ABOVE AND BEYOND
It took no great feat to occupy the time that spanned from the earliest years of
the twentieth century to near its end. It took no great heroism to be mere
witness to the cataclysmic events that changed the political and strategic
climate that came to define the world we know today.
Martin Rellim, freedom loving and devoted to family and country,
lived those years.
Martin was a brilliant mechanical and aeronautical engineer with a focused,
disciplined, high work ethic. He was an innovator, an organiser and of equal
importance a Mr Fix-It.
When the danger of Japanese expansion through 1930 to 1945 threatened
Australia’s strategic position and physical existence, Martin’s expertise played
a vital role in guaranteeing that the Australian Air Force triumphed in the
Battle for Australia.
That expertise made Martin even more vulnerable after WWII as the Cold War
strategies of the USSR and the West altered the world map. Martin was a prize
desperately coveted by the Soviets.
The determination of the
Soviets to ‘acquire’ Martin is the thread that ties the story of one man’s
amazing life together – a life that did more than bear
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Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2011
Jack Rellim, the author, was
born in Sydney, Australia in 1943 during The Battle for Australia, World
War Two and lived through the Cold
He graduated from St Mary’s
Cathedral Boys’ High School, Sydney, Australia
with the Leaving Certificate, joining Her Majesty’s Customs Service in 1963.
Jack served in the State of New South Wales at
Port Jackson, Port Kembla, Port Botany, SKS Mascot Airport and Richmond Air Force Base.
Marriage, raising three
children and an active sports involvement in tennis, surfing and handball
ensured an energetic living environment.
He resigned from HM Customs in
1976 to become a successful property developer.
A love of history, a service
record in investigative duties, and a passion for writing provided a solid
foundation for him to launch his new career as a novelist specialising in
Australian-orientated suspense thrillers.
The dark clouds of history had begun to gather. In the
years and months preceding the Second World War, places that provided a safe
haven from the coming storm were few and far between – and becoming fewer and
farther between with each passing day. So it was that in the spring of 1938 a
kind of critical mass of variables
began to bring home to
Australia, to Martin Rellim, the danger that
In Germany – the Munich Conference is a
triumph for Adolf Hitler. Britain
betray alliance, trust and assurance
delivering de facto control of
Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany.
Hitler sanctions the annexation of lands formerly a part of
by Poland and Hungary.
German scientists split
the uranium atom.
the Government orders a partial mobilisation of the armed
In Britain, the Government orders the
mobilisation of the fleet.
In America, Congress passes the ‘cash
and carry’ amendment to the Neutrality Act
of 1937 at the behest of President Roosevelt.
the Civil War enters its third year.
commits 40,000 troops to the Ebro offensive in Spain. The subjugation of Libya and East Africa continues.
Manchukuo, Soviet and Japanese troops clash at
provisional capital, Wuhan, is under siege by
Japanese forces. Japan denies right of passage on the Yangtze River
to American vessels. Japanese aircraft and artillery sink two Royal Navy ships
on the Yangtze.
the Dutch East Indies, a Japanese delegation
insists that oil exports to
be increased and encourages the Dutch
East Indies Colonial Government to accept Japan’s
‘co-prosperity vision and policy’ for South East Asia.
In Australia, Prime Minister Lyons
announces a ban on the export of iron ore
Defence Minister Street announces
the immediate construction of two new destroyers,
the establishment of an RAAF base at Townsville
and the fortification of the Port Moresby Naval
and Air Force bases.
In Japan, the Government requests that
the Nine Power Treaty, signed Washington 1922, ensuring China’s self-rule be revised as “…the new situation in
demands a different bias among the signatories.
deserves to enjoy a unique position in Asia,
given her new responsibilities.”
position was not well received in
Australia. Commentary on 2GB
Macquarie Radio was unyielding in its criticism. “The gall of Japan!” the editorials assert. “How
dare she demand a revision of the
treaty! Their having new
responsibilities is claptrap. She invaded Manchuria and then China to seize their natural
resources; pure and simple as that. Will South East Asia and/or Australia
Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and, later, the London Naval Treaties of 1930
and 1936, banned certain types of warships and placed limitations on tonnage and
quantity on other warships.
has arrogantly violated the spirit of these treaties and nears the completion of
many ‘prohibited’ warships. Once that Navy is complete, it will join a proven
Army and Air Force to pose a genuine risk to the entire Pacific. The Japanese
psyche is, at base, militaristic. In true Samurai tradition, ‘conquest is in her
Early in September 1938, at a 5am Defence Headquarters’ meeting in Melbourne,
Stuart Ashton, the Director of Military Intelligence briefed John Gregory,
Special Coordinator for the Office of the Prime Minister, on the current
has been picking away at Europe since Hitler
became Fuhrer in 1934. It has remilitarised the Rhineland, annexed Austria and expropriated the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia.
The Treaty of Versailles is dead and buried.”
Gregory, Oxford educated, 6’ tall
and 13 stone, a full head of hair and piercing eyes (and rarely having to call
attention to his martial arts’ expertise) remained silent as Ashton, a fellow
Oxford man and as physically imposing as Gregory, spoke of German scientific and
military experimentation with liquid fuel rockets and antipodal hybrid bombers.
detailed the modernity of the Luftwaffe,
and observed, not without a note of envy, that it was being ‘battle-hardened at
the expense of the Spaniards.’
Wehrmacht had been deceitfully, though cunningly, re-manned and
Kriegsmarine had been commissioning new submarines and capital
surface ships “for defensive
purposes,” he added, with a tone of derision in his voice.
British had their hands full in Europe, concentrating their Expeditionary Force
in France, while increasing their naval presence in
the Mediterranean. The RAF was modernising but
lagged behind the Luftwaffe and
Regia Aeronautica in number of
aircraft and experienced pilots.
bulk of the French fleet was stationed in the Mediterranean.
The Indo-China squadron, a token force, was stationed in
Saigon. The French Army and Air Force remained hunkered down on home
American forces were stretched thin from the
Hawaii to Midway and the
Aleutians. The Dutch were similarly stretched throughout the
Dutch East Indies. Worse, their weaponry was outdated and
Malay Peninsular Ground Defence was predominately drawn from Commonwealth
Forces. It lacked tanks, modern artillery, spare parts and ammunition. A single,
united command was imaginary, while the loyalty of the Indian troops was
actively questioned, given India’s push for Independence.
Aircraft from the RAF, RAAF and Dutch Air Force make up the Malay Peninsular Air
Defence. Its Buffalo Fighters and
Blenheim Bombers are obsolete and are
no match for any invader. It lacked a workable command structure, sufficient
spare parts and trained pilots.
Naval Fortress was nearing completion but the promised ‘Far Eastern Fleet’ was
little more than a pipe dream.
Ashton concluded with this sombre assessment; “We predict the formation of a
German, Italian and Japanese alliance in the very near future.”
Gregory listened attentively and then, almost imperceptibly, nodded his head. He
rose from his chair and extended his hand to Ashton. “Thank you, Stuart,” he
said, firmly gripping the Director of Military Intelligence’s hand. “I’ll brief
the Prime Minister.”
he walked away, he couldn’t shake the feeling that the winds of war had reached
gale force and that the looming battle was soon to be upon them.
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