pageturner press and media icon
The Holy Smokes at War

The Holy Smokes at War

by J.P. Dolan

About The Book

Tommy McGee at War is set in the Port of Fremantle during WWII and shows how teenagers and adults interact during such times of stress. The characters in the story are Tommy McGee and his gang, the Holy Smokes, who are in constant war with the opposition gang, the Stinking Head Shea Gang, led by Stinking Head Shea himself. There is also Sergeant Major John Daly, who is known to Tommy as Uncle Jack and is the founder and leader of Z Force, which is based on the mysterious and forbidding Garden Island. Finally, there is Poacher Kenworthy, who, with his reputation of being a very bad man, strikes terror in the hearts of the boys. There are also general characters filling in the story to help create the atmosphere of wartime. The story starts out by establishing the area of operations, how the Holy Smokes got their name, and the details about their meeting place, the Place, which is a large flat rock on the edge of the Swan River and is overlooked by the lookout tree, which is strategically placed on the corner of Poacher Kenworthy’s five-acre orchard; this enables the boys to keep tabs on the Stinking Heads and also on any ripening fruits in the orchard. There are skirmishes as the defences of the Place are tested and how, after retaliating by the Stinking Heads, a girl named Ingrid is inducted into the Holy Smokes. It is during one of their meetings at the Place that they discover that Poacher has found a way into the heavily defended Port of Fremantle. Uncle Jack, with Z Force, is having troubles when his navigator goes ack-willy (an army term for AWL) and puts in jeopardy an operation in Java to attack the Japanese-held Port of Padang. The navigator is caught by the civilian police and put into Fremantle Gaol. This sets in motion a series of events which leads to the discovery of a tunnel built by the original convicts, which leads directly to Fremantle Gaol, and with the help of the Holy Smokes, the navigator is retrieved. During this operation, they are seen, and because of a lack of communications, a battle between the home guard and the civil defence unit takes place almost on top of where they are all hiding. It would appear that it would be almost impossible to get the navigator back to Garden Island using existing transport. They decided to take him out through Fremantle Harbour, and much to the boys’ horror, Poacher is co-opted to lead. The rescue is successful after a great deal of effort but with the loss of Tommy’s dinghy, which was blown to bits by the defence guns. Some time later, Uncle Jack gathers all the Holy Smokes together and gives a very detailed description of the successful attack on Padang Harbour and how they had escaped back to Australia, hotly pursued by the Japanese all the way down the coast of Sumatra, through the Sunda Strait, and back to Broome, which had just been bombed by the Japanese. Finally, Tommy is presented with a dinghy which had been captured from a Japanese destroyer.

Publication date July 26,2023
Language English
ISBN (Paperback)
979-8-88963-737-0 (E-BOOK)
Genre Fiction, Action and Adventure
Pages 240
Interior Color Black and White
Book Size 6.000" x 9.000" (229mm x 152mm)


Be the first to review.

Write a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your rating *