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War, Sacrifice and the Search for Justice

(5 customer reviews)
Authors: Ian W Shaw
WWII, The Pacific
153mm x 230mm

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The tragic story of a WWII fighter pilot’s brutal sacrifice and the painstaking search for the truth.

Not all casualties in wartime occur on the frontline; when a loved one is posted “Missing,” hope and fear bloom in the hearts of those who wait for news. Lives can fray when that wait extends to years.

Squadron Leader Daryl Sproule, DFC was a hero. The young and dashing Hobart lawyer was a fighter pilot, a survivor of the carnage in the skies over Singapore, a champion sportsman and the touchstone in the life of his single mother. When his aircraft was shot down over New Britain in August 1943, his wingmen saw him land it close to a beach, wade ashore and disappear into the jungle.

In Hobart, Irene Sproule was informed that her son was “Missing.” Two years later, Daryl was still missing, his fate unknown. It would take another two years for the full, deplorable story to be unravelled and the consequences of a wartime atrocity to be played out to a conclusion. In those years, a mother and a brother would have their lives changed brutally, and forever.

Missing is the story of the nightmare that haunts all those who have farewelled their loved ones as they leave for war …

Ian W Shaw

Ian W Shaw

Born and raised in Melbourne, Ian W. Shaw trained at both Melbourne University and the University of Michigan as a secondary school Humanities teacher. After a decade teaching on the Mornington Peninsula, Ian resigned to take up a position with the Commonwealth Public Service as an intelligence analyst and trainer. For the next 30 years, […]

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5 reviews for Missing

  1. Unputdownable. I haven’t read much about 21 or 77 Squadron RAAF, or the RAAF’s part in the air battle over Singapore and Malaya. Ian Shaw’s Missing is filling a serious gap in my knowledge. Squadron Leader Daryl Sproule disappeared after landing on a beach and wading ashore, never to be seen by his squadron or family. It was his first operation as 77 Squadron’s CO. Shaw has expertly constructed a narrative from numerous sources including war crimes trial records to tell Sproule’s story; to make him visible again after being ‘missing’ for so long. It was difficult reading about what happened to his remains after his execution (sorry if that is a spoiler) but such brutality can’t be glossed over, and to Shaw’s credit it was not. It was heartening to read of the efforts of Squadron Leader Keith Rundle, head of the RAAF search team, in discovering the truth behind Sproule’s disappearance and death. Shaw has compiled a fitting tribute to a brave man. Recommended.

  2. Praise for Ian W. Smith
    ‘an important contribution to the military history of both the US and Australian armies . . . a thoroughly enjoyable read’ – Australian Defence Force Journal

    told with detailed research and a flair for dramatic narrative. The main personalities are much more than just names. This is a splendid contribution to our military history. – SYDNEY MORNING HERALD on Ian W. Shaw’s THE GHOSTS OF ROEBUCK BAY The author has done an impressive job in gathering the stories and information that comprise this valuable and entertaining book. – Baird’s Maritime

    Readers with an interest in uncommon military history will find this book well worth a read. – Navy News

    ON RADJI BEACH is a great read and an invaluable historical text. Ian Shaw has written a driven, suspenseful and realistic narrative, even for those who know the history and outcome of the period. It’s essential reading for anyone interested in Australia’s war history and the role of women in war. ON RADJI BEACH is an insightful and tragic excursion into an aspect of Australian history that has often been overlooked or forgotten. – OVERLAND on Ian W. Shaw’s ON RADJI BEACH enthralling . . . makes for a fascinating read. – CANBERRA TIMES

  3. Squadron Leader Daryl Sproule was many things – pilot, lawyer, champion sportsman, fiancé, brother, loved son and hero. This is his story.

    Missing is Ian W. Shaw’s tenth book. It follows Daryl’s life, from family origins in Tasmania, to football days and education, onto serving in the skies over Malaya, Singapore, and New Britain in WWII.

    I particularly enjoyed the Tasmanian element. I learned so much about the history of my own state – who would’ve guessed sleepy Southport was once a thriving metropolis? These were familiar names and places, vividly brought to life – especially wartime Hobart. This connection meant Daryl’s story resonated deeply.

  4. The author clearly shares Daryl’s immense passion for Aussie Rules football! I didn’t expect so much footy talk, but it was heart-warming to read of Australian servicemen setting up competitions while abroad. Of course, with war raging, these competitions felt like the calm before the storm.

  5. The last section of Missing was impossible to put down. It was heartening to learn the lengths people went to uncover the truth behind Daryl’s disappearance. Ian drew extensively from official files to recreate the war crimes trial. It resulted in courtroom scenes that were as gripping to read as the aerial battles. I felt all the emotions – especially not already knowing the outcome of the trial. I like to think Daryl, a lawyer himself, watched on and was quite proud of Prosecutor Bert Dick’s performance.

    Missing is a well-researched book that will stay with me. Ian W. Shaw has written a fine tribute to a remarkable young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

    From one Tasmanian to another – thank you, Squadron Leader Daryl Sproule – for everything.

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