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Free Weekly Serialisation Vol. 2
Australian Imperial Force
Australian National Airways
artificial horizon (aircraft’s attitude gauge)
air traffic control
aviation gasoline (piston-engine plane fuel)
Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia)
absent without leave
Australian Workers’ Union
Citizens Military Force known as The Militia and incorporated into the AIF during WWII
centre of gravity
Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd
Department of Civil Aviation
grievous bodily harm
general purpose or general practitioner
high frequency (radio transmitter-receiver)
intensive care unit
kitchen patrol (military punishment duties)
nautical miles per hour
maximum revolutions (full throttle)
Military Police (red caps)
non-commissioned officer (corporals, sergeants and warrant officers)
Non-directional (radio) beacon
Operating Room (theatre)
prisoners of war
P. W. & I.
prisoner of war and internment (camp)
Royal Australian Air Force
R & R
rest and recreation (leave)
Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Royal Australian Regiment
Returned Servicemen’s League
2000 lb (pounds) or 907 kilograms – a weight used mostly in America
Trans Australian Airlines
very high frequency (radio transmitter-receiver)
vertical speed indicator
Queensland lager-style beer
Chapter 2 Breakout
Chapter 3 Northern Rattler
Danny hated St Ursicinus beyond any intensity he could have imagined. He hated the buildings, the work, the lessons, the food, Sister Gertrude, the brothers, but mostly he hated Monsignor Desmond Slaughter. Danny channelled his hatred into sheer determination. He would not let them break him, but knew that to resist on their terms was suicide. He kept his head down, avoided eye contact, studied hard and bore continuous minor punishments thus avoiding major ones. Luckily he was a bright lad and quick at maths, English, science, history and geography. Without a doubt geography was his favourite subject, mostly because he could imagine being in foreign places far, far away from St Ursicinus. He developed ways of looking busy and even tried sucking up, but found that impossible. So he strove to simply stay neutral...beige...invisible.
The first term passed with numbing slowness, but no one came to collect him for the holidays. He knew Stanley was behind it, but despised his mother for allowing him to sway her.
‘Looks like we’ll have the pleasure of your company for the break,’ Sister Gertrude sneered with grinning anticipation.
Actually only a handful of boys from the western properties left for the holidays and a few lucky ones didn’t return. In a time when folk didn’t question their Church, many parents either disbelieved their children if they reported abuse or even suggested they must have deserved it if they received a beating. Life was rough on remote cattle stations and sometimes conditions were no better there, so the boys returned to St Ursicinus with resigned dread.
As the dry season progressed and temperatures dropped at night, the boys pulled their inadequate blankets around them and shivered in their beds. It was those nights the boys dreaded most. Often a shadowy figure would prowl through the dormitory and lead a trembling youth from the room. The lad would return before dawn and lie sobbing under the covers trying to forget the horror he’d endured. Danny was obviously considered too old to be desirable and was fortunately left alone, but one of the youngsters called Colin told him what those selected had experienced.