A true and moving story of love, war, courage and indomitable spirit…
One day the tall, gaunt father came to the house with the new wife and called the puzzled seven-year-old to him. She had never seen him before… ‘I am your father and you will call me Father, and this is your new mother and you will call her Mother,’ he said. Then he went away again, leaving little Bell with confusion in her mind and emptiness in her heart.
In Mackie and Jack, the author travels with Mary ‘Bell’ Todd on a journey to remember a lonely childhood, a wartime marriage and what it took for her to succeed as a woman alone in a man’s world of livestock breeding in Australia. Empowered by inner strength and resilience, she confronted her challenges and overcame them.
In 1942-1944, Mary’s husband, Squadron Leader Jack Todd faced challenges of another kind. Armed with bombs, depth charges and mines, the Catalinas of 11 and 20 Squadrons, Royal Australian Air Force, took the war directly to the Japanese by reaching out from Cairns in flights across the Pacific. From these squadrons alone, 187 men did not return.
Jack Todd piloted the ill-fated mission of Catalina A24.34. Jack’s story is one of courage, leadership and valour in a war against an enemy that showed no mercy.
An outstanding account of Australian war history and that of a woman who brushed aside those who stood in her way.