, may you be on a best seller - I sincerely hope my readers order your book.
Posted 26 September 2003 - 07:09 AM
From: James Cumes
Subject: Kokoda and Frankfurt Book Fair
Heard from: from a friend
At the Frankfurt Book Fair, from 7 to 13 October 2003, a book called Haverleigh will be exhibited in which the Kokoda campaign is a central feature. You might like to exhibit, on the stand, material about Kokoda, the track and your adventure trek. Time is short. If you would like to show something, please advise urgently.
Editors Note: This is the original email I received when I got home from work on the 25th September, 2003.
Posted 26 September 2003 - 07:16 AM
You really have done wonderfully. It is much appreciated.
Editors Note: This was in reply to me putting the book on both my www.pngbd.com website and this website on Kokoda.
The kids back sixty years ago - I wonder how many of them/us still survive? -
will or would be excited and simply amazed that you and others still remember what they did and see such value now in trying to emulate their exploits in walking that murderous track through the Owen Stanleys in 1942.
Units of the 39th Battalion were the first to meet the Japanese after they landed at Buna in July 1942. They had a break from the front line in mid-September 1942 and then went back into the front line when the Japs were dug in and fighting to the death on the beaches of Buna, Gona and Sanananda towards the end of the year.
By the time the fighting stopped on 22 January 1943, only 45 officers and
men of the 39th survived.
As Haverleigh notes, so few were left that our Army brass decided that the 39th - a battalion with one of the finest battle records of WWII - had to be disbanded.
Perhaps that was as well. There's now a "purity" about its performance in those desperate days of 1942-3 that is well worth preserving.
The average age of many of the platoons of the 39th was eighteen, so many of the "kids" were aged as young as fifteen and sixteen.
They were a fine bunch of young Australians, who never saw themselves as heroes, but who will, I am sure, be humbly honoured by the recognition you and others have given, and continue to give them, for what they did.
I do remember Steve Ovett. He was one of the finest middle-distance runners - especially the 880 and the mile - of twenty years or so ago.
It's great that people of his celebrity are joining in the Kokoda Trek.
May there be many, many more.
Thank you again, Gail, for your splendid and spontaneous support.
I hope that Frankfurt will help, even if just a little, to spread the news about Kokoda, New Guinea and its people.
All best wishes to you.
Lest We Forget:
Posted 29 September 2003 - 06:48 AM
We'll look forward very much to your material for the Frankfurt Book Fair. It will give a unique flavour to our stand which, I'm sure, visitors will appreciate.
So far as I'm aware, there will be no identifiable PNG stand; but there will be at least 66 explicitly Australian stands and some others with a dual personality. The Australians especially will be interested in the PNG material but so will many others. I'll be meeting them all, as a group, on Thursday 9 October.
The legal age for active service was, as I recall, 18; and, I think, "men" were not to be be sent into an active service area until they were at least 19.
But don't forget that this was 1942 - just months after Pearl Harbour in December 1941. All our effective army, navy and air force was overseas. We had nothing to stop the Japs at home, except untrained youngsters and old men.
So those responsible for recruiting were not too fussed about age. If the kid looked big enough and strong enough and he seemed to have two arms and two legs and could more or less see his way around, then he was in.
Parents could object - even in 1942 - but few of them seem to have done so.
So underage kids were pretty numerous in New Guinea and elsewhere in the
critical days after Pearl Harbour.
This is confirmed in the Official History of the Second World War. You will see in McCarthy's volume dealing with the Pacific War, including New Guinea, that he records that the average age of several platoons of the 39th Battalion in 1942 was only 18. That means that many members of those platoons must have been under 18, many of them well under 18.
I confirmed this myself when I was in a field hospital - that means rough tents out in the bush/jungle - up in the mountains about the middle of 1942.
We had a wide range of injuries and illnesses and we didn't get much effective treatment. Almost no medical officers - doctors - and only very roughly trained "nurses." There were no white females in New Guinea at that time, except a few brave nuns, some of whom were murdered, in cold blood, by the Japs when they landed at Buna in July 1942. The male "nurses" were decent blokes and did their best but you lived or died mainly according to your own powers of recovery.
We had little to do while we waited to depart from the "hospital" one way or the other, so we used to discuss what we'd done before we were in the army, what we hoped to do when we got out of the army and, of course, where we came from and how old we were. I was still a teenager but only just. One other "old" fellow was 21.
Everyone else was younger than I was. Ages ranged down to a big lad of 15 who, despite his age, looked as though he could eat a couple of Japs raw if they ever let him get close enough.
Obviously, he, like many others, had told the team at the recruitment centre that he was 18 - or even more - and no one had any interest in not accepting what he claimed.
Few people in Australia now - of the younger generations - understand just how desperate a situation it was in 1942. I was a university student, resident at King's College in Brisbane. I remember our planning the guerilla war we would fight when, as seemed inevitable, the Japanese landed, and overran large parts of the country. That was the period of the "Brisbane Line" - a strategy some of our military and political people had at that time to abandon Australia north of Brisbane and try to defend the rest of the country.
Not only were our effective forces overseas, but we had practically no arms, armour or aircraft. A couple of squadrons of brave young airmen committed suicide by flying Wirraways against Jap Zeros in the impossible defence of Rabaul in January 1942. We trained without rifles or bayonets of our own.
Rifles were shared to give us a bit of firing practice and the same with a stint of bayonet training. Most were issued with their own rifles and bayonets only when they were about to board the troop train to travel north.
I was in the area inland from Moresby from early June 1942, until July 1943. I then returned to Australia on leave and in camp in northern Queensland until September 1943 when I went to Merauke, then the only small part of what was then Dutch New Guinea still nominally in the hands of the Dutch. (Actually, it
was held by a fairly small force of Australians called Merauke Force.)
I stayed there until March 1944 when I was summoned down to Townsville to be
interviewed for appointment to the then fledgeling Australian diplomatic
service. In April 1944, I was discharged from the army and went to Canberra.
I was then 21.
You may well be right that Kokoda might be "the next Gallipoli." There aren't too many Gallipoli vets left - if, indeed, any.
The only trouble with Kokoda is that, although it was one hell of a scramble,
it was a victory. We won.
Anyway, the Japs were turned back and the retreat that started then - and at
Milne Bay - never stopped until the Japs were safely back in Tokyo.
We tend to glorify defeats rather than victories - Gallipoli, therefore, rather than Kokoda.
However, I think it would be great if Kokoda were to become a focus of national remembrance. We had the support too of the Papua New Guinea people themselves - who were of course abominably treated by the Japanese. It is not inconceivable that, if the Japs had been more caring of the local people, they might even have managed to reach Moresby - although I believe that, if it had ever come to that ultimate battle, we would have prevailed.
Above all, though, I remember the kids who were there. They didn't see themselves as heroes - quite the contrary - but they acted, unwittingly, as though they were of the stuff of heroes and, against all the odds, they won.
In a very real sense, they "saved" Australia. In any event, most of us, at the time,
believed that they had.
It would be pleasing if, not only the Australians, but also other people around the world, were to give them the credit which they so thoroughly deserve.
I loved the photos and the banner. You're doing a wonderful job.
Please pass my best wishes to the Trekkers when you see them next.
All best wishes to you of course too and, again, thanks.
Editors Note: This an email I received from James that opened 'my' eyes to what really happened back then. As I walked around the Bomana Cemetery last Saturday, 27th September, the ages of the young guys who are buried there was already sad enough, however when I read the email from James who obviously had first hand experience of what really went on back then.....I immediately had goose bumps as I thought to those brave young guys and thought you the world should read this as well. Thank you James for opening our eyes as to what really happened back in 1942.
Posted 22 October 2003 - 10:48 PM
You will be pleased to know that we had a lot of interest in Kokoda at the
The brochures were set out right next to the book - Haverleigh - to which
they principally related; and people from all around the world picked them
up and asked questions about Kokoda.
There were Germans, Irish, French, Russians, British, Indians, Pakistanis,
Italians - almost everyone, including some Chinese who wondered whether they were fit enough to try the Kokoda Trek.
For most, of course, the idea of making the trek was entirely new to
them but what pleased us was the common, positive response. Not only will
they think about it themselves but, since many of them took away copies of the
brochure, we're confident that they will spread the news to others - perhaps
to some who are fitter and more able to accept the challenge of the trek
than some - NOT all - of those who would have liked to if they were younger
Editors Note: Sincere thanks James for allowing our brochures to be on your stand and for thinking about us in the first instance. Whether anyone decides to trek or not on the Kokoda Trail, its guys like you that make a difference.
Well Done from all of us here at www.kokodatrail.com.au
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