Kids’ Book Review: Review: Deadly Waters: Australia’s Second World War


It’s
1931. Cliff moves 300 miles from his rural life to Sydney leaving his friends
and everything familiar behind. But his passion for cricket is nurtured at his
new school, and a memorable view of Charles Kingsford Smith flying the Southern
Cross over the Harbour bridge is added to his experiences.

The
future brings change and great challenges when Cliff joins the Royal Australian
Naval Reserves and trains for war. He is allocated the role of signalman
learning flag semaphore. 

On the social front he meets Marie. Called into active
service after war is declared, his first dangerous assignment is aboard a mine
sweeper patrolling off the coast of eastern Australia. He is later transferred
to HMAS Australia during War in the Pacific where he experiences battles and
kamikaze (suicide bomber) attacks.

Never
imagining how drastically his life would change, he finds himself more than
capable in the roles he is given.

Through
Cliff’s strong, flowing narrative voice, the gifted Helen Chapman brings to
life and light, her father’s experiences in the RAN, an area of Australia’s
Second World War that is rarely addressed in novels.

Perfect,
crisp prose and descriptive detail sees the post-war years represented in the
language, social norms and activities. Throughout the book, harsh realities are
peppered with humour, lightening the life-threatening episodes experienced by
the men on board.

Through
Chapman’s cleverly built images we view the order of the different ships, how
mines are moored to the seabed, what battle stations means and the fellowship
and tragedy of the naval crew.

Deadly
Waters is the fourth novel in the Australian Second World War series through
Scholastic which concentrates on actual events. An Historical Timeline, and
comprehensive maps close the book. Readers can find more information under War
Casualties and the Merchant Navy.

Title: Deadly Waters: Australia’s Second World War
Author: Helen Chapman
Publisher: Scholastic, $17.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781743835104
For ages: 12+
Type: Historical Non Fiction



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