"Royal Navy and Maritime Book Reviews" - Provided by Rob Jerrard
The History Press, Books Reviewed in 2012

Singapore 1942
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Chris Brown
ISBN: 9780752479569
Publishers: The History Press
Price: £8.99
Publication Date: 15th Sept 2012

Publisher's title information
The Fall of Singapore remains a crushing defeat that sent shockwaves around the British Empire during the Second World War. Singapore had always been seen as an impenetrable fortress that would protect the British Empire's stake in the Far East - a legacy of the great days of global dominion. The British Army were aware of the threat to Singapore and Malaya from the first days after Pearl Harbor, but they viewed the Japanese Army as an inferior fighting force, incapable of standing up to the defences and trained troops of the British.

Yet, in December 1941 the Japanese launched a swift attack on the Singapore airfields, nearly wiping out the entire fleet of RAF frontline aeroplanes. On 10 December the Japanese also destroyed two of the Royal Navy's premier battleships off the Malay coast. Suddenly, the fate of Singapore rested solely in the hands of the Army.

Despite having 90,000 British soldiers posted in Singapore they were quickly overwhelmed by the speed and ferocity of the invading Japanese forces, numbering 75,000 men. The brutality of the Japanese tactics and their sheer ferocity shocked the British and they were soon forced to retreat. By January/February 1942 the British last stand melted away and the Japanese swept into the city, slaughtering those who stood in their way. Over 100,000 men were taken prisoner and many thousands (possibly up to 50,000) residents of the city were massacred. To understand what happened and why read Battle Story.

The Author

CHRIS BROWN holds a PhD in medieval military history from the University of St Andrews. He has designed and delivered numerous histories and war studies courses for the OLL department at Edinburgh University. He has travelled extensively through Asia, Europe, the United States and North Africa studying battlefields from the middle ages to the 1960s. He has written numerous articles magazine and newspaper articles and given conference papers on a variety of historical and defence issues and has contributed to several television and radio programmes. He grew up in Singapore and his experiences of the city has given him a fantastic insight into the history of the battle. He lives in Shetland.

More Details of "Singapore 1942" on the History Press Website
During a 12 year period of my life Singapore seemed at times a second home, because like so many serving in the Royal Navy we often there. If you lived in the naval barracks you would have been aware that it has served other purposes in the past. When we land at Singapore Airport we wonder; was this really that same spot we took off from in 1964? A well written and illustrated book to bring back memories and to explain what happened when it all changed for those present in 1942; and of course the legacy

Bound for Australia: A Guide to the Records of Transported Convicts and Early Settlers
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: David T. Hawkings
ISBN: 9780752460185
Publishers: The History Press
Price: £20 RRP
Publication Date: 15th August 2012


May 2012 marks the 225th anniversary of the sailing of the eleven vessels of the First Fleet from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, bound for Australia to establish an English colony. A settlement was established at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. Over the next fifty-two years nearly 80,000 British and Irish convicts were transported to New South Wales, and a similar number to Van Diemen's Land between 1803 and 1853, when this colony became known as Tasmania. From 1850 to 1868, some 9,800 followed to Western Australia. In addition to those transported, hundreds of thousands of free persons emigrated from Britain and Ireland to New South Wales and the other colonies in Australia, particularly from the 1830s onwards.

In 1987, David Hawkings' first publication of Bound for Australia was well received. Now an entirely new work is presented in twenty chapters, together with a bibliography and index. Hawkings' provides some excellent examples relating to convict trials, drawn from the Old Bailey proceedings, together with various listings found in War Office and Colonial Office documents in The National Archives at Kew, London, relating to convicts and their guards. Useful data on the military and the police, not previously published, is also included. This work is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of transportation to Australia.
There are eight new chapters Chapter 1. The First Fleet to New South Wales; Chapter 3. Forgers of Banknotes and Coins; Chapter 7. Convicts Transported from Canada to Van Diemen's Land; Chapter 10. Guards on Convict Transportation Ships, the New South Wales Corps and Other Army Regiments in New South Wales; Chapter 11. Military Convicts at Robben Island; Chapter 16. Norfolk Island; Chapter 17. Police in New South Wales; Chapter 20. Hatton Collection all of which provide invaluable data, in addition to the revision of the other chapters of this important reference work.


I have read this historical study with appreciation of the author's in-depth research. It is a valuable addition to Australian historical and genealogical publications, competently introduced, well set out and thoroughly indexed.

Keith A. Johnson„ AM, FRANS,. rsc, FSAG
Vice Patron, Society of Australian Genealogists
Past President (and Councillor, 1969-2009)

More Details of "Bound for Australia" on the History Press Website

Portsmouth's World War Two Heroes: Stories of the Fallen Men and Women
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: James Daly
ISBN: 9780752463513
Publishers: History Press
Price: RRP £12.99
Publication Date: 2012

Publisher's Title Information


As a Portsmouth boy I found this book packed with interesting facts about the City where much of my life has been centred. Like the author I too have relatives that were killed in War, in my case one in each of the conflicts. This book deals with; inter alia, the loss of HMS Barham. My Uncle was lost with the sinking, see http://www.rjerrard.co.uk/royalnavy/barham/barham.htm. This was 25th November 1941. Ron is recorded on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common along with 14,895 others.

I also lost a great Uncle at the Battle of Passchendaele, or Third Battle of Ypres, on 31st July 1917. See http://www.rjerrard.co.uk/family/gjerrard.htm. George died on the first day of the battle. George married Florence Kathleen Buckingham on 7/11/1915 in Baptist Chapel, Kent street, Hampshire. They had one child Kathleen Jerrard in 1916. After the War like so many young women she married again. "Jerrard G. Private 14th Hampshire Regiment. Volunteering in 1915, he was sent the following April (1916) to the Western front, and fought in the battle of the Somme, he was wounded. On recovery he returned to the fighting area and unhappily was killed in the action at St. Julian on 31st July 1917. He was entitled to the General Service Medal and Victory Medal.

The book makes mention of the Helen Duncan case and the fact that she claimed to know that Barham had been sank before it became public. The fact is the families were told and my mother told me, “It was all over Portsmouth” How could you keep such a thing a secret.

Chapter 3 is dedicated to Portsmouth Boy Sailors. It is likely there would be plenty of them. I myself volunteered at Portsmouth and at 15 trained in HMS ST Vincent at Gosport. It may not be generally known that Boys went to sea age 16 in both World Wars, indeed in all Wars; boys were at Korea and all other conflicts. In the years September 1939 to September 1945, 534 Boys were killed in action and 24 died of other causes. There is now a memorial at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral in Old Portsmouth. I recall that over thirty boys were lost with Barham.

This is a good record of some of the stories of Portsmouth men and women.

Rob Jerrard

More Details of "Portsmouth's World War Two Heroes: Stories of the Fallen Men and Women" on the History Press Website