Books - June

Singapore 1942 Britain's Greatest Defeat

      Keith - I would be interested to hear if anyone has read this new book, "Singapore 1942 Britain's Greatest Defeat" by Alan Warren, published by Hambledon and London - ISBN 1 85285 328 X

      The author is a Lecturer in History at the Monash University. He also gave a talk during a two day conference in Australia, something an Aussie friend noted with the comment " I hope he writes better than the talk he gave" (no Stuart, not that Aussie) I think it is a good book, but I would be interested in other points of view. Others may no more on this subject than I.

      Mark - >Keith, I finished reading "Singapore 1942" a couple of weeks ago. By and large, I think it's an excellent piece of work. The title is rather misleading since the book actually covers the entire Malaya debacle as well as the actual fighting for Singapore. For a perspective of the ground campaign, I believe it is the best and most objective on the market.

      Keith - >Mark, Thanks for your reply, and I tend to agree with your findings,
      so much so that I now have my own copy.


Singapore Books

      Ron - >Keith, I have just finished a few books on the fall of Singapore:

      Singapore The Pregnable Fortress by Peter Elphick

      Was excellent, this was the second time I have read this and even more information came to light on the second read.

      Sinister Twilight by Noel Barber, I did enjoy

      Also the novel Tanamera by Noel Barber

      Which although a novel gives a good insight into Singapore family life.

      Jean - >Ron, I have 2 copies of this book that you mention, Ron. It's a novel and therefore no use for anyone researching the history of Singapore but it's a good read. It's free to a good home if anyone wants it.

      Ron - >Jean, It is one of my favourite novels, perhaps as it had loads of background on the Far East.

      Noel Barber has captured life in Singapore before and after the Japanese invasion with good strong characters.

      Dorothy - >Jean, I'd love to have a copy of Tanemara. If you've not already sent it to someone else could you mail it to Mrs. D. R. Webb Davies, 22, Greenacres, Penclawdd, North Gower, SA4 3GD. I'd be very grateful as I'm trying to start reading about this period and area to try to piece together something about my father's last years.

      He died in '45 before he could get home to us.

      Jean - >Dorothy, I still have the book and will be pleased to send it to you. It's a charity shop paperback so don't expect it to be in pristine condition. I enjoyed it.

      Noel Barber wrote another about the same era called Sinister Twilight - also worth getting hold of if you can.

      I'll get the book in the post to you in the next couple of days.

      Dorothy - >Jean, many thanks for the book, received this morning. And also for your letter.
      I didn't say much about my father because I've previously asked on the fepow list for more info or if anyone knew him, etc. He was a Welshman, Rhys Webb, and was with the 148th Field Reg., he was a conscript.
      I visited his grave in 1999 with my daughter and it was a wonderful experience to go to that place which is so peaceful and so carefully looked after.
      I managed to find out what happened to my father in outline, from Peter Dunstan who has done so much research. I want to get a copy of Weary Dunlop's diary but I live in the country and don't have much time to browse the second-hand bookshops, though that seems a really good idea.
      Many thanks anyway for your offer of help and I'll contact you again,

      Stuart - Dorothy I suggest you try getting such books on inter-library loan via your nearest local library. Costs 50p at my library, takes a week or two depending how far it has to come...

      Mark - >Dorothy, I have been following your discussions on the FEPOW community forum with interest. Recognising that you live in the country, have you tried on-line second-hand bookshops?

      I can recommend Aardvark books in the UK( which specialise in WWII and other military history. Another option is Sam Wellers ( which is a second-hand bookstore in Salt Lake City. Their search engine is connected to other second-hand bookshops around the world, many of which will log your specific requirements. I have shopped with Sam Wellers and with a number of the other bookshops that share the search engine and have never been disappointed either in price or in service. Aardvark books also offer a very personal, friendly and efficient service.

      Sorry for butting in on your discussion - I hope the above is of use and saves you having to trawl through countless musty bookshops in search of the book you require.

      Amanda - >Dorothy, It might be a long shot, but we managed to get hold of Weary Dunlops diary from the library, I had to order it as our local library did not stock it. We also managed to renew the three week loan period by telephone and we ended up borrowing it for about five weeks.

      With regard to your father Rhys Webb, we have a copy of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry address/memorial book, it lists him in there as Gunner R Webb, 512 Battery (luton) 148 Field Regiment, died at Pratchaup Kirakan, address of next of kin - Mrs E Webb, 5 St Fagans Road Fairwater Cardiff, father of John Philip Dorothy Jennifer and Joyce.

      Janet - >Dorothy, Your letter pulled my heart strings, you describe the cemetary just as my Dad did after finding his few special mates graves, he wrote to me from Thailand and said he " now felt satisfied ".

      God Bless,

Book List

      Peter - >Ron, thanks for this and even more for the site. I had accessed the Death Railway Files on my first visit and they are very helpful. I also accessed the list of Books and belive i have several to hand which are not listed:

      "And the Dawn Came Up Like Thunder" Leo Rawlings 1972 Rawlings Chapman Publications

      "Prisoner on the Kwai" Basil Peacock 1966 William Blackwood and Sons Ltd Edinburgh and London

      "The Burma-Siam Railway: The secret diary of Dr Robert Hardie 1942-45" 1983 Published by IWM: London

      "The 'Rising Sun on My Back'" E. S. Benford 1997 A. Lane Publishers: Stockport

      "To the River Kwai: Two Journeys - 1943,1979" John Stewart 1988 Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd: London

      The following pamphlet is also quite useful:

      "Hellfire Pass Memorial: Thailand-Burma Railway" Seventh ed. 1999 Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce: Bangkok

      Hope these references may prove useful to others.

      Ron - >Peter, I have added the books to the Book List.
      What is the "The Burma-Siam Railway: The secret diary of Dr Robert Hardie 1942-45" like and which part of the railway does it cover.

      The same with "The 'Rising Sun on My Back" and "Prisoner on the Kwai"

      A short summery would help if you could please, from the book cover. This does help others when searching for books.

      Keith - >Ron, I have a copy of Robert Hardie's book, I tend to use it as a bible, rather like the Dunlop and Kinvig books. I'll drop you a note tonight on the camps covered, but the good points about it are the index, and the fact that the entries are dated. This was the booked use to trace Janet's father along the Railway. I have also taken notes on Prisoner on the Kwai, and can supply details if you would like.

      Ron - >Keith, David has lent me the book.
      I started reading it and it looks very well written.
      I will try to get hold of a copy as a reference to keep.
      If you could let me have a short summary, it will help with the Book Library.

      Keith - >Ron. yes, will do, once I deal with my post backlog. It is a very good book, not too heavy as the Dunlop book appears to be, but there again, that was written from a different perspective.

      Nigel Peacock - What a pleasant surprise to see "Prisoner on the Kwai" mentioned here. Basil Peacock was my grandfather and spoke often about his time on the Kwai.



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