In 1942 a ship carrying 500 escapees from Japanese-occupied Singapore set sail from Padang for Ceylon. Halfway to safety she was torpedoed and sank. Amidst the horror and confusion, only one lifeboat was launched — a lifeboat built to carry twenty-eight but to which 135 souls now looked to for salvation.
For twenty-six days she drifted across the Indian Ocean. For twenty-six days, cannibalism, murder, heroism and self-sacrifice drifted with her. When the lifeboat finally ran aground on the island of Sipora, off Sumatra, only four had survived: two Javanese seamen, a Chinese girl, Doris Lim, and Walter Gibson of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
The Boat is Walter Gibson’s true account of that horrific event. He captures vividly the mental trauma, the physical pain, the decision to kill or be killed but above all, the determination not to die.
‘A chilling story: I got goosebumps reading it’ Lifestyle magazine, Singapore
About the author
Born in 1914, Walter Gardiner Gibson fought in WWII Malaya, and survived in a lifeboat for twenty-six days amidst cannibalism and treachery. Soldier, POW and author, he died in 2005.