Tuesday 17 May 2016

The Boy Who Went to War: Jim Haynes’ true WWII

The Boy Who Went to War: Jim Haynes’ true WWII by Dawn Meredith (Amazon Books)
PB RRP $21.00
ISBN 9781517707729
Reviewed by Ashling Kwok

The Boy Who Went to War is the story of Jim Haynes, a 91-year old war veteran who has lived an amazing life. Jim was working as a 13-year old butcher’s apprentice in Nottingham when WWII began. He was desperate to join the Royal Navy but it wasn’t until he turned 16 that his parents agreed to let him go.

As a teenager, Jim witnessed extraordinary acts of cruelty, bravery and compassion. He saw ships blown up, picked up survivors of the Tonsberg Tarifa just as they ran out of water, saw a WRN (Women's Royal Navy) buried at sea, saw King Farouk's bombed palace in Alexandria and so much more.

At 19 Jim joined Special Forces fighting Japanese marines in the jungles of Malaya. Towards the end of the war his job was to transport emaciated men, women and children from Japanese prison camps to safety.

In 1945 when the war ended, Jim was only 20 when he made another life changing decision. He decided to start a new life in Australia, leaving behind his entire family and sweetheart Olga in England forever.

As a result of what he witnessed as a young man, Jim has struggled with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) throughout his adult life. But Jim just picks himself up and keeps going every single day.

Dawn Meredith spent five years interviewing Jim, collecting photos and writing his story. The result is a wonderful book that is well written, informative and enjoyable to read. The captioned photos add interest and help keep the reader engaged.

Although Dawn wrote this book specifically for children, to show them what life was like during the war, it is perfect for all age groups. It is a fantastic book that readers will find hard to put down.

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