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IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT WHEN A man is facing impossible odds on the field of battle, his mind, like that of a drowning person, reaches back into the past, gropes and fumbles through his life and touches the tender memories of things and faces which, he feels in- stinctively, may never be his again. Such was the experience 0f Stefan James. From the beleaguered Imphal Valley in the early part of 1944, where he and his squadron were nearer the Japanese front line than ninety per cent of the British Army, he felt that the chances of survival were remote. Every day the Japanese columns were creeping nearer through the jungle and over the mountains; every day the pilots of the battered Hurricanes flew off to strafe the roads and rivers of Burma and return exhausted to the rice field strip and native huts which were their home, to lie awake at night waiting for the strangled cry of death which betrayed a Jap infiltration patrol amongst them.

It was in this atmosphere of despair that Stefan James spent his weary leisure hours jotting down the happy memories of a varied and exciting young life, living again the few pre-war years with desperate realism.

His story is now recorded by Oliver Moxon with a simplicity, straightforwardness and candour that conveys immediately the sincerity and zest for living of those young men who flew in the face of the bitter monsoon.

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  • Seller location: Waitakere City, Auckland, NZ

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