"ROYAL NAVY & MARITIME BOOK REVIEWS" Provided by Rob Jerrard

Matador Books (Troubador) 2010
All books for review to Rob Jerrard Please


An Intrepid Woman
Edition: First
Format: Paperback
Author: Patrick M R Gibson
ISBN: 9781848761322
Publishers: Troubador Publishing Ltd/Matador
Price: £9.99
Publication Date: 2009
 

This book was written by Patrick MR Gibson and is based on the memoirs of Dorothy McLorn nee Raitt, who was born in St Petersburg in 1900. The Introduction gives a detailed family history and information about St Petersburg at that time and her idyllic and privileged childhood. In 1909, due to her Father's change of employment they had to make a long and arduous journey of 6,250, mostly by horse-drawn transport to a small town on the Caspian Sea.
 
There followed a number of further moves in Russia with of particular interest their time in the Ural Mountains, in the vicinity of Ekaterinberg at the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917/1918 and the murders of Tsar Nicholas II and his family and the subsequent political upheaval.
 
She later worked with her Father in Vladivostok for a Russian/American firm, until another move to Manchuria in China.
 
In 1926, after a whirlwind romance Dorothy married John McLorn an Irish immigrant, who worked for the Chinese Postal Service. After the honeymoon the couple set off to his new posting to Urumqi in Chinese Turkestan, a journey of approximately 3,500 miles, which took over two months, again through heavy snow and hazardous conditions.
 
Family life continued with the arrival of three children and a further move to Shanghai just before Japan declared war on China and then were involved in WWII.
 
Almost three years of Internment followed in two camps. The hardships suffered by the inmates is described fully and their eventual salvation in August 1945 by the arrival of the US Army.
 
They then settled in Ontario, Canada John dying in 1959 and Dorothy in 1990.
 
This is an interesting and informative book about Colonial life in the first half of the twentieth century ideal for students or those wishing to learn about this period of history.
 
Rosemary Jerrard



Jack the Lad RN, The collected drivel, doodles and ditties of a dedicated dabtoe
Introduction by Admiral Sir James Eberle
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Ted Macey and Merry Swan
ISBN: 9781848761896
Publishers: Matador
Price: £10.99
Publication Date: 30 November 2009
 
Publisher's Information:

After Ted Macey's death in 1982, his daughter Merry Swan decided to compile this fascinating book from her father's manuscript. She has added 13 short stories to the collection, based on events her father experienced.
 
Jack the Lad RN is a matelot's wit set in verse, odes and prose, with over 140 cartoons. This is an open illustration of the true spirit in the Royal Navy and beyond, never waning through ranks or years.
 
In Ted Macey's works you will discover humour and humility behind the history; making the best of a childhood despite being put in an orphanage, seeing the lighter side of life during WW2 despite being torpedoed and bombed, enjoying the dizzy heights of Physical Training Officer despite the looming prospect of being taken off the Active List and finally settling down to some schoolwork again despite being a teacher - an ordinary man with an ordinary life?
 
So here is a Royal Navy man's light-hearted lifetime collection of reminiscences; set in poetry, prose and cartoons -1919 to 1982.

About Merry Swan
 
When I was a teenager my father told me he was 'writing a book'. I took no notice - it was based on his younger life. His 'young life' however, turns out to have been much enriched.
My work background started lazily. There was clerical work, sales representation and a customer and administration manager. Later on in my life I moved on to self-employment running a caravan park. I then decided to study. Having gained a Bachelor of Nursing degree I entered critical care nursing.
 
I have raised two daughters. One who graduated from Oxford University having studied mathematics, the other who graduated from the University of Durham with a degree in Russian and German. We all graduated within three years of each other. My current husband was a fire fighter but is medically retired now. Although I originate from Suffolk, we moved up to Scotland in 1997 to be nearer my then recently widowed father-in-law. I enjoy gardening, walking and reading and enjoyed singing in an amateur dramatic group.
 
I am a highly motivated individual with determination and maturity in all I achieve. With a positive and proactive outlook on life, I am now continuing to write Jack the Lad RN onto the screen. I see 'Jack' as a reluctant hero who tries to be responsible, prove himself worthy and do his duty. He is also a cheeky rule-breaker. The central character does not believe he has any special talents but always lives in hope.
 
Lt Ted Macey RN (retired) was a man of sincerity, passion and humour. The Royal Navy had been his life. Twenty seven years after his death and a mountain of research later, I now understand more about my father. I had really been listening to many of his stories!
 
The youngest of Ted's four children, I grew up in a post-Royal Navy era of family life and only knew his civilian world as a teacher.
 
Jack the Lad RN is a matelot's wit set in verse, odes and prose, with over 140 cartoons. This is an open illustration of the true spirit in the Royal Navy and beyond, never waning through ranks or years. In my father's works you will discover humour and humility behind the history; making the best of a childhood despite being put in an orphanage, seeing the lighter side of life during WW2 despite being torpedoed and bombed, enjoying the dizzy heights of Physical Training Officer despite the looming prospect of being taken off the Active List and finally, settling down to some schoolwork again despite being a teacher.
 
After Dad's death a memento I lay claim to was 'the manuscript' he had been working on. The 13 short stories are based on events my father experienced - his encounters he had written down or passed on by word-of-mouth. As I began researching timelines for these I saw a fragment of what he may have been going through when he sacrificed so much for us - an ordinary man with an ordinary life? You decide …
 
So here is a Royal Navy man's light-hearted lifetime collection of reminiscences; set in poetry, prose and cartoons - 1919 to 1982. An introduction has kindly been given by Admiral Sir James Eberle GCB LLD RN.
 
This is for all you Royal Navy physical training instructors, armed forces PTIs, cartoonists, modern historians, poets, any RN personnel and anyone with WW2 interests.
 

Reviews
 
"It will make a most welcome addition to His Royal Highness's Library"
Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davis KCVO CBE, Private Secretary to HRH Prince of Edinburgh
 
"shines a whimsical light on naval life"
Cossack Chronicle (HMS Cossack Association)
 
"A cracking read"
Cdr Bug Wrightson RN, Commanding Officer HMS Temeraire
 

A Special Word about HMS Cossack
 
While compiling this book, I was also researching and checking dates. I realised three of the stories referred to a time he had spent on HMS Cossack. My Dad must have been very proud to be associated with a ship of such high distinction, yet was probably just pleased to survive the ardour of war and live life another day - the modesty of a true naval man.
 
As a result of more exploration and discovery of the HMS Cossack Association, I am compelled to mention the association's warm and special 'ship's company' - a great credit to the HMS Cossacks and the Royal Navy. The stories written in my father's own words may be found in HMS Cossack Association's archives. So this is in remembrance of her, her crews and their durability, expressing the courage and endurance of ALL men associated with her name.
 
Battle Honours
 
Baltic 1835
Dover Patrol 1914 -1919
Narvik 1940
Norway 1940
Atlantic 1940 - 1941
Bismarck Action 1941
Malta Convoys 1941
 
Pennant numbers LO3, FO3, GO3 from 1938 - 1941; credited with “The Altmark Incident”, “The Navy's Here”, “Vian of the Cossack”, “The Daily Mirror Ship” and her sister ship HMS Afridi.
 

About Help for Heroes
 
Help for Heroes was launched in October 2007 out of a desire to help the wounded members of the Armed Forces coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. H4H believes that anyone who volunteers to serve in time of war, knowing that they may risk all, is a hero. Help for Heroes is very simple; strictly non political, they accept that wars happen under any government and are not critical; they simply want to help.
 
To date H4H has raised over £23 million to support our service personnel. They have allocated the first £8 million to the task of helping to provide the new swimming pool and gym complex at DMRC Headley Court. Grants have also been made to Troop Aid, Battle Back, SSAFA and Combat Stress.
 
H4H's latest venture will be helping to fund the Pathfinder project for an Army Convalescent Centre in Edinburgh. H4H, working with the Army and Service Charity Erskine, will be creating a house for 12 Solders to live while they begin to launch back into their lives after sustaining injuries. The intention is that once the concept has been proven successful, there will be up to 7 other such houses established, with H4H's funding, around the country.
 
For each copy sold, a donation will be made to the Help for Heroes charity.