Odd Man Out – Peter Elphick (1993) (1st ed)


Odd Man Out – Peter Elphick (1993) (1st ed)


The story of Patrick Stanley Vaughan Heenan, who was convicted of treason from spying for Japan in order to compromise Malaya and Singapore.

Title: Odd Man Out: The Story of the Singapore Traitor

Author: Peter Elphick, Michael Smith

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1993. First edition.

Condition: Hardcover, with dust jacket. Good. Some foxing to top edge. Else clean, with tight binding. Black-and-white photographs. 265pp., 9″x6″.

From jacket flap:

The fall of Singapore to the Japanese in February 1942 was a landmark in modern Asian history; it was also one of the lowest points in British fortunes in the Second World War.

Odd Man Out tells the story of a spy in the British forces in Malaya, an officer, whose treacherous activities played a significant part in the Japanese victory. Although the Japanese would still have taken Malaya without his assistance, the information he provided, particularly about aircraft movements, helped their two-month Blitzkrieg immeasurably.

Because of the chaos and disorganisation of the time, and an official blackout in the affair for reasons of morale, there are no government files surviving. However, the narrative builds up, through diligent research and help from contemporaries, a fascinating account which extends back to the spy’s birth in New Zealand and his none-too-easy schooldays in England. He then worked for a well-established London firm before obtaining a Supplementary Reserve commission which led to his joining an Indian Army regiment, to action on the North-West Frontier, and, in 1940, to a posting in Malaya.

The authors relate a crucial ‘long leave’ he spent in Japan, in late 1938 and early 1939; and they describe in detective-story style detail the spy’s final days – his uncovering, his imprisonment, his court-martial and his death – all, of course, in the turmoil of Singapore’s fall, from where extraordinary tales emerge of demoralisation and desertion among Australian units, controversial even to this day