An extraordinary but true war-time tale of daring, mystery, luck and in excess of twenty million dollars worth of diamonds, and how they were lost, found and lost again.
It's March 1942, and one of the last planes out of Java is about to wing terrified Dutch refugees away from the advancing Japanese army. At the last minute, a mysterious brown paper package is thrown to its pilot, Russian air ace Captain Ivan 'Turc' Smirnoff.
Heading for the supposed safety of Australia, the ill-fated DC-3 flew straight into the path of three Japanese Zeroes returning from a devastating air raid on Broome. Under heavy fire, Smirnoff miraculously landed the badly damaged plane on an isolated beach on the far northwest coast. The survivors were eventually found, but not before several had died from their injuries or thirst.
In the confusion, the package was forgotten.
Here, for the first time, is the full story of what really happened to Smirnoff's lost diamonds.
Award winning journalist and mother of three, Juliet Wills, is a Senior
Reseacher for the ABC program Can We Help?. She has worked for all major
Australian television networks and reported for overseas networks including
CNN and NHK. She has lectured at two universities and written for major
national newspapers and magazines including The Australian and Woman's
Day. She resides in Perth, Western Australia.
Table Of Contents:
PART ONE Flight, death and survival
CHAPTER ONE Evacuation
CHAPTER TWO The air raid on Broome
CHAPTER THREE Shot down over Carnot Bay
CHAPTER FOUR The Japanese strike again
CHAPTER FIVE Survival
CHAPTER SIX Beagle Bay rescue
CHAPTER SEVEN Where are the diamonds?
PART TWO Diamonds galore
CHAPTER EIGHT The old pearler
CHAPTER NINE The beachcomber
CHAPTER TEN The beachcomber's cache
CHAPTER ELEVEN An attack of conscience?
CHAPTER TWELVE The trial
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Diamond fever
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
Australasian & Pacific history