Title: Step Rails and Changi
Author: Richards, A A
Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2005
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 319 pages
Comments: Writing this novel, the author has drawn on his own experience during the war against the Japanese on Malaya and Singapore, and the first months of his P.O.W life in Changi.
He was the youngest of three mates who had trained on a Machine Gun in Australia, which was left behind when they were sent to Malaya with the 8th Division A.I.F. Despite repeated requests, before and after the Japanese invasion, the Army never supplied them with a Machine Gun.
He tells of the fighting during the retreat to Singapore. How he was attached to a jungle patrol, and meets up with a Major attached to intelligence. Here he has his first experience of the brutality of the Japanese. After the surrender and their only food a small ration of rice, their Officers asked for and got permission from the Japanese to catch fish off a nearby beach, for their wounded.
One of the three had experience of fishing in North Queensland so he was selected to oversee the building of a fish trap.
He tells of the arrogance and complacency of the British and how they insisted a lagoon that was producing fish for the Australian wounded be kept for the recreation of British Officers.
To supplement the meagre ration of rice, the three mates went under the wire to get coconuts and fruit. They discover a Chinese mother and daughter who had witnessed the slaughter of their family and neighbours and were hiding. The mates promise to help them escape across the channel to the Malayan mainland.
Inscription on inside of front cover.