Courage in the Skies: The Untold Story of Qantas, its Brave Men and Women and Their Extraordinary Role in World War II

Author(s): Jim Eames


This is the extraordinary and little known story of Qantas' significant role during World War II, particularly in its campaigns against the Japanese. It is a story of truly heroic deeds during the fall of Singapore, taking munitions and military personnel up and refugees back, of escape and subterfuge as crews prepared for these dangerous operations. It tells of how Qantas confronted the Japanese advance into Indonesia and on to Timor, of its planes being shot down by Japanes Zeros, and the little mentioned bombing of Broome during which 14 flying boats were destroyed and many lives were lost. Then there are the Papua New Guinea campaigns, the highlights of which are the rescue of 90 Australian civilians who made it through to Mt Hagan after the Japanese took Rabaul and the airline's involvement in the great battles of Kokoda, Buna and Gona.This is a story of an extraordinary group of Australians who confronted the dark days of World War II with bravery, commitment and initiative. They just happened to be Qantas people.


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Jim Eames is author of The Country Undertaker, Six Feet Under or Up in Smoke, Taking to the Skies and The Flying Kangaroo. As one of Australia's first aviation writers, and former press secretary to the Minister for Aviation and former Director of Public Affairs for Qantas, he is a man who has lived and breathed aviation. He also tells a great yarn.

Introduction 1. Prelude to a war: The Imperial-BOAC dilemma 2. A world at war 3. The shadows darken, 1940 4. Cats across the Pacific 5. The Americans are coming: Pan Am 6. Route extensions and Sibolga dogs 7. The battle for Singapore 8. Running the gauntlet 9. Impregnable no more: The fall of Singapore 10. Aub Koch's war: Part one 11. Loss and retreat: The link is cut 12. Means of escape 13. Near miss at Darwin 14. Dave Ross's Dili dilemma 15. Tjilatjap: The rat trap 16. 'One of our aircraft is missing': The loss of Circe 17. Death and disaster at Broome 18. Papua New Guinea: The last stand 19. The struggle for aircraft and the Bully Beef Bombers 20. Empires to the rescue 21. The Japanese have landed 22. Aub Koch's war: Part two 23. 'A most fascinating and romantic undertaking': In secret across the Indian Ocean 24. The home front 25. The end comes 26. Among those who served 27. The struggle for recognition Acknowledgements Appendix Qantas staff casualties Bibliography Index

General Fields

  • : 9781760293932
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : March 2018
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : Australia
  • : November 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jim Eames
  • : Paperback
  • : Main
  • : English
  • : 940.544994
  • : 352
  • : 2 x 8pp b&w plates