Review from Fellow Digger Jim Ellwood

I am writing to let you know how much I enjoyed it (the book Digger’s Story) and how impressed I was by his extraordinary experiences. What a man he was and how I wish I’d known something of his history when we were together. Tribute has also to go to Brian Roberson, for doubtless he had a part in producing an account which is a cut or two above, indeed well above, the generality of the genre, which of course is not to detract one whit from David’s input—his amazing experiences.

I loved the imaginary cricket account —what an imagination, truly inspired. And I was intrigued at the distinction made between guards who had been at the pointy end of the war from the others —a valid point though it hadn’t occurred to me —the Kempeitai on Timor were ex-China almost to a man, I believe, not that that made them any less objectionable. … And I was interested in David’s take on the Japanese soldiery as having been “brainwashed”, which it took me most of my life post-war to realize, though I think brutalisation during training, indeed throughout service at or near the bottom of the heap played a part also. The command cannot be excused however: witness e.g. the rape and pillage inflicted by order, on the population of Manila, by Imperial Japanese Naval personnel. But who will ever really understand the mindset?

I am also deeply appreciative of the excellent Endnotes, perhaps Brian’s handiwork, but both fascinating and useful to me at least.

Jim Ellwood
Jim Ellwood was also a POW of the Japanese. He accompanied David and a few other ex-POWs to Japan in early December 2011 at the request of the Japanese POW Friendship Program.