By Dave Hayward
Published by PUBLISHME
Paper Back, fiction.
RRP $30 direct from www.publishme.co.nz or firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Col (Retd) Ray Seymour
A combination of fact & fiction
Perhaps the best way of introducing “Point of the Spear” to readers is to introduce the author, Dave Hayward. This is his first foray into writing and one hopes it will not be the last. Hayward is well qualified to write on the subject he has chosen having been an infantryman for some 33 years prior to retiring as the Sergeant Major of the New Zealand Army. It was during those years of soldiering that Hayward proved himself to be a master of jungle warfare because that’s where he first deployed on operations in Malaya against the Communist Terrorists (CT), and that’s the setting of Point of the Spea .
Hayward insists that this book is purely fiction. He’s just about right but I would call it “faction” because it’s a combination of fact and fiction. Point of the Spear is based on Corporal John Barr, a section commander in 10 Platoon, Delta Company of the1st Battalion The New Zealand Regiment, getting about and doing his soldierly business. And there is plenty of business for him and his mates to get involved in, especially when their target is Comrade Goh Chu, the Commander of the Perak State Regiment of the Malayan Races Liberation Army.
There are some great yarns as Barr and his team patrol around the Malayan jungle. Barr even manages to remove Goh Chu’s ear in a shooting skirmish that results in a very angry and unhappy CT who is then hell-bent on seeking revenge.
But then enters Patricia Marsters, daughter of Gerald and Alice Marsters. The Marsters were into rubber and their daughter fell in love with John Barr – and he with her. One-eared Goh Chu decides to target the Marsters as part of his revenge plot and whilst John Barr manages to rescue his damsel in distress – and her mother – and dispose of Goh Chu, it required the rest of Delta Coy plus other Battalion resources to flush out Goh Chu’s rebel group from what they thought was their impregnable jungle base camp.
There are only a couple of books written on New Zealand’s involvement in the Malayan Emergency. Despite Point of the Spear being fictional, it will provide the reader with an insight into the type of action our troops may have found themselves involved in during that campaign. As a bonus, one gets the side attraction of Patricia. A good yarn for the more mature audience.