Reviewed by Jack Aubrey
EVEN small actions of World War II history are now being covered by the efforts of researchers. This new book by Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers is only about a small part of Australia’s war, but it is a welcome addition to papering over the cracks. The shelling of parts of Sydney and Newcastle by Japanese submarines in 1942 has been known about for many years – the incidents were widely covered by the press at the time. But a forensic analysis of the events has not been attempted, as far as I know.
This book rectifies that gap, and does it well. Eleven chapters cover the incidents themselves, where the shells ended up; the damage they did, and even which actually exploded – many did not.
A mix of archival research; interviews with those subjects still available, and analysis of the events and their timeline constitutes the narrative. The Japanese angle is not covered in anything more than outline, and this would have been nice to see, but its coverage presents significant difficulties.
A Parting Shot is well illustrated with both black and white photographs of the times, and modern colour shots; and numerous maps. Recommended.