UNDER THE SOUTHERN CROSS
BY WILLIAM F. ANDREWS
The Royal Australian Navy and the Merchant Navy were one brotherhood of the sea. Together, this is their story which is based on the experience of the author and the experience of his fellow seamen who fought by his side.
The book follows the life of John Ward, a fictitious character who is based on real-life stories of Australian Merchant seaman. These stories were shared with the author by his ex-shipmates in both war and in peace. William Andrews had a 45 year sea-going career from the age of 14 in Britain and Australia with service in the Atlantic and Mediterranean in World War II on coastal and local trading vessels around Australia and finally on tugs in Western-Port Bay in Victoria, Australia.
The story begins in 1934 and ends in the year 2008. It is about a sea-faring family who lives at Black-Rock in Melbourne. Their stories are full of adventures in the years of the golden thirties, prior to the outbreak of World War II.
The second half of the book begins with six years of an unending war from 1939 - 1945, where the forgotten service lost thousands of lives and ships. They were met by death every day of their lives at sea, witnessing death by torpedoes, magnetic mines, bombs, and then jumping into the sea to escape the fury of burning tankers, only to die a horrific death. Some men were stuck in lifeboats for days on end in traumatic weather conditions, only to die a frozen lingering death. Many died in enemy prisons. The Merchant Navy lost more men than any other service. Their graves occupy the unending oceans of the world. In the Pacific, the Japanese beheaded captured seamen, throwing their headless corpses back into the shark infested waters.
Soft cover, 248 pages
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 8 May 2010
This page last updated 21 November 2015