I first learnt about this story as a child listening to my grandmother replaying her own memories out loud. Her family being forced from their home and witnessing the death of her father. A story, as a boy, I simply accepted as life.
It wasn't until I decided as an adult to explore the reasons why, that I realised how little is known and even mentioned about this monumental conflict.
Have you ever heard of the Montevideo Maru? Or Tol Plantation? Neither had I.
As such it is my ambition and that of Hostages To Fortune to shed a brighter light on the events surrounding the Japanese invasion of Rabaul and the largely unknown opening exchanges of Australia's involvement in the Pacific War.
With all remaining survivors of the conflict fast succumbing to age it is my intention to provoke a greater mainstream understanding of the atrocities suffered, many of which carried far beyond the scope of warfare.
Without diminishing similar campaigns I hope to permanently establish public recognition of the sacrifices made as well as the lasting impact on both sides of the conflict and in doing so preserve the lessons in younger generations of the price of war.
This film is not merely a story of good vs evil.
It is a direct look into the overflow of consequence of war as well as a pertinent historical event that has been all but lost.
We now have in grasp a great opportunity, which I firmly believe has transpired into an obligation to tell it.
It is with great courteousy I invite you to be a part of that process and in doing so help create an enduring access into the heart of a struggle that we have almost forgotten.
Time changes many things.
But one thing changes never.
The memories of those happy days, when we were once together.
The midnight stars are shining on a grave not far away where they laid my darling Daddy.
Irene Shiels nee Lewerissa wrote this for her father Peter after he was killed during the Japanese invasion.
Word source: Unknown