THE RAG TAG FLEET is the unknown story of the final months of 1942, when a collection of hundreds of Australian fishing trawlers and schooners, organised by the US Army, ran the gauntlet of Japanese air attacks, reefs and shallow, shark-infested waters to bring in the supplies and equipment for the US and Australian troops that defeated the entrenched Japanese forces at Buna on the New Guinea coast, and so helped turn the course of the war.
Told through the experiences of the Australian crew on half a dozen ships - including Jack Savage, boat builder extraordinaire; Ray Parer, air fighter, explorer and gold miner; and Norm Oddy, bandleader, drifter and mechanic.
The crew were made up of boys under the age of 17, men over 60, and those who weren't well enough to join the Australian regular forces. Armed with one machine gun, they endured grim conditions, grappling with malaria, dysentery and dengue fever, aircraft attack, strafing and bombing in their mission to ensure our front line troops had the supplies they needed.
- Publication Date:
- 27 / 06 / 2017