A Christmas story

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  • Published 20150414
  • ISBN: 9781922182807
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT, six soldiers were shot in their beds in the Officers’ Quarters on Christmas Island. Their bodies were wrapped in bed sheets and mosquito nets, and tossed off the cliffs into the Indian Ocean where the silhouette of five ships could be seen, lingering on the horizon.

It was 10 March 1942, and Singapore had just fallen to the Japanese. The Indian army stationed on Christmas Island had been tuning into Axis propaganda and did not want their British superiors to resist the coming invasion (three workers had already been killed from an exploratory Japanese bombing raid); to fight would mean certain death. Rumours were circulating that the Indians would gain their independence and side with the Japanese soon anyway, so Sergeant Mir Ali decided to act. He convinced twelve of his countrymen to lock the ammunition store and to attack their commanders after they returned from an evening party. The Sikh soldiers threw their superiors from the cliffs to ensure that as the Japanese naval forces approached, there would be no resistance.

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