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Three Sides Out, One Way Home is the story of three Englishmen during the Malayan Emergency, each with very different priorities: one of them had been sent there, one thought he ought to be there and one of them really should have known better!

 

 

Firstly, I understand you’d like to know a bit more about why I wrote this book?


A Promise Kept. ‘Three Sides Out, One Way Home, Malaya 1956-58’ is written as a work of fiction. However, although in part inspired by true events, we realised some of the incidents were simply too ridiculous to be believable! John (RAF 1955-’85) actually did two tours in Malaya, as well as serving in Aden and Cyprus, before he retired to a small village in the middle-of-nowhere in the Fens, where he found a rather dotty neighbour with a fondness for bacon sandwiches! From there we muddled along together for twenty years, keeping it simple, ‘just circuits-and-bumps’, as John would say. Whilst, in the last few years of his life, John struggled with the here-and-now of the days due to Alzheimer’s, he never lost the memories of his time serving in Malaya. Like so many veterans, all John wished for was someone to be there: to walk beside him when he felt restless, to sit beside him when he felt weary and to listen when he felt like talking. When all he had left were the memories … and the hope they wouldn’t be forgotten: I didn’t forget and, when he was gone, I wrote.


This book shattered me and rebuilt me and I stand steady with a pace to my stride today because of John.

[… Be of good courage lad, you walk with the best of ‘em.]

Three Sides Out, One Way Home (Malaya 1956-58)’: ‘out of their depth and off the rails!’ It was always understood: “no one volunteers for anything, ever … but sometimes, you’re asked.”


TSO,OWH Malaya is the story of three Englishmen during the Malayan Emergency, each with very different priorities: one of them had been sent there, one thought he ought to be there and one of them really should have known better!


One of them thought he knew what he was heading into, one of them had no intention of helping anyone except himself, but one of them came with an alarm clock and a satchel and was ready to save them all!


The driver was also a sniper, the porter was also a thief and the Padre had come open-minded and empty-handed and turned out remarkable versatile!


From building an airfield in the jungle to re-opening the mission house, from dump trucks to chicken soup; they’d be working with trackers, traders, head-hunters and river-pirates.


For Porter it started with a crowbar and a motorbike, Driver would need to allow the jungle to take a piece of him if he was going to survive it. And Padre proved rather adept at negotiating market politics. That helped.


The ship found them making first contact and the train got them better acquainted. The airfield and alibis started soon after, trying to land a half-dropped bomb onto a heap of the officer’s mattresses and discouraging a couple of young salvagers from sawing the head off a live mortar shell gave them an inkling of what to expect. Padre had hoped for something ‘colourful’, be careful what you wish for!


Their situation took a diversion by way of the market bookstall and driving a truck into a ditch to save the plantation owner from an ambush; but he had let them borrow his courtyard for the film-show and the grenade was a dud anyway!


The ferries were useful, although it took a cargo of rice going up in smoke and an exploding bucket, to persuade some of the locals to let the engineer get on with his job and build that new bridge!


The jungle jump went a bit awry, not such a soft landing that time, although the ground was friendly once they got that far. But it wasn’t until the hillside hospital when the agreement was made: There were plenty of ways of getting home, but for one of their number only one way to do it ‘right’ and it was going to take ALL three of them going off the rails to get it done. ”


Available from Lincolnshire Life Online Shop and Walkers Bookshops (Stamford and Oakham), or directly from the scrawny author at kesriel_2006@yahoo.co.uk. £14.99 + P&P

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