LAST BOAT OUT OF SINGAPORE: A World War Two Diary
by C L Bennett
This diary was written by Midlands man, Raymond Akers in 1940-1942 and takes us on a ‘World War Two Voyage’ through America, England, South Africa, Malaysia and Australia. In Ray’s own words ‘...for two years we have been living out of bags and been bombed, blitzed, torpedoed, shelled and machine gunned all the way around the world... It also includes a fascinating eye-witness account of the historic ‘Fall of Singapore’.
Ray is on holiday in pre-war America when he begins to write the first page of this journal. Having decided to return home and, after surviving a dangerous Atlantic crossing, Ray is confronted by a war-torn England in the middle of the blitz. It is a shock to him and a complete contrast to peaceful America. The cities of London, Coventry and Birmingham have all been devastated by the bombs of the German Luftwaffe.
In London, Ray is overjoyed to be marrying Peggy Dalton, a nurse whom he met on the ship back from America but soon the couple are facing their first big challenge. Ray works as a civil engineer for the British Colonial Office and his next job is to be in Singapore, Malaysia. However, because of the war there is a new rule, wives are no longer allowed to travel aboard ship with their husbands. It seems Ray and Peggy are facing a long and difficult separation. Luckily, at the very last moment special permission comes through from the office for Peggy and the new couple set sail for their new life, stopping off at South Africa along the way.
Having safely arrived in colonial Singapore Peggy and Ray enjoy a privileged lifestyle until the unthinkable happens and the Japanese invade Malaysia. Ray immediately joins the home guard where his flying skills come in handy and Peggy gets a job at the military hospital in Singapore, nursing the wounded British soldiers. Ray finally gets offered a job with the Royal Air Force but by then it is far too late, the airport at Singapore is in ruins and everyone is being evacuated. Japanese troops have completely overwhelmed the British forces in Malaysia and are gaining ground every day. It is now just a matter of time before Singapore must surrender. Ray has to make a difficult and life-changing decision, will he stay or will he go?
At the last moment Ray decides he will use his R.A.F ticket for the boat and leave. But there is one big problem – how could he leave his young wife Peggy to face the Japanese alone? There has to be a way to get her on board as well. Ray has to use all his ingenuity but eventually the ship pulls away from Singapore harbour with both Ray and Peggy on board. However, they are not out of the woods yet as the Japanese bombers have other ideas and have noticed their attempt to escape. Peggy and Ray now face the most frightening night of their lives. I will leave you to read the rest of the diary to find out what happens.
Over the years of this diary we see Ray’s life gradually unravelling as the madness of the war follows him wherever he goes. It is quite incredible that he was able to carry this battered notebook with him through such difficult circumstances and keep writing in it all that time.
I hope you enjoy reading this true story.
C. L. Bennett
This is a downloadable pdf file (approx. 20MB, 182 pages)
LAST BOAT OUT OF SINGAPORE: A World War Two Diary - Download
- Brand: C. L. Bennett
- Product Code: V930D
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