The incredible story of Gyles Mackrell and his Burmese, elephant-assisted wartime rescue mission.
In the summer of 1942, Gyles Mackrell – a decorated First World War pilot and tea plantation overseer, performed a series of heroic rescues in the hellish jungles of Japanese-occupied Burma – with the aid of twenty elephants.
At the age of 53, Mackrell went into the ‘green hell’ of the Chaukan Pass on the border of North Burma and Assam. Here, Mackrell and a team of elephant riders rescued Indian army soldiers, British civilians and their Indian servants, from the pursuing Japanese, directing the elephants through jungle passes and raging rivers, and territory infested with sand flies, mosquitoes and innumerable leeches. Those he saved were all on the point of death from starvation or fever: that summer was spent in a fight against time.
Now in Andrew Martin’s hands this never-before-told tale of heroics is given the shape of a suspenseful adventure, a wartime rescue whose facts are the stuff of fiction. ‘Flight By Elephant’ is a gripping chronicle of war and survival, starring everyone’s favourite animal – the powerful, exotic and hugely loveable elephant.
HarperCollins Publishers; January 2014
- ISBN 9780007542369
- Read online, or download in secure EPUB format
- Title: Flight By Elephant: The Untold Story of World War II’s Most Daring Jungle Rescue
- Author: Andrew Martin
Imprint: Fourth Estate
In The Press
From the reviews of ‘Flight by Elephant’:
‘A delightful, true-life Boys’ Own adventure, brilliantly told with delicious, dry with by a writer in full command of his subject’ James Delingpole, Mail on Sunday
‘Andrew Martin's ‘Flight By Elephant’ is defiantly Boy's Own stuff … a great adventure’ Ben East, Observer
‘Martin’s book is spirited, readable account of a daring rescue straight out of a Boy’s Own adventure’ Financial Times
‘Flight by Elephant is at its best in the occasional flashes of scene-setting’ James Owen, Daily Telegraph
About The Author
Andrew Martin grew up in Yorkshire. After qualifying as a barrister, he won The Spectator Young Writer of the Year Award, 1988. Since, he has written for The Guardian, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Independent and Granta, among many other publications. His columns have appeared in the Independent on Sunday and the New Statesman. His Jim Stringer novels - railway thrillers - have been published by Faber and Faber since 2002.