The incredible story of the inspiring Australian woman who rescued hundreds of orphans at the end of the Vietnam War
By Ian W Shaw
Published by Hachette https://www.hachette.com.au
RRP $32.99 in paperback | ISBN 9780733642241
As the war in Vietnam edged ever closer to Saigon, a handful of dedicated and very determined Australian and American women were hatching a plan to evacuate scores of Vietnamese orphans.
Rosemary Taylor, an Australian voluntary aid worker, in concert with fellow Australian Margaret Moses, approached the Australian Embassy seeking assistance to fly 600 orphans out of Saigon to safety. These orphans were housed in charity nurseries run by nuns, ex-nuns and volunteers.
These rescue operations were not without danger as evidenced by the catastrophe which beset the first humanitarian mission.
On 4 April 1975 a USAF C-5A Galaxy cargo aircraft crashed soon after take off from Saigon killing 153 people, including 76 children. Unfortunately, Margaret Moses was among those killed.
Despite this tragedy, the evacuations continued.
Ian Shaw paints a vivid picture of the desperation of the nurses and volunteers as they battled to obtain exit visas and the necessary paperwork while the military situation imploded around them.
By the time Saigon fell, some 2900 children had been evacuated to America, 266 to Australia and 150 to the UK, with possibly the same number to other European countries.
Against the odds and amidst the panic and chaos of the final days, Operation Babylift succeeded.
My verdict: A truly inspirational story.