Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Bridge At Parit Sulong

In January 1942, as the Japanese pushed the main allied army down the Malaya Peninsula, two under-strength Australian infantry Battalions, a handful of gunners and a depleted Indian contingent held back a vastly superior enemy force. The battle was one of the most desperate fighting retreats of the second world war for which the Australian Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Anderson, was awarded a Victoria Cross.

After four days of relentless combat, they reached the bridge at the village of Parit Sulong only to find it in Japanese hands. Unable to break though and unwilling to surrender, Anderson gave the order 'every man for himself. Left behind at the bridge were the badly wounded, over 100 Australian and 35 Indian soldiers, expecting Red Cross protection. This was not to be and what followed was one of the most infamous massacres of World War II.

The Bridge at Parit Sulong tells, for the first time, the full story of this epic battle, and its appalling aftermath. Through dogged research, including an examination of the battle site, Lynette Silver has pieced together a story of heroism, mass murder and barbarism.

For sixty years, the names of the Australians murdered at Parit Sulong, the location of their remains, and even the killing field itself, were unknown. In this gripping account, the author unravels these mysteries and reveals the fate of many other Australians who, up until now, have just been listed 'missing in action'.

This book traces, in detail, the story of all these events and how, through an intricate legal chase, the Japanese responsible for the massacre were finally brought to justice.

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