I always scoffed at magic or lucky charms. If I couldn’t see it, I didn’t believe in it. Well, that is not until I visited my Dad’s sister, a sprightly old dear in her nineties. It was the 30th anniversary of my father’s death.
After a watery, milky cup of tea and some stale cake, that Aunty said she had baked the previous day, but I think it could have been the previous week, she started telling me about the silver boomerang, which we had found many years ago amongst my late father’s war medals. The boomerang bore the words “I go to return.”
It was a good luck charm, and my father apparently wore it throughout the 2nd World War. There was magic in the boomerang, the lady who had given to him was convinced of it, as was my aunt. Whether Dad believed in it or not, I have no idea.
The original owner apparently survived the carnage of the 1st World War. So, did the good luck charm live up to its name the second time around?
In March 1940 Dad felt duty bound to answer his country’s call to war. When the Japanese poured into
Malaya he was there as a member of the 2/29th Battalion of the Australian 8th Division, (most of whom ended up dying as Prisoners of War).
Wounded in action in Malaya, and transferred to an
Australian Military Hospital in , my father was blown out of bed, but survived the Japanese bombs which took the roof off his ward. The British forces fell back across the causeway into Singapore . Day and night the fires burned. The bombers came over spreading their destruction. Shattered shops were left to the mercy of looters, bodies rotted in the streets, and packs of marauding dogs gorged themselves with little resistance, as a pall of black smoke hung over Singapore . The giant British guns that might have saved Singapore were embedded in concrete and pointing out to sea. Useless to quell the invaders who came over land through the jungle. Singapore
All aircraft and ships had departed loaded with civilians, nurses and wounded, and after this desperate flotilla sailed off, those left behind could only await their fate.
In the last terrible days before
capitulated in February 1942, trapping 80,000 Australian and British troops, a small boat braved the might of the Japanese air force and navy, and set off, crammed with wounded. Only soldiers who were too incapacitated to fight yet could somehow mobilise themselves, were given the opportunity for this one last chance of escape. Singapore
With a piece of his back bone shot away, and weakened from attacks of malaria, Dad had somehow made it to the wharf, with a rifle and the clothes he stood up in. As the boat wended its way out of the
harbour, littered with the smouldering debris of dying ships, a Japanese bomber dived low over them, but the pilot obviously had more important targets on his mind. Singapore
They drifted around in the sea for several days until they were finally rescued by a passing allied ship and after another couple of weeks, Dad finally made it home.
Thank you magic boomerang for helping my Dad make it home.
Margaret Tanner is a multi-published author of historical romance with Whiskey Creek Press and The Wild Rose Press.
Her website is: http://www.margarettanner.com/
I am giving away an e-copy of my WCP novel, Savage Utopia, to one lucky commentator.
Savage Utopia Blurb:On board the convict ship taking them to the penal colony of
On arrival in