During research for The Guns of Muschu, I found that there are many stories that have never been told about all areas of operations by Australian Forces in WW2. This doesn't only apply to Z Special, but to all arms and services.
One area that seems to be particularly lacking are the stories of the activities of the Navy's small ships - including the HDMLs. There are certainly well written unit histories around, and while they cover the small ship's exploits, in historical and sometimes anecdotal format, usually the stories behind the personalities on board these ships remains untold.
Similarly, the Australian Air Force performed outstandingly in supporting the ground war in new Guinea. There are many stories about their efforts just waiting to be told before memories fail.
And of course the diggers, my favorite people. These hard nosed, pragmatic, but thinking and compassionate soldiers have always been undersold and get the rough-end of the pineapple from government and our high command who now seem to have forgotten that they are people - not "nodes in a hardened networked army".
It saddens me to hear senior officers now referring to them this way - too many of our military commanders have become entranced by the "new-speak" peddled by consulting marketing gurus, whose interest in our forces is nothing more than gouging $$$ from the public purse. When senior commanders start referring to their personnel in such a manner, it's an indication that they have become remote and aloof, irrespective of how many "happy snaps" are published by defence PR. This will one day lead to tragedy.
Just look at how the government treats our veterans, money wasted on investigations, compensation denied, VC winners having to prove to a mindless bureaucracy that they even attended a war! These are stories in themselves - a testimony to politicians who use, then abuse. It's not suprising recruiting quotas can't be met when politicians behave like this.
But I digress. I'm after stories about our involvement in New Guinea and the Pacific. I'm sure they are out there. It's important to get them down on paper (or on the web) for posterity. The AWM has done a great job with this, but there's room for more. The response I've had to the Guns of Muschu in the short time (3 weeks) since its release has been overwhelming - and I thank everyone for their kind words.
If you have any stories you feel are worthy of being told - either via the printed word, or the web, please contact me.
Don Dennis, 15 September, 2006
Author's postcript: Since publication I've received many encouraging emails which have thrown light on this and other Z Special, Small Ship and Coast Watcher Operations. I thank everyone for their kind words and contributions - please keep them comming as they are proving vital in my research on another novel.
In addition more information has revealed inconsistencies in the post war investigation into the deaths of the patrol members on the island. ( click to view ) Mick Dennis has subsequently revealed more information on this and I have little doubt now that the investigation by Major Cardew was flawed, for what reasons I cannot determine.
Accordingly I've opened a new area on this website where these facts are now presented. Contributions are encouraged. (click to view)
10 January, 2007
UPDATE: MARCH 2010
Missing Patrol Members fate revealed?
Because of a continuing and growing interest in the story, evidence has been uncovered about the fate of the four men who attempted to escape Muschu Island on logs during the night of the 13th April 1945. It is believed that three of them landed on Kairiru Island (north of Muschu) to be captured then executed by the Japanese, and their deaths concealed from the Australian investigation team.
Records of the executions have now been located and indications are that their bodies remain in unmarked graves at the location of their executions.
An expedition to Kairiru Island is being planned for July 2010.
Further details are on our MIA page