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Cruel Conflict – The triumph and tragedy of HMAS Perth

By: Kathryn Spurling (740/35980)
Publisher: New Holland, ISBN: 9781741107388

At 0100 on 1 March 1942, after several heroic battles, the HMAS Perth sank off the coast of Java. Less than half of the ship’s company survived. Perth lost 357 sailors and a further 320 became prisoners of war, 106 of whom were to later die in captivity. Only 214 men were repatriated to Australia at the end of the war.

Cruel Conflict is the story of the men who served in HMAS Perth between 1939 and 1942. The courage and humour of those who were taken as prisoners of war, who endured the hardships of the camps and laboured on the Burma-Thailand railway is a story of triumph and tragedy.

Kathryn Spurling has interviewed the survivors and their families as well as mining thousands of documents to weave together a moving tale. It is ultimately a story of chance, endurance and the power of the human spirit.

October 2008


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