This book “Alive…All Alive” is the mysterious true story of the WW2 disappearance of RAAF VH-CIZ (A65-83) – a C47-B Dakota transport with 25 servicemen on board. The Douglas Dakota was thought to have flown head-long into a severe tropical storm and subsequently crashed or ditched somewhere in the Banda Sea. The next day, when the plane could not possibly be in the air, two cryptic radio messages crackled into military receivers in Darwin – one of which stated the group were “Alive…All Alive.” Shortly after, a civilian radio operator received a third incomplete message from an unknown source. The message stated an unknown group were on Timor, were all OK, and were waiting to be picked up. Despite a frantic search effort, the men and the aircraft were never seen again.
Researched and written by Lee J McCarthy who is the grandson of one of the missing men.
The book investigates the likelihood of the men’s survival, the possible outcomes of the incident, and the flawed Court of Inquiry that followed.
Included are first hand accounts of the weather that day from veterans, airstrip conversations with the missing pilot, and many other details not disclosed in the Court of Inquiry.
The book takes a deep-dive into war-time radio technology, explores clandestine military activity at the time, and dissects witness statements and exhibits in plain language.
This is a must-read for anyone interested in war-time aviation, C47 Dakota, military radio technology, and survival in the Pacific War.
....What did happen?
"I purchased Alive - It looked interesting. It arrived and I thought I'll just read a few pages...can't put it down. The research, the detail, the clearly explained narrative and the genuinely engaging involvement of the narrative and the reader to invite consideration, analysis and thoughtful enquiry to the incident itself is masterful writing.
This is one that I will be reading and re-reading." Barbara B. NSW Australia
I am the author of the book Alive…All Alive, and the grandson of Francis McCarthy, one of the 25 missing Australians.
The tale of VH-CIZ is something I’ve researched on-and-off for twenty years now. And while at times it has been difficult to find the hours to research the story with the depth it requires, the journey has ultimately been fulfilling and somewhat cathartic for me.
I’m not obsessed with war, far from it – and I don’t like to glorify it either. But it’s the human stories of war that interest me. It’s trying to understand how seemingly everyday people keep going when the war has pushed their emotions, resilience, and fortitude beyond breaking point. And I’m still staggered by those little war-time nuggets that I stumble across while researching too. Stories of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things, then packing it all up to return to civilian life.