All Imaginable Excuses: Australian Deserters and the Fall of Singapore. The fall of Singapore in February 1942 is a defining moment in both British and Australian history. Popular nationalist accounts in Australia emphasize Churchill’s ‘betrayal’. Australians increasingly see Singapore’s surrender as marking-in the words of Prime Minister John Curtin at the time-as the start of a ‘battle for Australia’. The fiftieth anniversary of the surrender saw a controversy over claims that many Australian soldiers had deserted before the surrender. What is the substance of these claims? What is their significance for Australia’s sense of national identity and its relationship with Britain? Peter Stanley is Principal Historian at the Australian War Memorial (Australia’s national military museum) where he has worked since 1980. He has published 18 books including Quinn’s Post, Anzac, Gallipoli, Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy, White Mutiny, and For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790-1850. His forthcoming book, 1942: Battle for Australia? will be published by Penguin.