- Book reviewer
- Book reviews, Royal Navy, Biographies
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Waterhen, HMAS Sydney II
- September 2005 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Title: Flip Side War: Recollections of the author’s experiences in the RAN, World War II Author: Ean McDonald Publisher: Hesperian Press – Carlisle WA 6101 ISBN 0 85905 353 9
“Flip Side War” is an easily read series of anecdotes covering much of WW2 in the RAN, being the experiences of a young man, cum sailor, cum officer caught up in that part holocaust, part puzzle and part circus. It does not set out to be strictly historical, or zealously serious, but rather records an intermixing of some of the lighter moments whilst roving many seas among some of the famous battles and campaigns.
It begins with the author’s call to arms as a junior Reserve Signalman on Day One of his war, swiftly taking the reader to sea to adventure aboard the famous (cruiser) HMAS Sydney, thence to rare service aboard every one of the Scrap Iron Flotilla destroyers, to Tobruk, Greece and Crete, and moving through his dive-bombed sinking in Waterhen, and on through the great Fleet battles of Calabria and Matapan.
His tales embrace many facets of a rare six years of full seatime service, including four years with a little known cloak-and-dagger group working beyond Pacific Island front lines, pathfinding the reef-strewn waters leading our armies back towards Japan.
“Ean McDonald has written his vivid account of those days of devil-may-care and daring. An eye witness account which speaks across the years with the tongue of youth. Fresh with the breath of the sea. May it inspire the young as it has inspired me, this young-at-heart.” writes retired Commodore David Orr, RAN.
“A war book with a difference, with a rich sense of humour that persists throughout, skilful continuity given to an essential anecdotal collection of remarkable events”. (David Webb, ex-Editor The Sunday Times.)
“A very readable book that makes the reader read on. Great sense of humour. Being young readers we are able to compare lifestyles past and present and become enthralled with the differences between them.”
[Reviewed by Students of Kalamunda Senior High School, WA]