The gripping true story of a Dunstable woman’s fight for survival in the Malayan jungle has come to life once again, telling a forgotten tale of heroism during World War Two.
‘Pai Naa’ is a thrilling first person account of Nona Baker’s journey to Asia to look after her big brother, Vin, as she leaves her small Bedfordshire hometown behind.
The siblings live a life of luxury as her brother oversees a Malayan mining town - but with the outbreak of war and the threat of Japanese invasion, Vin and Nona are forced to take drastic action...
A spokeswoman for publisher, Monsoon Books, said: “Nona Baker was the youngest of nine children, born to the rector of Dunstable.
“In the 1930s she sailed to Malaya to join her eldest brother, Vin Baker, the ‘tuan besar’ or general manager of the world’s largest tin mine.
“When the Japanese army invaded Malaya, she hid out in the Malayan jungle with the Chinese communist guerillas and survived the war.”
Nona admits when she first travelled to Malaya she “had little idea” what she was in for - and she was certainly right!
Fondly named ‘Pai Naa’ (White Nona) by the locals, she and Vin spend three long years hiding in the jungle, as friends risk life and limb to bring them supplies, while Vin’s health deteriorates.
After circumstances determine they have no choice but to join a group of Chinese communists, Nona cuts her hair short and works alongside the men, under constant threat of discovery by the Japanese - and certain death!
Nona recounts her tale helped by authors Dorothy Thatcher and Robert Cross.
‘Pai Naa’ was first published in 1959 by Constable and Company Ltd and was recently republished by Monsoon Books Ltd.