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- World War 2 was the most welcome and alluring war of all time.
- A ten-year-old lad begins the saga of his next five years influenced more by military strategy, political power and bathos than by parents or mentors.
- As a means of realising how people react to adverse situations, and in discovering history and geography, he finds the lessons graphic indeed. To put it in his own words, “It beats schoolwork, hands down!”
Sirius Cove is on the harbour’s North Shore, directly opposite the Garden Island Naval base. I was sound asleep on a glassed-in veranda that overlooked the harbour while Mum slept with Lou deep in the house, where I’d been warned not to explore.
Air raid sirens suddenly blared through the still night—doubly loud, they seemed, than any drill alerts ever heard, so all the house was awake. Mum and Lou arrived on to the veranda in dressing gowns as searchlights galore, ten or twelve, of them began sweeping the harbour surface. First report to reach my ears was a great boom! from far off. What was happening was that three Japanese midget submarines, each carrying two men and two torpedoes, sneaked through the shipping boom built across the mouth of the main harbour; they sneaked through in the wake of a visiting ship for which the boom had been opened. The third sub got itself tangled in the net as the boom closed and couldn’t free itself. Its presence became known when it was realised the boom hadn’t properly closed and an investigating team of divers discovered the sub. When its occupants realised they were found, they blew themselves up, torpedoes and all. Meanwhile down-harbour where the heavy cruiser USS Chicago was moored, ratings on watch saw a torpedo miss it by ‘inches,’ they later claimed, to explode when hitting a moored ferryboat, the Kuttabul, a barracks for Aussie Navy personnel. Twenty died.
All this was directly opposite our windows. It was like being in the flicks and sitting in the front row!
The flash from that torpedo explosion nearly blinded me! And its ‘boom’ seemed to echo and re-echo through my very ears. Wow—had the war ever come close!
Now, of course, all the defence people knew there was at least one more sub in the raiding party. But how many more?
Searchlights played right into our veranda, blinding the three of us—and flares were being fired skywards, lighting up the entire scene. I’ve never seen my Mum looking so scared. Not only were all the naval base guns brought into play, but depth charges began exploding—not just a few, but dozens! Just a few hundred yards from us!
So the searchlights and flares had obviously picked out something.
Other torpedoes hit the dockyard wharves and exploded. Many naval ships were in port, yet none were hit—mainly because, the wireless told us next morning, the searchlights found one sub, and helicopters also with searchlights followed it into Taylor Bay, where it tried to hide. It was despatched by an absolute barrage of depth charges. We found out a week later that the sub, disabled by depth charges in Taylor Bay, the very next bay from where we were, had been raised. Its occupants had suicided.
Oh what a lovely war this is!
What a great and exciting cocktail for a lad with an adventurous heart to take to bed with him every night for the next several weeks, to colour his dreams!
The third sub had been sighted by searchlights when it surfaced for a matter of a minute or two, maybe to get its bearings, but it submerged again before more shots could be fired. It was thought that it had either been hit by depth charges in the deep centre of the harbour or blown itself up underwater. North Shore residents were warned, however, to keep a lookout should either of the personnel aboard have made it ashore.
Following a career in business management at international level, Kev attained a degree in journalism to then sweat as far up the River Nile as one can get, canoe down the Amazon, flash countless rolls of film from atop the Eiffel Tower, the heights above Yosemite, the Victoria Falls et al, scream “Ole” at a Chihuahua bullfight, ride elephant trails in Thai jungles, wallow in the incredible history of Rapa Nui’s Maoi - and as convention almost demands, was mugged in Bogota. His articles on travel to exotic lands have featured in travel and airline magazines around the world.
Meanwhile, being a sixth generation descendant from Australia’s First Fleet with an obsessive interest in his country’s founding history, he was consequently disappointed at generations of suppression in the education of Australians at the lack of truth in what really happened. Years of fact-finding with the help of other dedicated researchers revealed all and Kev vowed to set the history books aright by bringing the unsavoury truths of convictism to light. He is well qualified to do so for as a student of First Fleet history he has presented his subject on many occasions in press, radio and television interviews. He is a Past President of ‘The First Fleet Fellowship’ and a Past Secretary of ‘The Descendants of Convicts Inc.’. During Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary he officiated in Founding celebrations in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Norfolk Island and for his work during that Bicentenary, was created Honorary Life Member of ‘The Regiment of Redcoat Descendants’.
Kev now devotes his life to writing on not only his country’s convict history, but general fiction with an Australian flavour. He recognises the growing trend towards digital reading so follows the world’s top authors in publishing his works both as traditional paperbacks and eBooks.
His Gurrewa (two books in the series) and Brogan (4 books in the series to date), all released by Wings-Press (www.wings-press.com), are followed by Letitia Munro, To Plough Van Diemen’s Land and The Terrible Truths, the latter three being more works on his country’s convict beginnings. Synopses of all can be read on www.kev-richardson.com. More works are in the pipeline.
These days Kev travels less, having retired from his home on Australia’s Gold Coast, left his grown family and friends to write from experiences and adventures during his exciting travels, happily ensconced in the foothills of the Golden Triangle in amazing Thailand’s exotic north.
I wept for Adam Ashby.
Not because he lived such a degrading despairing life as a lowly convict, but because he had finally discovered acceptance and respect by the native Aborigines of New South Wales… only to be shot down by his own people. He had bolted into the wilds rather than be flogged for his latest crime. This is a poignant story of a boy who in his teens searched for a kind and gentler world, where a person could be loved for simply being himself. Instead, he is jailed and thrown in with hardened criminals, and military men who greedily seek power over their charges. In spite of what this criminal environment has in store for Adam, he nonetheless survives. Yet, it is his searching for empathetic love and respect that carries into manhood.
In 1784, Newgate Prison, London, Adam knows more than the average small boy working as a street-gang thief…he knows his true name. Plus, he has his nearly telepathic love and trust for one of his troop brothers. Life doesn’t seem so unsure or threatening while he has his brother, Wil, to share his experiences. However, in this cruel, hate filled existence, the type of life Adam envisions of freedom in a land of forest, doesn’t seem to mesh with his downtrodden reality.
Transported to the penal colony at New South Wales, in 1788 Adam finds Meg, a convict woman, willing to accept his brand of love. But, she is raped and when Adam steals the medication to deaden her pain, he is caught red-handed. He knows he must bolt, leaving Meg behind, rather than allow himself to be chained and flogged within an inch of his life.
Once in the wilds, he is saved from starvation and thirst by the local natives, who teach him about their ancient philosophy of love and caring. Because of his white nakedness they lovingly rename him “Gurrewa”… after the white cockatoos that live in the freedom of the trees.
Kev Richardson’s book, Gurrewa is a wonderfully insightful look into the philosophy of the original people who populated the world the English named, New South Wales, a peaceful land they took by force with no respect for the people who already lived there. -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA, Review rate: 5++
I very much enjoyed Brogan--it makes me want to go explore the channel country and corner-country. What a fascinating part of Australian history! -- Karen Babcock, editor
FIVE-STAR AWARD Although our hero, Adam Ashby is Kev Richardson’s fictionalized convict-birthed character born to an unwed couple, a ‘bolted’ convict and his ‘colony wife’, this story nonetheless represents the real life history of New South Wales’ struggles to become more than just an overflow prison for England’s criminals. For those of you who miss the history in your Historical reads, you’ll not be disappointed in this factional account of Australian history 1790–1820s. “I just love the way you throw a story together.”-- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews, USA
Letitia Munro: Richardson shows very poignantly where the Australian ‘free spirit’ and attitudes to authority stem from. As a glimpse into the times of just over 200 years ago, it is a fine historical record. I enjoyed this work immensely; it should be compulsory reading for all, especially Australians. -- Lang Reid “Chiang Mai Mail” and “Pattaya Mail”
Five Star Award! Letitia Munro, by Kev Richardson, himself a 6th generation descendant First Fleeter, continues his authentic historical account about the 162,000 convicts imprisoned on New South Wales. It was a land that not even the king himself knew had too little fresh water for drinking, or sufficient tillable soil to support the hoards of convicts he sent to populate the colony. -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA
Letitia Munro: I just love the way you throw a story together… -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA
Gurrewa (Finalist in the world’s search for the best historical e-Book of 2002)
An engrossing read! A dark tale of what we must admit is not humanity’s finest hour.
Adam Ashby, a boy struggling to stay alive in the streets of England, is arrested for breaking into a house. His sentence is seven years, to be served in the most horrible conditions imaginable. Treated worse than a slave, he and other prisoners are kept in leg irons and sent to live in a ship-like hulks set in the river. They are given hard labour, little food and no clothing. In winter they go shoeless and when the weather is bad, are kept confined inside the hulks without windows or fresh air, and no exercise.
It is from this horror that he, other boys his age and younger, as well as men and women of all ages, are shipped to Australia to establish a prison colony. Hope blooms anew for Adam as the ship sails. But will the future hold better?
Author Kev Richardson has caught the flavour and pure awfulness of the time about which he writes. His characters are well drawn and believable and seem bent on self-destruction, the only way of life they know.
Without hesitation, I recommend this story to anyone who likes historical or mainstream tales. Join Adam in his search for hope. -- Anne K. Edwards, (eBook Reviews Weekly)
BROGAN’S BUST by Kev Richardson (ISBN-1-59705-825-4), Wings-Press (USA), May 2007 is a well crafted, high testosterone tale of corrupt international trafficking in gems, guns and drugs. In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder how this author knows so much detailed information about the strong-armed men of South America? It all sounds so realistic, as though he’s been there, done that… and survived!
The lead character, a footloose turban-wearing pilot, lives by his own personal ethical code, and works both sides of the law, flying mail, passengers and contraband alike over the road-less Amazonian jungles in the early 1940s. Within the corrupt complex chain of trafficking emeralds, illicit drugs, and weapons across-country, he deals with all sorts of unsavory characters… unscrupulous killers for hire, drug lords and underlings, and traffickers who spit, get drunk and scratch their privates in public. The advantages for Brogan is knowing when to take his money and look the other way, or when to fit all the suspenseful puzzle pieces together to know when to throw a wrench into the well-oiled South American smuggling operations... without getting himself and his lady friend killed. In his business, timing is everything. -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews, Review Rating: 5 Stars!
Brogan is at it again. In ‘Brogan’s Bella’ by Kev Richardson, he and his aristocratic friend La Dama Isabella Maldonado are kidnapped in mid-flight to Australia, to find themselves doing whatever they must, to survive.
I promise you, this book is so full of high adventure and tension it will keep you turning pages—even if you know absolutely nothing about the political situation between Vietnam and France during the 1940’s. -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews (USA)Review Rating: 5 Stars!
Acclaimed Historical writer, Kev Richardson, continues his personal introduction to Australia’s famed Letitia Munro, her eleven children, and their extensive families during their convict beginnings in Van Dieman’s Land. In her strength and foresight Titia wondered, “Does it really matter that we all came as convict stock?” … but to some of them, it did.
Kev Richardson has a way of introducing the reader to each of Letitia Munro’s family members, making the history in the late 1700’s, and early 1800’s come alive.
Eventually the names of England’s uncompromising penal colonies in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land were changed in an effort to hide the social guilt of inhumane suffering, starvation, deliberate brutalities, and unpardonable cruelties dealt against the prisoners, whose misdeeds were often only ‘crimes of desperation’, simply to survive the hard times. However, it was these beginning years that established the convicts’ loyal code against their captors, formulating the heritage of ‘bonded relationships’ of today’s population.
Men were paired with eleven and twelve year old girls, to populate this new land under devastating conditions, often being uprooted and moved to new locations when England was at war with the French. Because owning property became a step toward respectability, many convicts became docile in order to receive these granted farm lands. Even then, they fought to make ends meet. They struggled to grow crops, and raise stock… hogs and sheep, while surviving draught, range fires, taxes, bigotry, and illiteracy.
Still others were continually in trouble with the law because they couldn’t give up their scallywag ways. Adam Newitt, a cobbler by trade, was such a man. So, throughout the years, each generation faced its own hardships, yet was determined to be known as trustworthy and respectable.
I highly recommend Kev Richardson’s historical tales. He has a way of bringing history to life. -- Jo Ellen – Conger Book Reviews - USA
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 254
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