2017 Media Releases

Talks@Willoughby presents Roger Maynard speaking about his book Hero or Deserter?

04 August 2017


12.30pm, Thursday 31 August
Chatswood Library on The Concourse
Lower Ground, 409 Victoria Ave Chatswood
FREE event 

Former BBC Reporter Roger Maynard will speak about his book, Hero or Deserter? Gordon Bennett and the tragic defeat of 8th Division at Chatswood Library on Thursday 31 August. 

Major General Henry Gordon Bennett was the Commanding Officer of 8th Division and best remembered for his escape by boat from Singapore in the dying days of the Japanese invasion, which led to the imprisonment of 15,000 Australian servicemen. 

Bennett’s decision to leave his men to their fate is one of the most controversial episodes in the fall of Singapore. Though he was exonerated by Prime Minister John Curtin on his return to Australia, he was never forgiven by the military’s top brass for what many viewed as a clear case of desertion. 

In this vivid and comprehensive history of the 8th Division and its stoic force, Roger investigates their conflicted leader, whose reputation as an outstanding soldier was shattered by war’s end, and examines Bennett’s legacy through the prism of today’s military standards to establish whether he was, indeed, a hero or deserter. 

Roger Maynard is a broadcaster, journalist and foreign correspondent and the author of eight non-fiction books. He has also written extensively for the London Times, the Independent and The South China Morning Post and has been based in Australia for the past three decades. 

Lindfield Bookshop will provide copies of the book for sale and signing at the venue.

Bookings are essential, please visit www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/Library/

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For non media related enquiries contact Willoughby City Council on 9777 1000 or email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au