Saturday, 31 March 2012

Westland Whirlwind Helicopter

The patrol in 'Merdeka' is inserted into the jungle by Westland Whirlwind helicopters.  The Westland Whirlwind helicopter was a British licence-built version of the U.S. Sikorsky S-55/H-19 Chickasaw.  400 were built, of which 100 were sold to overseas  customers. 

According to Wikipedia 69 still survive and when researching the book I visited Whirlwind HAR.9 XL875 at Scone Airfield, Perth, Scotland.

The RAF HAR Mk.4 version was modified for use in the tropics and was used in Malaya.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The final question

What will you say on your deathbed?  How you live your final moments will of course depend on your beliefs.  Atonement and preparation for a final journey is a common approach.  Ultimately we will not know what will happen to our spirit until we are gone.  In 'Merdeka' there is a moving deathbed scene, where two cultures meet.  Of course death can be sudden and unexpected, and there is often not time to prepare...... but for those who can, the answer to the final question will no doubt become clear as thoughts focus for the last time............

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Penang Ferry

The Penang Ferry is mentioned in 'Merdeka'.  In 1957 it was the only way to get to the Island - whereas today it is an alternative to the Penang Bridge that opened in 1985.  The vessels in use today are different to the one that Alick used.

The Ferry first started running in 1920 and so it will soon be celebrating its 100th Anniversary.  But a new bridge will  make it less relevant.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Customer reviews of Merdeka

QR Code for Merdeka Reviews
Another customer review was posted on yesterday - a big thank you to Lynne Duncan.  7 reviews posted there to date.  All are very much appreciated and extracts can be seen on the Review Page of this blog. 

As mentioned in an earlier post, the QR code shown will also take you straight to the customer review page on (if you have QR code scanning software linked to the camera on your phone).

Customer reviews are particularly appreciated as work has now commenced on the next book...........

Monday, 5 March 2012

British and Commonwealth War Graves desecrated in Libya

Video footage has been released by people believed to be from an Islamist militia showing graves in a British and Commonwealth Military Cemetery being systematically desecrated by armed thugs.  One of the gang also climbed the Cenotaph and began smashing the cross on it with a mallet.

Having foreign war graves on your soil is one of the residues of Empire, although in this case Libya had not been a British colony - it belonged to Italy.  The soldiers whose remains are buried in the Benghazi Military Cemetery died fighting Rommel's Africa Corps.  This was apparently of no concern to the vandals, whose mission appears to have been some form of revenge for the burning of copies of the Koran by the American military in Afghanistan.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

What is a QR Code?

A QR code (or quick response code) is a unique matrix bar code that lets people instantly follow a link to an internet page using a Smartphone with the required App.  Here's how it works and what you can do with it:
  1. Check that your phone can scan a QR code with its camera, either with an application that you download or via software that's already installed on your phone (use a search engine to find an App if your phone doesn't have one - search online from your phone and many sites will ensure that one is downloaded that exactly matches your phone's make and model).
  2. Then use the App on your phone to scan the image to the right.  The image has a QR code that takes you straight to reviews of Merdeka on  

And that's it!  Apparently QR codes are becoming more and more popular as a quick and easy way to capture and share information.  Your support in sharing the one on this page would be hugely appreciated!

Merdeka on Facebook

The Merdeka page on Facebook has just got a short url.  You can find it by following  Visit the page to see some related images and other information.  Your support in 'Liking' the page would be hugely appreciated.....

Friday, 2 March 2012

Merdeka print edition sales doing well......

Having just checked the Amazon UK website Merdeka is now #44,164 in the best sellers rank out of over 5,721,000 books.  That put's it into the top 1% (albeit briefly as the stats are update hourly).  Thank you all...........

Thursday, 1 March 2012

World Book Day 2012

Today is 1st March 2012 and it's World Book Day.  What is World Book Day?   To quote from their website:

World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

To find out more visit the World Book Day website at