A dark secret lurked aboard HMAS Australia, the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy. In 1942, with a Japanese invasion looming, those aboard the ship were shocked and completely unprepared to deal with the brutal murder of a young sailor by two shipmates who were allegedly part of a homosexual group on the flagship. A swift military investigation and court martial were conducted. The officers faced a difficult, almost impossible task. How were they to prove the guilt of sailors accused of murdering a shipmate without exposing the motive for the crime, which would unleash embarrassing propaganda onto the world for the enemy to exploit? This would prove to be one of the most controversial events in the history of the Royal Australian Navy and trigger unprecedented legal and political events. But the real victim in this tragic story was the young sailor who was stabbed to death on the deck of Australia. He was a faceless victim, lost to the pages of history after he was buried at sea. However, family photographs now put a face to his name, and telegrams and letters reveal the full extent of this tragedy for his family. The full details of the murder, the names of the sailors involved in an alleged homosexual group on the flagship and the dark motive for his murder have been buried for more than two generations in the National Archives. The ultimate fate of the sailors convicted of his murder has also been hidden for far too long. It is well past time that the full story of the three sailors and what happened on board Australia that dark night on the Coral Sea in 1942 and afterwards is finally told.
Country of Publication:
01 August 2020
Author's note Introduction Chapter One:Threads of fate Chapter Two: A brutal and sadistic murder Chapter Three: Political and legal challenges Chapter Four: Court martial in Noumea Chapter Five: A miscarriage of justice Chapter Six: The High Court appeal Chapter Seven: In Goulburn Reformatory Chapter Eight: Evatt seizes an opportunity Chapter Nine: Justice Maxwell inquiry Chapter Ten: Bureaucratic confusion Chapter Eleven: Persecution and determination Chapter Twelve: Judge Rainbow breakthrough Chapter Thirteen: Redemption and requiem Acknowledgments Endnotes Bibliography Index
Robert Hadler lives in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He is a former award-winning economics journalist who has worked in the Commonwealth Public Service, as a political adviser, a lobbyist for industry groups and senior executive roles in multinational companies. Since he retired in 2015, he has been a Director on Government, corporate and not-for-profit boards. However, his passion is writing about Australian history, and in particular controversial events that sparked military, legal and political challenges and triggered reforms that changed the future direction of the nation.