For Australian servicemen captured by the Japanese in World War II, humour, courage and dignity in the face of hardship, brutality and deprivation ? and hope in the face of the unknown ? were quiet victories. They defined a uniquely Australian spirit.
Defying the Odds tells the incredible story of the officers of B and E Forces interned at Sandakan and Kuching in Borneo. Despite the starvation and the trauma they suffered at the hands of the Japanese, they boosted morale through a regimen of study, music and theatre, and most importantly, by making each other laugh.
After the war, military authorities were impressed by their physical and mental resilience and astounded by their achievements. As the years passed, they frequently held reunions to remember their experiences, to relive the jokes and the times they outwitted the guards, to recall old songs and the musicals and plays they staged ? to honour friendships wrought by the war.
This is a full-length account of how the officers of B and E Forces defied the odds, and survived.
About the author
MICHELE CUNNINGHAM is the daughter of one of the Australian officers who was interned at Sandakan and Kuching during World War II. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide.
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