Annabel Venning’s Review of ‘The Jungle War’ by Hannah Watson

Eighteen-year-old Jim Chance joins the Gurkhas in 1941, expecting to see action in North Africa. Instead, he is catapulted into the fighting in Burma just one month after being commissioned in Dehra Dun. He must rapidly learn how to command men, how to fight, and how to survive in the confusion of the retreat as the Japanese cut them off from their supplies.

Hannah Watson has written this fictional account of the 1942 campaign in Burma for young readers and does a terrific job of explaining this theatre of the Second World War, neglected by the school curriculum, while telling a rattling good tale.

Readers are immediately swept up in the lives of Jim, his fellow subaltern Ralph, and the Gurkhas whose fighting skill, bravery and cheerful companionship lighten the darkness of war, from joker Kulbir to wiry Agansing and Havildar Thaman, Jim’s guiding light. There are cameos from the likes of Churchill, interweaving the wider war story into the narrative. Highly recommended for children, grandchildren and readers of any age.

‘The Jungle War’ is available from Amazon (£9.99) or from The Gurkha Museum.


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