Club Cowra

Acclaimed Author To Visit Cowra This Month

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

IMAGE: Local author Stuart Lloyd will present ‘A Bleeding Slaughterhouse’ at the Cowra Library later this month.

Best-selling author and Central West local Stuart Lloyd will present his latest book, ‘A Bleeding Slaughterhouse’, at Cowra Library on Tuesday 26th July.

The book uses graphic eyewitness accounts and interviews with Allied survivors and Japanese officers to piece together what really happened in the largest military hospital outside Britain on 14-15 February 1942, Alexandra Hospital in Singapore. Japanese troops stormed the hospital and left up to 300 doctors, orderlies and patients dead - many bayonetted in their beds where they lay defenceless – just hours before Singapore surrendered. Aussie diggers such as John ‘Jack’ Slater from Bathurst and Lt Harry Woods from Mudgee survived to tell their tale.

The story dissects the actions and reactions from both sides of the story, painstakingly and forensically understanding the causes and tracking down the perpetrators, with surprising results.

It’s not just about a gory body count. Pre-war the hospital was embroiled in a $3 million corruption scandal. The hospital staff were a colourful and often eccentric collection of individuals enjoying colonial life in Singapore to the full. The nurses were evacuated but intercepted at sea by the Japanese. The patients and medicos then found themselves in a living nightmare, from which a handful escape with incredible tales of bravery and derring-do. Then the War Crimes trialsstart and more mysteries ensue. A conspiracy theory takes out a key investigator. Finally, a bombshell is dropped and the riveting ‘Whodunnit’ is solved.

Mr Lloyd conducted interviews with real life survivors of the massacre to source information for his story.

“It took over 10 years of painstaking detective work to solve this ‘Whodunnit’? I’ve finally cracked it. While my research was forensic, my intention as a storyteller was to help us to know the often colourful characters, on both sides, caught up in this perfect storm. So it’s a story about humanity and inhumanity,” he said.

“The story has a local angle because at least two characters from the Central West are known to have been involved: John ‘Jack’ Slater, originally from Bathurst, and Lt Harry Woods, AIF 2/20th Regiment, from Mudgee.”

The Cowra Library is encouraging locals to attend this unique presentation on Tuesday 26 July at 10am – 12 noon. Please book your place online via or call the Library on 6340 2180.

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