Writers at Stanton - Tom Gilling

25-Sep-2018 • 1pm


The Lost Battalions - Tom Gilling


A little known story of two Australian battalions abandoned on Java during World War II to face the might of the Imperial Japanese Army. Until now, the story of the 2000 Australian soldiers marooned on Java in February 1942 was only a footnote to the bloody fighting on New Guinea. Led by an Adelaide lawyer, Brigadier Arthur Blackburn VC, and fighting with scrounged weapons, two Australian battalions - plus a motley group of cooks,

laundrymen and deserters from Singapore – defied an overwhelming Japanese force until ordered by their Dutch allies to surrender.

Drawing on personal diaries, official documents and interviews with two of the last living survivors, this book tells the extraordinary story of the men of Blackforce - 'the lads from Java,' as Weary Dunlop called them, who 'showed fortitude beyond anything I could have believed possible'.