The Story of one of the Goldstars' Darkest – and yet Most
Glorious – Missions
Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, 31 Squadron was dispatched on a new mission – to Java to assist with repatriating former internees and prisoners of war. After the long and arduous Burma campaign the boys had been looking forward to going home, but they turned to in support of this humanitarian mission.
Very soon, though, the squadron found itself embroiled in what was becoming a new shooting war, as Indonesian guerillas, looking to seize independence from their former Dutch masters, turned their venom on any westerner. Dakotas were attacked and squadron members were killed, culminating in the notorious 'Bekasi' atrocity in which an entire crew and twenty passengers were murdered. Gradually, though, the atmosphere lightened, and there was even time for romances between squadron members and Dutch ladies who had been released from internment. Eventually, fifteen months after the end of the war, the job was completed and the squadron stood down. The men headed for demobilisation – but would their sweethearts and their civilian jobs still be waiting for them back at home? And how would memories of the traumatic events they'd experienced affect them in later life?
The novel, his sixth book, has been created by former 31 Squadron commanding officer Ian Hall. In recording the tale he has drawn on many stories related to him by Goldstars who were there at the time. The story is told largely from the viewpoint of a single, fictitious crew, whose characters are composites of many with whom the author has spoken. But real and distinguished Goldstars also appear in the narrative. The novel is now published in e-book form for use on Kindle and the like, price £2.99. For those not keen on that format it will also be available within just a few weeks in print-on-demand form from Amazon.