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Shot Down

The first full telling of what happened to MH17 and the stories of those who were killed on that tragic day.

On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airlines MH17 was shot out of the sky above Ukraine. Aboard were 298 people, 38 of whom were Australians. No one survived.

Subsequently it was shown that the airliner was almost certainly hit by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired by Ukrainian separatists aided by the Russian military. The debris from the plane's disintegration mid-air was spread over 50 square kilometres, but for weeks rescue teams and investigators were denied access. The Russians have refused to take any responsibility for the deaths.

This is the story of some of the people who boarded that fatal flight and the conflict below them that was doomed to destroy their lives and the happiness of the people they left behind. The fullest account yet published, it is also the story of a continuing clamour for justice. Unsettling, compelling and revealing, Shot Down will provoke both outrage that this criminal act could have happened and deep sadness for the lives lost.
Shot Down

Bomber Boys

The unknown story of a unique RAAF squadron, its men and its mission to halt the Japanese advance in the Pacific.

March 1942. Java is about to fall. An Australian military dispatch rider and a Dutch air force transport pilot embark on a frightening escape from the advancing Japanese that takes them from Bandung to a crash landing just north of Darwin. Both would later join a unique band of flyers determined to strike back at the enemy.

Bomber Boys is the extraordinary and little known story of more than 100 Dutch airmen, stranded in Australia with no country to return to, who were joined by a contingent of Australians to make up the RAAF's No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron. Formed in Canberra in April 1942, the squadron flew operational coastal patrols before eventually being relocated to the secret MacDonald Airfield, north of Pine Creek in the Northern Territory, and eventually Batchelor, near Darwin.

This is, however, more than a story about the 900 bombing raids, reconnaissance missions and attacks on Japanese shipping that the squadron flew in its three years of existence under Australian control. At its heart, is a powerful and compelling story of a group of very different men, thrown together for a common purpose, and the strange and sometimes difficult friendships they formed.
Bomber Boys

Missing In Action

Australia's World War I Grave Services, an astonishing true story of misconduct, fraud and hoaxing

Poor leadership, mismanagement, quarrels, distrust and accusations of hoaxing ... this is the story of what happened after the guns were laid down and Australians tried to find their war dead.

By the end of World War I, 45,000 Australians had died on the Western Front. Some bodies had been hastily buried mid-battle in massed graves; others were mutilated beyond recognition. Often men were simply listed as 'Missing in Action' because nobody knew for sure.

Lieutenant Robert Burns was one of the missing, and now that the guns had fallen silent his father wanted to know what had become of his son. He wasn't the only one looking for answers. A loud clamour arose from Australia for information and the need for the dead to be buried respectfully. 

Many of the Australians charged with the grisly task of finding and reburying the dead were deeply flawed. Each had his own reasons for preferring to remain in France instead of returning home. In the end there was a great scandal, with allegations of 'body hoaxing' and gross misappropriation of money and army possessions leading to two highly secretive inquiries. 

Untold until now, Missing in Action is the compelling and unexpected story of those dark days and darker deeds and a father's desperate search for his son's remains.

Author bio:

Marianne van Velzen was born in the Netherlands but grew up in Australia. In her late teens she emigrated back to Europe and later became a journalist. She has a life-long interest in Australia and is the author of Call of the Outback, published in 2016, and Bomber Boys, published in 2017.

Missing In Action

Call of the Outback

The remarkable story of Ernestine Hill,nomad journalist and writer

Long before Robyn Davidson wrote Tracks, the extraordinary Ernestine Hill was renowned for her intrepid travels across Australia's vast outback.

After the birth of her illegitimate son, Ernestine Hill abandoned her comfortable urban life as a journalist for a nomadic one, writing about this country's vast interior and bringing the outback into the popular imagination of Australians.

Throughout the 1930s Ernestine's hugely popular stories about Australia's remotest regions appeared in newspapers and journals around the nation. She still remains famous for her bestselling books The Great Australian LonelinessThe TerritoryFlying Doctor Calling and My Love Must Wait.

Call of the Outback provides a vivid portrait of Ernestine, from the early brilliance she showed as a child in Brisbane to her later life. In particular it evokes Ernestine's larger-than-life personality, the exotic landscapes she explored and the remarkable characters she met on her travels.
Call of the Outback

The Diamond Dakota Mystery

Juliet Wills

Co-author: Marianne van Velzen

During the evacuation of java in March 1942 a Dutch/Russian pilot was attacked by Jpanese zero's near the Australian coast. He was heading for the small town of Broome in the north of Australia. He was carrying a large amount of diamonds along with his passengers and crew. The plane crashed on the beach at Carnot Bay. The survivors were trapped on the beach for five days. They were eventually rescued but the diamonds were lost. For the first time a Dutch and an Australian journalist combine the facts to tell what really happened.

The Diamond Dakota Mystery
Can We Help (ABC)
Vertrek

One Day

Documentary by Marianne van Velzen and Ronald Vierbergen.

One Day tells the story of the Japanese raid on the small Australian town of Broome on the 3rd of March 1942. A number ofDutch flyingboats were waiting to be refuled in the bay. The airoplanes were full of evacuees from Java. During the raid many Dutch civilians were killed.

One Day

Gus Winkel

Voor het blad Moesson een verhaal over Gus Winkel en het 18de Squadron.

Gus Winkel
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