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December 31 , 2010

Dead Reckoning


The dramatic story of the sinking of the Dunedin Star

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November 9th, 1942. Amid the cloaking gloom of the Liverpool docks lay the Dunedin Star. A ship of the Blue Star Line, she was bound for the Middle East, her consignment of munitions for the 8th Army supplemented by twenty-one fare-paying civilians escaping the Blitz for the colonies, all forced to take the long haul round the Cape.

As an unescorted merchantman sailing U-boat infested waters, Dunedin Star's passage was, at best, a risky undertaking. But her eventual fate was to defy all expectation. Three weeks into her voyage, her hull mysteriously holed, Dunedin Star ran aground off Namibia's infamous Skeleton Coast - five hundred miles of raging surf and burning desert, the most violent and desolate shore on earth. Sixty-three men, women and children were to defy mountainous waves and unfathomable odds to reach land . . . but their struggle for survival had only just begun.

From interviews with survivors, eyewitness testimony, historical resources and personal journals, Dawson skilfully reconstructs the Dunedin Star's doomed voyage, the terror of the wilderness and the painstaking rescue missions. From the grim waters of the North Atlantic to the blistering African wastes, he narrates a classic tale of pluck, set against the backdrop of World War II.

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