Author(s): Roland Perry
The legendary Australian ship's cat who survived the sinking of HMAS Perth and the Thai-Burma Railway.
Just after midnight on the 1st March 1942, Australia's most celebrated cruiser, HMAS Perth, was sunk by Japanese naval forces in the Sunda Strait off the coast of Java. Of the 681 men aboard, 328 survived the sinking and made it to shore - and one cat. Her name was Red Lead, and she was the ship's cat, beloved by the crew and by HMAS Perth's legendary captain Hec Waller.
But surviving shell fire, torpedoes and the fierce currents of the Sunda Strait was only the start of the terrible trials Red Lead and the surviving crew were to face over the next three and a half years. From Java to Changi and then on the Thai-Burma Railway, Red Lead was to act as a companion, mascot and occasional hunter of food for a small group of sailors who made it their mission to keep her alive in some of the most hellish prison camps on earth.
Red Lead's extraordinary story is one of courage, loyalty and love amidst battle, imprisonment and death, brought vividly to life by bestselling author Roland Perry.