The Pacific War Uncensored, Harold Guard with John Tring

The Pacific War Uncensored, Harold Guard with John Tring

Harold Guard was a British journalist who was working in Singapore when the Japanese invaded Malaya. He reported on their advance towards Singapore and on most of the battle for Singapore Island, before making his escape to Java just before the fall of the city. He was then forced to escape from Java after the Japanese invaded that island, reaching safety in Australia. From there he reported on the Allied fight-back. This wasn't a passive role, for he took part in 22 US bombing raids and on the ground during one of the amphibious landings on the northern coast of New Guinea.

His was one of a number of voices that pointed out the weakness of the defences of Singapore, an attitude that got him into trouble with the local authorities, at least until he was proved right. He also remained convinced that the defenders of Malaya and Singapore did a much better job that is generally the case, and that their defeat was due to a lack of resources.

Guard is an observant trained witness to these momentous events, and his opinions, recorded on tape between 1976 and his death ten years later, provide an up-close and personal view of the period of Japanese triumphs and the Allied fight-back. His account of the difficulties of journalism in the war years is also fascinating, both in his dealings with officialdom and the censors and in his dealings with his employers at the United Press, who eventually moved him away from the battle zone to India. The memoirs continue into the post-war world, so we are also given a glimpse into the early days of Cold War.

This is a fascinating memoir, and provides a very valuable first-hand account of some key moments during the war in the Far East. Highly recommended.

1 - Osiris
2 - A New Life
3 - Pre-War Hong Kong
4 - Singapore Defence
5 - Attack on Singapore
6 - Up Country in Malaya
7 - Escape From Singapore
8 - Escape from Java
9 - Australia
10 - Townsville
11 - Port Moresby
12 - The Northern Territories
13 - Wau (Wow)
14 - The War in New Guinea, Hans Christian Anderson and General MacArthur
15 - Lae Landings
16 - Passage to India
17 - The Fortune Teller was Right
18 - Returning Home
19 - Post-War

Author: Harold Guard with John Tring
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Publisher: Casemate
Year: 2011

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