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Charlie's Swim


During WWII after the Japanese invasion of Java, more than 1000 refugees from the Dutch East Indies, many in flying boats, passed through Broome, which was a major refuelling point and a significant Allied military base. On 3 March 1942 Broome was attacked by Japanese fighter planes, killing at least 88 civilians and Allied military personnel.

Charlie’s Swim is based on the true story of the author’s Uncle Charlie (Charles D’Antoine) who was working inside a flying boat when the attack began. In the midst of flying bullets, blazing fires and sharks, Charlie saw a woman and child desperately trying to keep afloat and without hesitation went to their rescue.

In 1944, Charlie was awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Royal Humane Society of Australasia in recognition of his efforts and he was awarded four medals for bravery from the Dutch government. It took a further 80 years for the Australian government and military to formally recognise this bravery.


Praise for Charlie's Swim

"...wonderful true tale of one boy’s bravery in the face of overwhelming odds."
Fran Knight, ReadPlus

"The text reveals Charlie’s story in simple prose but it is the daring illustrations that provide a close-up view of the action."
Heather Zubek, ED! Magazine

Edith Wright

Edith Wright (née D’Antoine) is very proud of her Bardi descent. She was born in Broome in 1954 and grew up in Derby, Western Australia. She is married with two sons and seven grandchildren. In 2018 Edith retired from...

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Charmaine Ledden-Lewis
Charmaine Ledden-Lewis is a Blue Mountains artist, and descendant of the Bundjalung people. Her matriarchal lineage is a living legacy of the Stolen Generations. She is a vocal advocate for those who have had their history and culture stolen from...

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