"Royal Navy and Maritime Book Reviews" PROVIDED BY - Rob Jerrard

Conway Maritime Press, Anova Books Reviewed in 2009


Warship 2009
Edition: 2009
Format: Hardback
Authors: Edited by John Jordan
ISBN: 978-1-84486 089 0
Publishers: Conway (Anova Books)
Price: £30
Publication Date: 2009
 

Publisher's Title Information
 
Warship is devoted to the design, development and service history of the world's combat ships. The contributors are respected authorities, so detailed and accurate information is the keynote of all the articles, which are fully supported by plans, tables and photographs.

Volume XXXI includes:
 
Fuelling The Victorian Steam Navy
 
In his first article for Warship, Bob Wilson writes about the painful transition of the Victorian Navy from sail to steam, and the immense logistical implications of coal-fuelled warships in a navy with worldwide commitments.
 
The Royal Navy And The Evolution Of The 'True Submarine', 1945-1963
 
In the second of his articles on the postwar Royal Navy, John Wise writes about the project to develop a 'true submarine' using the air-independent, 'closed-cycle' propulsion plant devised by the German engineer Hellmuth Walter.
 
Italian Fast Coastal Forces: Development, Doctrine & Campaigns 1934-1986
 
Part II of the article on the Italian MAS boats by Vincent O'Hara, Enrico Cernuschi and Erminio Bagnasco covers the development period prior to the Second World War and the activities of the boats during the conflict itself.
 
Monarch And Captain
 
Colin Jones looks at the origins of the 'turret ship', and provides a comparison of the technical and seagoing characteristics of the Victorian Navy's Monarch and Captain.
 
The Training Ship Jadran
 
Zvonimir Freivogel's article outlines the chequered history of the Training Ship Jadran, ordered from a German shipyard in 1930 for the newly-formed Royal Yugoslav Navy.
 
Ise And Hyuga: The Ijn's Hybrid Battleship-Carriers
 
Hans Lengerer writes about the 'war emergency' conversion of the battleships Ise and Hyuga to enable them to operate catapult-launched strike aircraft, thereby supplementing those aboard the few remaining IJN carriers following the disastrous losses at the battle of Midway.
 
The Soviet Light Cruisers Of The Kirov Class
 
Richard Worth and Vladimir Yakubov follow last year's article on the Soviet Project 7/7U destroyers with a similar piece on the contemporary cruisers of the Kirov class, which like their destroyer counterparts were inspired by Italian designs.
 
A Shipyard At War: John Brown & Co. Ltd, Clydebank, 1914-1918
 
In his first article for Warship, Ian Johnston delves into the archives of the famous John Brown Shipyard for an account of the construction of the battlecruiser Repulse, completed in just over 17 months during 1915-16.
 
Mutsu: An Exploration Of The Circumstances Surrounding Her Loss
 
Mike Williams investigates the loss of the IJN battleship Mutsu, making extensive use of official reports, eyewitness accounts and other Japanese sources. The author paints a fascinating picture of a navy in which 'saving face' far outweighed the requirement for a proper and thorough investigation, and which could be ruthlessly autocratic and secretive in its procedures.
 
Weather And Warship Casualties 1943-1944
 
In his last published article for Warship, David K. Brown investigates the cases of nine modern destroyers lost in heavy weather.
 
Warship Notes
 
Short articles on interesting aspects of worldwide warship history, heritage and research, including transom flaps, Spanish coast defence artillery, and the recently-discovered hull of the Australian cruiser Sydney.
 
Naval Books Of The Year
 
Reviews of some of the latest publications on naval history.
 
Warship Gallery
 
Assistant Editor Stephen Dent introduces the previously unpublished photographs of Bert Purches, a young Bristolian who served in the Royal Naval Patrol Service between 1942 and 1946, giving an insight into one of the little-known and less glamorous aspects of maritime operations during the Second World War.


The Marine Art of Geoff Hunt
Edition: Paperback 2008
Illustration note:140 illustrations
Foreword by Julian Stockwin
Introduction by David Cordingly
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781844860807
Publishers: Conway Maritime
Price: £16.99
Publication Date: 2008
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Geoff Hunt RSMA is known to millions of readers across the world as the artist responsible for the covers of Patrick O'Brian's novels featuring Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the leading marine artists of his generation and his paintings of square-riggers, sea battles and naval operations, as well as deck and port scenes, truly evoke the era of Nelson's navy as well as the emergence of the Continental navy in America.
Written by the artist himself, this book presents over 150 paintings and drawings for the first time in a beautifully produced single volume. Geoff's prolific career, his painting techniques and artistic influences are outlined in an illuminating introduction. This is followed by a series of Case Studies, where the artist explains the initial inspiration, the exploration of source material and the sometimes lengthy progression, through notes and sketches, that leads to the creation of a finished painting.
 
The major part of the book is dedicated to a plate section focusing on four distinct themes exhibited in Geoff's output namely: Nelson's Navy, The American Revolution and the War of 1812, Illustrating the Naval Writers, and The Modern Maritime Scene. Many of the paintings portray a particular historical moment, and descriptive captions explain the narrative as well as highlighting technical and compositional details.
 
The Marine Art of Geoff Hunt not only showcases the quality of Geoff's work - the masterfully accurate depictions of powerful and graceful ships in settings infused with life and movement - but provides remarkable insight into the meticulous preparation and execution of his paintings. Further commentary is provided by historian David Cordingly, who sets Geoff's work in context, and naval fiction writer Julian Stockwin, for whose successful series of 'Kydd' novels Geoff has created cover illustrations.
 
The Author

 
Geoff Hunt is currently Vice President of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. His paintings are to be found in museum collections in the UK and USA and in private collections world-wide. He currently exhibits with the Mall Galleries, London and Mystic Marine Gallery, Connecticut. His studio is on the site of Admiral's Nelson's home in Merton Place, Wimbledon.


The Frigate Surprise
The Complete Story of the ship made famous in the novels of Patrick O'Brian
Edition: 1st
Format: Cloth Bound with Jacket
Author: Brian Lavery & Geoff Hunt
ISBN: 9-781-8448-6074-6
Publishers: Conway Maritime
Price: £30
Publication Date: 2009-05-05
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

There is no more famous a vessel in naval fiction than HMS Surprise, the principal ship in Patrick O'Brian's much-celebrated Aubrey-Maturin series of sea stories. Yet, this 28-gun frigate also had a most eventful true historical career serving in both the French and then Royal navies and which included capture by the Inconstant in 1796 the much celebrated cutting-out action on the mutinous crew of HMS Hermione. Surprise was decomissioned in 1802 and delivered into the fictional captaincy of Jack Aubrey.
 
This sumptuous new volume, written by acclaimed naval historian Brian Lavery, not only reveals the complete career history and commentary of HMS Surprise in both its guises, but also presents an all-embracing construction and fitting history of the Fifth Rate including some 30 line drawings as well as historical artworks and detailed photographs. The book is presented in full colour throughout and additionally includes a series of specially-commissioned sketches and some 30 paintings by co-author Geoff Hunt RSMA, the acclaimed artist of the Patrick O'Brian cover artworks and related prints. Geoff Hunt also contributes a most illuminating chapter on his experiences in, and challenges faced, when illustrating this ship. The detailed line and isometric plans are being drawn by prolific marine draughtsman Karl Heinz Marquardt.

These are photographs of a much more modern Frigate HMS Surprise, (taken between 1956 to early 1958) 1 In Grand Harbour Malta, 2 Floodlit in Toulon, 3 Looking after RFA Tiderace. Photographs supplied by Eric Bonell

HMS SURPRISE (K436, F436)

BAY Class Anti-Aircraft Frigate initially ordered from Smiths Dock Co Ltd at Middlesbrough on 25th January 1943 to be build as a LOCH Class Anti-submarine Frigate to be named Loch Carron. This was changed in 1944 for completion as a BAY Class AA Frigate. Laid down on 21st April 1944 she was launched as GERRANS BAY on 14th March 1945. However, after the end of hostilities in 1945, it was announced that the ship would be completed for use as a Despatch Vessel by the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet and renamed HMS SURPRISE. Fourteen RN ships had previously borne the name.


Review

This is an absolutely superb book and I cannot praise it enough. If the paintings were not enough, the real story of HMS Surprise adds such a full dimension as to absorb any Naval enthusiast for months.
 
Patrick O'Brien makes the Surprise into an adventure story, but here Brian Lavery and Geoff Hunt bring it to life and tell us its real story, which began in France and ended in real life on 25 February 1802, when she was almost certainly broken up. However as the book says she lived on to enjoy a unique afterlife in a very different medium.
 
Chapter 1 tells how L'unité joins the Royal Navy when she was captured by HMS Inconstant (HMS Inconstant was broken up at Portsmouth in November 1817 ) with very little resistance: after that her fate rested in the hands of Admiral Sir John Jervis, the C in C of the Mediterranean Fleet.
 
Thereafter until Chapter 8 we read of her life under the Royal Navy. Your reading may be distracted, if like me you are fascinated by the extremely detailed paintings. Chapter 9 concentrates on Jack Aubrey's Surprise and in Chapter 10 Geoff Hunt tells us how he constructed a picture of Surprise - Aubrey's Surprise is not exactly the same thing as the Royal Navy Surprise. As he says a copy of this book would have helped him in those early days. Page 6 explains the cover painting. Appendix 1 is a very full chronology with Appendix 2 being crew list for October 1799, when she was under the command of Edward Hamilton, possibly her most famous Captain. This makes interesting reading as we find one Midshipman was a pressed man as were two PO's. She carried 7 Boys 3rd Class, being 2nd was bad enough, but 3rd? Most of her Landsmen were pressed.
 
You will not need to be pressed into reading this book, as books go this is a bargain at £30 and I am sure you will spend many a pleasant hour looking at the paintings.
 
Those of us of a certain age will of course remember another ship called HMS Surprise. HMS Surprise was a Frigate, ex-Loch Carron ex-Gerrans Bay, converted in 1946 to a despatch vessel and C in C's Yacht on foreign station. Surprise was also converted to a temporary Royal Yacht in June 1953 when her twin 4” gun was replaced by a glassed-in saluting platform.
 
Rob Jerrard

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"Royal Navy & Maritime Book Reviews" Copyright Rob Jerrard 2009