Ian Busst: A Mad Bugger Went to War

August 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

My piece in the Sydney Morning Herald -


Books that changed me

August 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age ran this little piece today.



Books that change me

Here’s the full article —


The Searaven Story

August 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

For anyone interested in the American element to my book, Rescue at 2100 Hours, then have a look at this video -

The “Silent Service”, a television series in the late 50s, dramatised scores of submarine stories to emerge out of World War II. The Searaven Story focuses on the rescue of 29 Australian airmen who were trapped on Japanese-occupied Timor for 58 days. My grandfather, Flight Lieutenant Bryan Rofe, was the officer in charge of the group.

The real rescue was, in fact, more dramatic than is represented here. Over two nights, the malaria-stricken airmen were forced to swim through a 16-foot surf in the dead of night through shark-infested waters. They were aided by three exceptionally brave American submariners. One of those men, Ensign George Cook, would be awarded the Navy Cross, the highest decoration in the United Staves Navy.


Tomorrow We Escape

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow We Escape Cover

On a November morning in 1943, escaped Australian POW Ian Busst comes within a day’s march of Allied lines after journeying hundreds of miles on foot through war-torn Italy. The young man is starving and hypothermic, and the German 10th Army stands between him and freedom.


Years later, 95-year-old Busst – the unlikely survivor – can still recall his wartime experiences in the Royal Australian Engineers in incredible detail, from the sound of a strafing Messerschmitt to the appalling vision of his two mates blown apart by a high-calibre bomb. Busst’s odyssey took him through the dark days of the Battle of Britain and fighting in the Western Desert. Captured near Tobruk during a daring night mission ahead of the German advance into Libya, he was sent to the prison camps of Italy and eventually to the dreaded Campo 57. Subjected to appalling conditions, Busst – known as ‘Mad Bugger’ – became obsessed with one objective: escape.


This is a thriller set amid the great battlefields and prison camps of the Second World War. Tom Trumble brings to life one man’s extraordinary story of high adventure, courage, resilience and, above all, mateship.


Rescue at 2100 Hours

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment


Rescue at 2100 Hours

February 1942. The Japanese invasion of Timor has begun and attempts to evacuate a group of 29 Australian airmen, charged with keeping an airfield operational until the last moment, are thwarted.

Under the leadership of Bryan Rofe, a 24-year-old meteorological officer, the airmen make for remote jungle along the northwest coast. All attempts to rescue the group fail. Malaria-ravaged and starving, these men are taken to the limits of their endurance for 58 days. When a 300-strong Japanese patrol is sent to hunt them down all hope seems lost, until they receive a strange signal from sea – an American submarine has been dispatched to their position. With the Japanese closing in, only courage will keep them alive.

Using diaries of the airmen and wartime records, Rofe’s grandson Tom Trumble brings to life one of the greatest stories of survival and escape of the Second World War. From the young man who stepped up to bring his men home and the Japanese soldier sent to hunt down the Australians, to the American submarine captain and the Timorese fisherman who saved them, this is an insight into the extraordinary things that happen to ordinary men in war.

Unholy Pilgrims

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Unholy Pilgrims

Sometimes the slow road can be the fastest way to sort things out


Relationship-challenged, with the résumé of a vagrant, Tom Trumble is at one of life’s crossroads. So he takes up an offer to go on a seriously long walk – the ancient Christian pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the domain of the devout.


Despite his good intentions, Tom’s route takes him into every bar along the way while crossing paths with the loopy and the wise, the pious and the distinctly ungodly. He finds himself contending with song-happy evangelists, unlikely scholars and enlightened globetrotters, and randy backpackers out to bed every pilgrim they meet. Not to mention his own very restless demons, some of which lead him to confront troubles he thought he’d left at home.


Unholy Pilgrims is an irreverent and engaging take on figuring out what the hell to do with your life.


Tomorrow We Escape – Book Trailer

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Since the publication of my latest character-driven military history, “Tomorrow We Escape”, I’ve put together a little book trailer.

The book is available where all good books are sold!






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