Ripper tale of real-life mine-defusers

ONE false move and you’re gone. 

Now Canberra historian and CityNews columnist, Robert Macklin, has brought this old saying to life in a new book billed as “spine-tingling.”

And no wonder. “One False Move” to be launched this evening at Paperchain bookstore, Manuka by Independent Senate Candidate for Queensland, Greg Rudd, “tells the story of the work of Australia’s mine busters in World War II, work that was was “so secret that even after the war its details could not be revealed.”

Yet, as Macklin shows, Leon Goldsworthy of Perth, Hugh Syme of Melbourne, Stuart Mould of Sydney and George Gosse of Adelaide would all go on to win the George Cross and become the most highly decorated officers in Australia’s naval history.

The Royal Australian Navy opened its files to and biographer Robert Macklin at its classified Sea Power Headquarters in Canberra. As well, the families of Goldsworthy, Syme, Mould and Gosse allowed him access to the memoirs written during their service or shortly after the war’s end.

Described by the publishers as “a story of sheer courage and skill – incredible bravery combined with the precision of a surgeon,” the book shows these men defusing Hitler’s secret weapons that had been designed to bring  the free world to its knees. The weapons included magnetic mines designed to explode when ships passed over them or when their instruments were disturbed, and were followed by pressure mines and others that exploded when exposed to the light, and often dropped in residential areas. The detonators were booby-trapped by the Nazis.

The amazing thing is that all men survived to tell their stories.

As Macklin relates this ripper tale, “both sides played out a deadly game with civilization itself hanging in the balance.”

Author Macklin has written 21 books, in recent years including the winner of the Blake Dawson Award for the BHP Billiton history, “The Big Fella,” the bestseller, “SAS Sniper” and the standard biography of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

“One False Move” 384 pages, paperback, RRP $35, at all good bookstores.

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