Friday, February 01, 2019

Fullbore Friday

This week we have Part I of a two part FbF. No cheating and reading ahead though. This really is worth two FbF, each deserving their own time.

One of the themes of FbF is an introspective one; "What would you do?"

No one knows their fate; no one knows the future. We may all live decades more, or our time may come at any moment.

We may lead the rest of our days with picayune problems, dithering hobbies, vacuous conversation, and puppy tummies - or fate may call us in a different direction.

Young, old, or somewhere in the middle; the call may come. When it is your time, will you rise to the standard of Bill Reynolds?

Via the WarHistorynetwork;
Bill Reynolds was an Australian who had served aboard destroyers in World War I and had lived in Burma, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies for the past 20 years. Nearly 50 years old, he volunteered his services at British naval headquarters...
He knew his duty. Also remember, 50 then was much older than 50 now, but it did not matter, duty knows no age. Singapore and was given command of the Kofuku Maru, a narrow-gutted 70-foot-long Japanese fishing boat seized by the British when the war began. He found half a dozen Chinese willing to crew her and began picking up refugees—British, Chinese, Malays and others—from the islands around Singapore where they had been stranded when the ships in which they had been attempting to escape had been bombed and strafed by Japanese aircraft.

He crammed 50 or more into the Kofuku Maru and, sometimes towing disabled craft filled with refugees, ferried them to Sumatra.
Any command is command - even a clapped out old fishing boat with a pick-up crew. What could you do with that?
...operating the Kofuku Maru around Singapore for two weeks during which he had rescued some 1500 people...
With the fall of Singapore, Bill and his Japanese fishing boat not unlike others in Asian waters,
... had sailed the Kofuku Maru all the way to India and was now in Bombay.
There was still work to do.
Bill Reynolds tried twice to sail the Krait (renamed Kofuku Maru) to Australia, but each time her old engine broke down and she was finally shipped to Sydney as deck cargo on a freighter. After numerous breakdowns the Krait was towed to Townsville, south of Cairns, her engine completely useless. There Bill Reynolds left her.
That is far from the end of Bill's story;
A 51-year-old civilian, he went to Melbourne, Victoria, where he joined the clandestine civilian Bureau of Economic Warfare. Fluent in Malay and with a good grasp of Chinese, he was landed by the American submarine Tuna in the Straits of Macassar to pick up information from Chinese secret agents but was betrayed to the Japanese by local people. After months in the notorious Surabaya prison on Java he was sentenced to be executed. The tall, lanky Reynolds refused to kneel for beheading by the executioner’s sword and the small, perplexed executioner had to call on some soldiers to form a firing squad.
And that is then end of Bill's chapter - but his impact on the war? It had more to play out.

Join us next week for Part II ... and no cheating by reading ahead! 

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