The great brass bell across from the Assembly Hall on Pitcairn Island clanged gladly one sundown last fortnight. Through the dim light a ship had just been sighted, and the 200-odd hybrid descendants of H. M. S. Bounty's, mutineers rushed out on Adamstown's headland to strain eyes for their first visitor in over two months.

War had disrupted merchant shipping between New Zealand and South America, the infrequent calls of supply ships had ceased, essentials were running low. The works of Pitcairn's powerful short-wave radio station, VR6AY, had broken down, and parts...

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