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Doomed Battalion
Mateship and Leadership in War and Captivity: The Australian 2/40 Battalion 1940-45 by Peter Henning
Product Description

DOOMED BATTALION - Mateship and Leadership in War and Captivity: The Australian /40 Battalion 1940-45 by Peter Henning

Product details
Paperback: 572 pages
Publisher: Peter Henning (2014)
ISBN: 9780987603227 (Hardback)
Trim size: 229 x 153 mm

Doomed Battalion is the story of the men of the 2/40 Battalion – mainly Tasmanians – and its associated army units, sent to garrison an airfield in Dutch Timor immediately after the Japanese entered the Second World War. Assigned a hopeless military task within a misguided strategy, they were captured a week after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. They were then scattered in prison camps across east Asia, including Java, Sumatra, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Japan and other places. Their experiences are in general a microcosm of those of Australian prisoners of the Japanese between 1942 and 1945.

This revised and enlarged edition of the book first published in 1995 maintains but extends the combination of documentary material, veteran interviews, diaries and letters, using new information from both public and private sources.

Doomed Battalion explores the complexities of the prisoner of war experience, the nature of the men’s relationships with each other, with their officers, with other Australians and with prisoners of other nationalities in conditions of extreme hardship and the continuous struggle for survival.

The focus is on individuals and their responses to the realities of their circumstances, a focus which demonstrates various and diverse views about the operation of mateship at its most fundamental level and the vexed question of who exercised leadership.

Doomed Battalion is also one of the few accounts about Australian troops in Japanese prison camps which examines in depth the impact of their experiences on their post-war lives.

A penetrating, sensitive and deeply human story of Australians in war and captivity.

About the Author
While working as a history teacher in Hobart during the 1970s Peter Henning met Trevor Sharman, a veteran of the 2/40 Battalion and POW of the Japanese. Their friendship was the genesis of Doomed Battalion.  Henning is the author of Veils and Tin Hats, a history of Tasmanian military nurses during the Second World War, which was published in 2013. He was a contributing writer to The Companion to Tasmanian History (University of Tasmania 2005) and The Australian Centenary History of Defence (Volume VI, Oxford, 2001), and has written articles on various subjects published in Leatherwood, 40 South, the Journal of the Australian War Memorial and online.


Reviews (1)
Name : Peter Schultz
Location : Launceston Tasmania
Title : Doomed Battalion
Review : This is a book I would very much like to read, being the son of a returned World War 2 veteran. It is regrettable that the jacket photo does not depict soldiers from World War 2 - the train is being hauled by a diesel locomotive, (either X or Y class for the enthusiasts) of which there were none in Tasmania in the 1940's; the first models coming in the early 1950's. I'm sure the text however will be a valuable resource for all with connexion to this band of soldiers.

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