Avonmore Books

Specialist military history publisher & distributor

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Avonmore Books is proud to represent and be associated with a variety of authors who share a passion for various aspects of military, naval or aviation history:

Bob Alford

Raised at Bacchus Marsh in country Victoria, Bob’s interest in aviation stems from his father’s involvement from the Kingsford Smith era and the Victorian Aero Club of the 1930s. Bob joined the RAAF in 1966 and served 20 years as an Armourer in a variety of squadrons and postings, many of these at overseas bases.

Following ‘retirement’ from the RAAF Bob was commissioned to undertake site surveys and report on military and aircraft crash sites in the Northern Territory. He was later appointed Director of the National Trust and was involved in the 1992 War Service Memorial Year, during which he wrote the first edition of Darwin’s Air War. He also prepared many papers, co-wrote a number of publications and books and provided research and other services to a range of individuals and organisations, both in Australia and overseas.

Bob was later appointed Chair of NT Committee for the Federal Government’s 1995 Australia Remembers commemorative program and in 1999 commenced his own business as a heritage consultant. In 2002 he was appointed as Chair of the NT Heritage Council, an appointment he held for five years.

In 2007 Bob and his Thai wife, Pat, moved to Thailand, where they now reside in a village on the outskirts of Lampang in Thailand’s north. Bob has retained his interest in the aviation history and heritage of the Northern Territory and is currently finalising his latest work on the Japanese air forces over the Northwestern Area of Operations (NWA) during WWII.

John Bradford, B. Sc.

John Bradford grew up in wartime Birmingham, before graduating in mathematics and moving to Australia in 1960 where he began a long career with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). John came to specialise in the area of naval air defence systems, before retirement in 1992. Since that time he has been an active naval historian and author, with a special interest in the Imperial system of gallantry and awards. A 1996 Northern Territory Government History Award led to his highly acclaimed book In the Highest Traditions ... RAN heroism Darwin 19 February 1942. John continues an active interest in this area, and as a result a further grant from the Darwin City Council to advise on myths and misinformation about the bombing of Darwin, the council is considering his advice to change a number of memorial plaques around Darwin.

Michael Claringbould

Michael Claringbould was raised in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in the 1960s where he became fascinated by surviving aircraft wrecks from the war. In 1984 he assisted the RAAF salvage Douglas A-20G ‘The Hell’N Pelican’ which he discovered in 1976 behind Madang. In 1996 he identified the wreckage of ‘Pug’ Southerland’s F4F-4 Wildcat, the first U.S aircraft shot down in the Guadalcanal campaign. Michael’s absorption in the SWPA air war has seen him author four books, The Forgotten Fifth, Forty of the Fifth, Black Sunday and Eagles of the Southern Sky (co-authored with Luca Ruffato). He is also a co-author of ‘Rampage of the Roaring 20s’ - the history of the 312th Bombardment Group (IRP, Colorado). Michael is an Assistant Editor for Flightpath Magazine, Australia, and consults to the U.S military Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (JPAC) on wreck identification in the SWPA. Michael works for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. He has completed several postings overseas including Thailand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, with short-term postings to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. In 2011 he commenced a posting to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Bruce Gamble

Bruce Gamble’s narrative style and depth of research have earned critical acclaim in publications that include Publishers Weekly and Booklist. In addition to writing popular history books, Bruce has given numerous public presentations and has been the featured historian in documentaries produced by the History Channel, Fox News Channel, PBS and the Pritzker Military Library. The winner of two literary awards in 2010, Bruce is a member of the Authors Guild and holds life memberships in the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Rudolf J Idzerda

Rudolf Idzerda has led an extraordinary life, and his memoirs have been skilfully translated into English. The following was written by Idzerda himself:

“Having led an interesting and somewhat adventurous life, I was asked a few years ago to write my memoirs which were then published in Holland in 2002 by the publisher “De Bataafsche Leeuw” in cooperation with the Netherlands Institute for Maritime History, and with a foreword by H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The title of the book is “Een Bevlogen Avontuur”, and it is now in the third edition. It is also in the collection of The Library of Congress in Washington.

The book was also published in England in 2006 by Woodfield Publishing Ltd with the title “Adventures of a Flying Dutchman”. After reading the book in 2006, the then Ambassador of Australia to the Netherlands, Mr. Stephen Brady, forwarded it to the Australian War Memorial for its retention. It is now also in the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

My book begins with a description of my youth in the former Netherlands East Indies, where I was called up for military service upon finishing high school in 1941. After navigator training and subsequent sorties in Catalinas, and a last minute escape from Java with the Dornier X 23, I describe the Japanese attack on Broome, of which I was a witness, and then my trip from Broome ending up in Melbourne.

After pilot training in the US I returned to Australia to serve in the Netherlands 120 Squadron, which was attached administratively to the RAAF, flying the P-40 Kitty Hawk against the Japanese in New Guinea. The home base was Canberra. After being shot down by the Japanese over the jungle, and my second (out of three, a record, at least in Holland) emergency parachute jump I received temporary hospitality from the Papuans until rescued.

Robert “Bob” Kelly AFC

Squadron Leader Robert “Bob” Kelly AFC (RAAF Retired) began a long and successful career with the RAAF in 1943, subsequently logging over 5,600 hours as a radio operator in mainly Dakotas and Neptunes.  Bob’s service included operational tours in Malaya and Vietnam and valuable work as an intelligence analyst.  Retiring from the RAAF in 1976, Bob now lives in the Sunshine Coast area of Queensland where he enjoys researching aviation history and has assisted with aircraft restoration projects at the Queensland Aviation Museum. In recent years Bob has pioneered research into military air transport – a much neglected area, particularly in the Pacific War. Indeed, his multi-volume work Allied Air Transport Operations South West Pacific Area in WWII has been received to huge acclaim from veterans, enthusiasts and critics worldwide. Please see the Products section for details of the contents of each volume. Bob passed away in May 2013. It is understood that he had done much work towards a fourth and final volume of his air transport series, but it remains unfinished. His wife, June, advises that in due course a family member may complete the book.

Dr Tom Lewis, OAM.

An established author in his own right, Dr Lewis is the senior author of four books published by Avonmore. He is a serving naval officer and Director of the Darwin Military Museum, as well as holding various senior editorial positions.  With a diverse background including experience as  a teacher and a divemaster, Dr Lewis is a recognised expert on WWII  in northern Australia and a regular media commentator.

Mike Milln

Mike Milln has spent his working life in aviation: first in Canada for twenty-three years with Canadian Pacific Airlines and its successor companies, then for the last twenty in Australia with Lloyd Air, Lloyd Aviation Jet Charter and the South Australian Government.

He joined the South Australian Aviation Museum in 1996 and is now a keen member of its History Group - a group of members with a shared strong interest in researching and writing aviation history. This book is a product of the group’s enthusiastic support.

Jack Mulholland

Jack Mulholland was an Australian Army AA gunner based on Darwin Oval. His unit was among the very first to engage the huge armada of attacking Japanese planes on 19th February 1942.  Now in its fourth reprint and and with much new information, Jack’s book Darwin Bombed is a must for anyone interested in this subject. Jack passed away in 2012.

David Vincent

David Vincent is a respected aviation history researcher and author. David has written several books on RAAF WWII aircraft since the 1970s, all of which remain eagerly sought after on the second-hand market. David’s finest work is a two volume history of the Lockheed Hudson in RAAF service (The RAAF Hudson Story Book One). Limited stocks of Book One are still available. The long awaited second volume The RAAF Hudson Story Book Two was released in early 2011.