A Smile for Micky
Date: 14th October 2022
To: Guy Metcalfe-Hume
A Smile for Micky describes a tragic event that took place in 1943 during the Second World War.
A Smile for Micky originated through collaboration between the writer, Desmond Howard Jackson, an Australian, and the artist, Jack Bridger Chalker, from Britain. They sought to honour the memory of the hero, Micky Hallam. What happened to Micky was so appalling that these two men could never forget.
All three were Prisoners-of-War of the Japanese, building the infamous Thai-Burma Railway through the jungle of western Thailand.
After serving in the Middle East, Desmond Jackson (10 March 1920 – 30 November 2008) became a POW of the Japanese in Java on 9 March 1942, one day before his 22nd birthday. He was transferred to Thailand to work on the Railway. After the war he embarked on a long and successful legal career.
Jack Chalker (10 October 1918 – 15 November 2014) became a POW after the fall of Singapore in 1942, aged 23. He is renowned for risking his own life by recording the lives and circumstances of the allied prisoners. Later, he excelled in along career as an artist and teacher.
Stanley Raymond (Micky) Hallam enlisted with Desmond in 1940 in Tasmania,Australia. He also became a POW. Micky was cruelly beaten by his Japanese captors and never returned to his home country. He died on 26th June 1943 from his injuries.
Described in the forward by Cameron Forbes, this book is a requiem to Micky.
It is not surprising that the same incident is described in the Booker Prize winning novel The Narrow Road to the North by Richard Flanagan, first published in Australia in 2013, because Richard Flanagan was hearing the same stories as the Jackson family. His father and Desmond Jackson were life-long friends.They met before the war and spent the war together, including the years on the Thai-Burma Railway. After the war they both attended every returned services reunion until they died. Although A Smile for Micky was not published until 2015, Desmond Jackson had died seven years before. So, there is some historical and literary interest in reading both accounts, written independently of each other.
In depicting this shocking war crime, A Smile for Micky is a book that should be read and reread so that this history is not repeated.
This is why we are pleased to offer the book as a donation to COFEPOW.
From Desmond Jackson’s daughters.
Prudence H Power
Elizabeth H Jackson