"Royal Navy & Maritime Book Reviews" Provided by Rob Jerrard

Pen & Sword Books & DVD's Reviewed in 2015

HMS Cavalier: Destroyer 1944 (Paperback)
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author:
ISBN: 9781848322264
Publishers: (Pen & Sword)
Price: £14.99
Publication Date: 15th July 2015

Publisher's Title Information

HMS Cavalier is a 'C'-Class destroyer, one of 96 War Emergency Programme destroyers that were ordered between 1940 and 1942. She saw action on convoy duty off Russia, and later, in 1945, was sent to the Far East where she provided naval gunfire support during the battle of Surabaya. She continued with the British Pacific Fleet until May 1946. Now designated as a war memorial to the 142 RN destroyers and 11,000 men lost during WWII, she is on display at Chatham Historic Dockyard.
As is the case for many museum ships there is a surprising shortage of informative and well illustrated guides, for reference during a visit or for research by enthusiasts - ship modellers, naval buffs, historians or students. This book, in the Seaforth Historic Ship series, redresses the gap.
Containing more than 200 specially commissioned photographs, the book takes the reader on a superbly illustrated tour of the ship, from bow to stern and deck by deck. Significant parts of the vessel - for example, the gun turrets and engine rooms - are given detailed coverage both in words and pictures, so that the reader has at hand the most complete visual record and explanation of the ship that exists. In addition, the importance of the ship, both in her own time and now as a museum vessel, is explained. No other book offers such superb visual impact nor brings the ship so vividly to life.

Reviews to date

HMS Cavalier is the only surviving example of the War Emergency Destroyers built for the Royal Navy during WW2, being completed right at the end of the war. Going through a life mixed with being laid up and then re-commissioned, she was finally withdrawn from service in 1972. Initially preserved as a museum ship on the Tyne, that first attempt to save her was eventually unsuccessful and she was finally brought down to the Historic Dockyard at Chatham where she has been restored to a fine condition and is on display to the public as a museum ship, the only one of her kind left from WW2. In this she sits as a memorial to all those who served in RN Destroyers during WW2.
 
The book gives the history of the ship and the various stages of her life story, including some background information on the dockyard at Chatham where she now lives. To accompany this though, and filling the majority of the book, is an excellent collection of colour photos showing the ship in detail, both inside and out. While some of the equipment on board is post-war (such as Seacat missiles) much of it is still very much as she would have been to those men who served in them during the war. Plenty of detailed photos showing all the elements for the hull and superstructure while inside we see crew accommodation, the smart wardroom for the officers, the control room, ammunition storage and shell hoists along with much more. If you visit the ship this will be a great reminder of your trip, and if you haven't, then it may well encourage you to go and pay the museum a visit. For modellers it is packed with super visual references for detail of the various fittings as well as the mix of colours to be found on what you might have considered to be just a plain grey ship. There is detail of the open bridge, the Squid anti-submarine weapon, the main armament along with the 40mm Bofors AA guns. All the photos are well captioned with lots of additional information that is of interest.
 
A fine reminder of this last of the Royal Navy wartime destroyers, and it is following in wake of the success of HMS Belfast being open as a museum ship in the heart of London. Well done to the trust for looking after her as she is today and keeping her legacy alive.

Military Modelling Online

Review

Having served in one of the old Destroyers (HMS Aisne, a battle Class, see http://www.rjerrard.co.uk/royalnavy/aisne/aisne.htm) I am glad they were able to save one. I am sure we would have wanted it to be our ship that was saved, however Aisne went in 1970; she Paid off August 1968. Left Portsmouth for T W Wards, Inverkeithing, arriving 26th June 1970 to be broken up. The usual sad end. The book will never explain to others what it was like at sea in one of these old types, but the good think is that this book will stir the memories, the photos bring is all to life, this book will appeal to ex-destroyer men I am sure.

Rob Jerrard RN 1956-1968, Destroyer Man (washdeck type) 1965/66


The Raid on Zeebrugge
23 April 1918, As Seen Through the Eyes of Captain Alfred Carpenter, VC
WWI Naval 1918 Great War at Sea
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Carl Decaluwe, & Tomas Termote
ISBN: 9781473854314
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £25
Publication Date: 5th May 2015

Publisher's Title Information

This book is the fruit of the chance discovery of a series of photographic plates belonging to Alfred Carpenter, who commanded the lead ship, HMS Vindictive, during the raid. These pictures provide us with a unique insight into this daring naval operation, which was to result in the most Victoria crosses ever being awarded for a single action. The plates were used by Captain Carpenter to illustrate a lecture tour of the United States and Canada after the war.
 
Winston Churchill called the raid on Zeebrugge 'the finest feat of arms of the Great War'. This brief, but bloody, action resulted in the highest number of Victoria Crosses ever awarded for a single action. Approximately one thousand officers and men of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines stormed the most heavily defended U-Boat base in Occupied Europe. German submarines based in Zeebrugge were responsible for a third of all allied shipping losses.
 
During the Passchendaele offensive of 1917, the Allies attempted to capture these U-boat bases by means of a land-based attack. The failure of the Battle of Passchendaele made it clear that a naval assault was the only solution. As a result, on 23 April 1918, a small force of fighting vessels, towing three blockships, set out across the North Sea...

See Also
The Zeebrugge Raid (Hardback)
By Philip Warner
On 23 April 1918 a force drawn from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines launched one of the most daring raids in history. The aim was to block the Zeebrugge Canal, thereby denying U-boat access, although this meant assaulting a powerfully fortified German naval base. The raid has long been recognised for its audacity and ingenuity but, owing to the fact that the official history took overmuch notice of the German version of events, has been considered only a partial success. The error of that view is now exposed…


Nelson's Victory - 250 Years of War and Peace
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Brian Lavery
ISBN: 9781848322325
Publishers: SEAFORTH
Price: RRP £30
Publication Date: 16th March 2015

Publisher's Title Information

May 2015 sees the 250th anniversary of the launch of HMS Victory, the ship that is so closely associated with Nelson and his great victory at Trafalgar and which, still extant, has today become the embodiment of the great Age of Sail.

Many books have been written about Victory but none like this, which tells the full story of the ship since she first took to the waters in May 1765. It contains many surprises - that she was almost wrecked on her launch; that diplomacy conducted onboard her played a crucial role in provoking Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812; and that in 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm set the First World War in motion at a desk made from her timbers. The book also tells the story of Horatio Nelson, who was born a few weeks before his most famous ship was ordered, and whose career paralleled hers in many ways. It does not ignore the battle of Trafalgar, and indeed it offers new insights into the campaign which led up to it. But it says much more about the other lives of the ship, which at different times was a flagship, a fighting ship, a prison hospital ship, a training ship for officers and boys, a floating courtroom, a signal school in the early days of radio, tourist attraction and national icon. It looks at her through many eyes, including Queen Victoria, admirals, midshipmen and ordinary seamen, and Beatrix Potter who visited as a girl. It is simply a 'must-have' work for historians and enthusiasts, and a compelling new narrative for the general reader.

The Author

Brian Lavery has written 26 book on maritime history, 'Assault Landing Craft' is his first title for Seaforth Publishing. Brian is Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum and is on the advisory committee of HMS Victory. He was historical advisor on the film 'Master and Commander' and has sailed in many vessels, from a dinghy to a square rigger.

Reviews to Date

The book deals in great detail with the Battle of Trafalgar and also with what could be regarded as the second most significant episode in her long career...It provides a valuable background to the often controversial issues involved in conserving and repairing such a large, complex and antique structure. Classic Boat.

Review

Since Portsmouth is where I grew up you could say that HMS Victory was about me from the start, I often saw it on the skyline getting the paddle steamer to the Isle of Wight and then when I joined HMS ST Vincent at Gosport, ( the old RMLI Barracks) it would be seen from the Gosport Ferry, from a cutter or whaler when we were out in the boats from St Vincent or on passing through the dockyard. I have been onboard several times and each time what strikes you is the lack of height. She has, as the author points out, been a flagship, a fighting ship, a prison hospital ship, a training ship for officers and boys, a floating courtroom, a signal school in the early days of radio, tourist attraction and national icon.

She must have been a wonderful sight when she remained afloat along with HMS Duke of Wellington, HMS ST Vincent and HMS Excellent. My Great Grandfather served in HMS Warrior in 1875 and I often reflect that it is a pity I never knew him or had a chance to discuss Portsmouth and the past with him, what memories of Victory did he have: gone and never written down. All we have are records such as this and other books regarding Victory. As one would expect from Brian Lavery this book is very detailed and I welcome it in my library of Nelson.

Rob Jerrard


Yangtze Showdown, China and the Ordeal of HMS Amethyst
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Brian Izzard
ISBN: 9781848322240
Publishers:
Pen & Sword
Price: RRP £25
Publication Date: 18th February 2015

Publisher's Title Information

The attack on the British frigate Amethyst on the Yangtze River by Chinese Communists in 1949 made world headlines. There was even more publicity when the ship made a dramatic escape after being trapped for 101 days. Eulogised by the British as an example of outstanding courage and fortitude, the 'Yangtze Incident' was even made into a feature film, which depicted the ship and her crew as innocent victims of Communist aggression.
 
The truth was more complex, and so sensitive that the government intended that the files should be closed until 2030. However, these have now been released and in making use of these documents this book is the first to tell the full story. What emerges is an intriguing tale of intelligence failure, military over-confidence and a hero with feet of clay - it is by no means as heroic as the well-publicised official version, but every bit as entertaining. While the reputations of diplomatic and naval top brass take a knock, the bravery and ingenuity of those actively involved shines even more brightly. Written with verve and including much new and surprising information, this book is both enjoyable and informative.

The Author

BRIAN IZZARD was a Fleet Street journalist, feature writer and news sub-editor for many years, working latterly on the Daily Express and the Sunday Express. This is his third book, previous titles being Gamp VC: The wartime story of maverick submarine commander Anthony Miers (2009) and Sabotage: The Mafia, Mao and the death of the Queen Elizabeth (2012).


The Royal Navy and the War at Sea - 1914-1919
Despatches from the Front
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Martin Mace
ISBN: 9781781593172
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: RRP £19.99
Publication Date: 19th Nov 2014

Publisher's Title Information

Germany's attempts to build a battleship fleet to match that of the United Kingdom, the dominant naval power on the 19th-century and an island country that depended on seaborne trade for survival, is often listed as a major reason for the enmity between those two countries that led to the outbreak of war in 1914.
 
Indeed, German leaders had expressed a desire for a navy in proportion to their military and economic strength that could free their overseas trade and colonial empire from dependence on Britain's good will, but such a fleet would inevitably threaten Britain's own trade and empire.
 
Despite this backdrop of large standing navies, naval warfare in the First World War was mainly characterized by the efforts of the Allied powers, with their larger fleets and surrounding position, to blockade the Central Powers by sea, and the efforts of the Central Powers to break that blockade or to establish an effective blockade of the UK with submarines and raiders. Indeed, the use of the former saw naval conflict enter a new era, one that affected every member of the British population and, in 1917, raised the spectre of a German victory.
 
This unique collection of original documents will prove to be an invaluable resource for historians, students and all those interested in what was one of the most significant periods in British military history.
 
Despatches in this volume include those relating to the events at Antwerp in 1914, Royal Navy armoured car squadrons, the Battle of Dogger Bank, the Battle of the Falklands, the Battle of Heligoland Bight, minesweeping operations, Royal Naval Air Service operations and attacks, and, of course, the Battle of Jutland.

From the introduction

The objective of this book is to reproduce the despatches of the admirals and captains who led the Royal Navy's operations in the First World War as they first appeared to the general public. They have not been modified, edited or interpreted in any way and are therefore the original and unique words of the commanding officers as they saw things at the time. Any grammatical, typographical or spelling errors have been left uncorrected to retain the authenticity of the documents, including the occasional idiosyncratic use of apostrophes.
For example it will be noticed that in the despatch regarding the capture of the SMS Emden that the paragraphs run numerically up to paragraph 9 and that the next paragraph is number 13. This is how the despatch was published, just as the others were in this compilation, almost 100 years ago.

Review

How important despatches are is illustrated by the fact that after Calvi where Nelson lost an eye he decided to write his own. Hood did not give Nelson full recognition for his work. Being noticed or recognised can make or break a man.

Rob Jerrard


A Shipyard at War (Hardback)
Unseen Photographs from John Brown's, Clydebank 1914 - 1918
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Ian Johnston
ISBN: 9781848322165
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: RRP £30
Publication Date: 19th November 2014

Publisher's Title Information

Although best known for large liners and capital ships, between 1914 and the completion of the wartime programmes in 1920 the Clydebank shipyard of John Brown & Sons built a vast range of vessels - major warships down to destroyers and submarines, unusual designs like a seaplane carrier and submarine depot ship, and even a batch of war-standard merchant ships. This makes the yard a particularly good exemplar of the wartime shipbuilding effort. Like most shipyards of the time, Clydebank employed professional photographers to record the whole process of construction, using large-plate cameras that produced pictures of stunning clarity and detail; but unlike most shipyard photography, Clydebank's collection has survived, although relatively few of the images have ever been published. For this book some 200 of the most telling were carefully selected, and scanned to the highest standards, depicting in unprecedented detail every aspect of the yard's output, from the liner Aquitania in 1914 to the cruiser Enterprise, completed in 1920.
 
Although ships are the main focus of the book, the photos also chronicle the impact of the war on working conditions in the yard and, perhaps most noticeable in the introduction of women in large numbers to the workforce. With lengthy and informative captions, and an authoritative introduction by Ian Johnston, this book is a vivid portrait of a lost industry at the height of its success.
Although best known for large liners and capital ships, between 1914 and the completion of the wartime programmes in 1920 the Clydebank shipyard of John Brown & Sons built a vast range of vessels - major warships down to destroyers and submarines, unusual designs like a seaplane carrier and submarine depot ship, and even a batch of war-standard merchant ships. This makes the yard a particularly good exemplar of the wartime shipbuilding effort. Like most shipyards of the time, Clydebank employed professional photographers to record the whole process of construction, using large-plate cameras that produced pictures of stunning clarity and detail; but unlike most shipyard photography, Clydebank's collection has survived, although relatively few of the images have ever been published. For this book some 200 of the most telling were carefully selected, and scanned to the highest standards, depicting in unprecedented detail every aspect of the yard's output, from the liner Aquitania in 1914 to the cruiser Enterprise, completed in 1920.
 
Although ships are the main focus of the book, the photos also chronicle the impact of the war on working conditions in the yard and, perhaps most noticeable in the introduction of women in large numbers to the workforce. With lengthy and informative captions, and an authoritative introduction by Ian Johnston, this book is a vivid portrait of a lost industry at the height of its success.

The Author

IAN JOHNSTON was brought up in a shipbuilding family, although his own career was in graphic design. A lifetime's interest in ships and shipbuilding has borne fruit in a number of publications, including Ships for a Nation, a history of John Brown's, and Beardmore Built, the story of another great Clydeside yard.

Reviews

The detail the photographs show is nothing short of remarkable. Glasgow Evening Times
The publishing process has done full justice to the original quality of the glass-plate negatives and the author's captions 'talk you into the pictures' to describe the visible activities.
Worth every penny and thoroughly recommended. Australian Naval Institute.

I must say that I found it very moving to see so many photographs of HMS Barham being built. I have a page on my website for Barham because my Uncle was lost with her sinking on 25th November 1941. http://www.rjerrard.co.uk/royalnavy/barham/barham.htm
HMS Chichester in which I served the 1st Commission was built on the Clyde at The Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited which was a Scottish shipbuilding company in the Govan area on the Clyde in Glasgow. We must have been near to John Brown's yard. I have been lucky that I travelled to a shipyard twice to Commission a new ship. HMS Lion was built at Wallsend by Swan Hunter on the Tyne.
That way you meet the men that built her.
There are some wonderful photographs here, we must be thankful they were saved.




Britain's Future Navy
Edition: Hardback 2014
Format: Hardback
Author: Nick Childs
ISBN: 9781473823242
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £14.99
Publication Date: 19th November 2014

Publisher's Title Information

What kind of Royal Navy does Britain need now? The 21st century promises to be one of huge uncertainties and challenges for the senior service. Does Britain have the right naval strategy to cope with emerging threats (does it have a naval strategy at all, and should it?) and, if so, does the Navy have the right ships and enough of them to implement it?
 
Nick Childs looks at the changing strategic environment (including economic difficulties and the growth of other navies such as China and India). He asks what Britain's role in the world could or should be - is she still interventionist? If so, should our forces be designed purely to work with US, UN or Western European forces? What are the options for a naval strategy? The author considers what kind of navy would be needed to support such options. What kind of ships are needed and how many? What of aircraft carriers and the nuclear option?
 
What are the technological developments affecting current and future warship design projects? Is the new Type 45 destroyer what is needed and worth the cost? Given the depths to which the RN has shrunk in terms of numbers, public profile, and strength relative to its peers, this probably is a critical period in terms of determining the RN's future.
 
This new paperback edition has been revised and updated to take into account the most recent developments and government defence decisions.

Reviews

Having provided an outstanding overview of the Royal Navy's mission over the past three decades, veteran BBC correspondent Nick Childs has now turned to the Fleet of today and tomorrow. Britain's Future Navy is effectively a collection of penetrating essays on issues affecting strategy, long-term planning and equipment from the future carriers and F35 Joint Strike Fighters to Type 45 destroyers, manpower issues, potential operations and global partnerships.
Navy News
This book should be read by all those serving in any of our services, retired, interested in the Navy or involved in any way in organising defense or ordering and panning modern military operations. If you read nothing else, I say, please read and mark that.
Childs does not believe that he has all the answers himself; he wants the responsible people to listen to and weigh the evidence and decide. This is perhaps a greater service to the Navy than simply stating his own answers to the questions he poses. The reader will discover for himself the detail of what Childs has to say.
This is an important and necessary book and you should read it carefully, thoughtfully and soon.
Naval Review
I found this book very difficult to put down. Highly readable.
Challenging and simulating this book is a must for anyone with the slightest interest in the Navy.
Warship World
For an island nation, and one with such a rich naval history, the vast majority of the public in Great Britain are remarkably unconcerned about the present state of the Royal Navy, let alone its future. In this book Nick Childs makes a gallant attempt to fuel a debate he thinks is vital for the country's security into the 21st century.
Interesting comparisons are drawn between those European nations that still maintain some element of naval aviation and the fact that Britain will, for some time, be without any naval strike capacity, re-learning the lessons of flying planes off of naval vessels. The irony being of course that Britain invented the carrier.
Into this narrative Mr. Childs brings in the experience of the US Navy in re-shaping its fleet and re-defining its role and purpose. This is clearly relevant. But what I think many readers will find particularly interesting are the references, which sit throughout the book, to the development of the naval forces of nations which traditionally haven't developed an ocean-going navy.
So if you are up for a well written, challenging and thought provoking read, give this a go; even if you are not the nautical type!
www.wargamer.com
I found this book very difficult to put down. Highly readable, the author has avoided the pitfalls of “acronym soup” and jargon. Challenging and simulating this book is a must for anyone with the slightest interest in the maritime debate and the future of the Royal Navy - and should be compulsory reading for all Mps! I cannot recommend this book highly enough - a superb contemporary naval tour de force.
Scuttlebutt
… a well researched investigation into what kind of navy Britain needs in the 21st century. Childs weighs up the effect of the current economic climate, emerging technologies and new threats to world peace. This is the books greatest strength.
The book features some superb photos of what the future British Navy might consist of too. A unique book that deserves a wider audience.
Destructive Music.com - Steve Earles

The Author

Nick Childs is currently one of the BBC's World Affairs Correspondents covering a range of international, diplomatic, and security issues from London and on assignments around the world. Previously, he was the BBC's "inaugural" Pentagon Correspondent from 2002 to 2005. He has accumulated much experience of working with and reporting on the armed forces of various countries. Among the international stories he has covered extensively are Israel and the Palestinians, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, and Iraq. Previously he was a reporter for BBC World TV and, before that, Defence and British Affairs Analyst for BBC World Service radio. He also worked briefly as a reporter for Jane's Defence Weekly magazine, and has contributed to various journals on defence and international relations issues. He graduated in 1982 with a joint honours degree in Modern History and Economics from St Catherine's College, Oxford.


Nelson's Mediterranean Command
Napoleonic Nelson & Trafalgar Naval
Edition: Paperback 2014, 1st published 1997
Format: Paperback
Author: Denis Orde
ISBN: 9781473851009
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: RRP £14.99
Publication Date: 27th Nov 2014

Publisher's Title Information

In 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte, who was all but Master of Europe, assembled a formidable expeditionary force at Toulon. While its purpose was unknown there was every reason to believe that Great Britain was its destination and the Nation was on invasion alert.
 
The overwhelming British priority was for a fleet to be assembled and sent to the Mediterranean to destroy this threat before the French force could set sail.
 
The burning issue was which of four Royal Naval flag officers should command this vital mission? The strong field in order of seniority was Admiral The Earl St Vincent, Rear Admirals Sir William Parker, Sir John Orde and Sir Horatio Nelson. The choice of Nelson who went on the win the Battle of Nice provoked great anger and even a challenge by Orde for a duel, only prevented buy the King's intervention.
 
Nelson's and Orde's acrimonious relationship erupted in the months before the Battle of Trafalgar and is well documented in this fascinating book.

Reviews

A fascinating study, we learn a lot about the composition of the Navy 200 years ago. The Lady Magazine
The author, as might be expected from a Judge and former Barrister, sets out in a lucid and eminently readable English prose, the case for the prosecution and Defence, complete with background for all events and personalities involved. It could be argued that much of this was barely relevant. Yet the tale, which could well be likened to a stew of the thicker sort, would have been deprived of much of its flavour had these many factors been omitted. A fascinating study and definitely a work for the Nelsonia addict. It is also a lesson for those in high places on how not to act'. The Nautical Magazine
A significant contribution to specialised history. The Naval Review
As a distinguished Judge and former military man, Denis Orde is well places to deliver the verdict on one of the murkier side-issues of the Nelson decade.
Navy News
Denis Orde doesn't allow the ink to impair his strict impartiality....the little known power-struggle behind Britain's greatest naval victory deserves the exclusive spotlight it receives here..... The naval backdrop to these events is full of rich details....the final irony saw Sir John Orde serve as a pall bearer at Nelson's funeral.....The Northern Echo

PREFACE

On two occasions only during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars did the French seriously threaten to invade the British Isles, once in the year 1797-8 and again between the years 1803 and 1805.
In the spring of the year 1798 matters were coming to a head in the long war between the two nations for there were reports of great activity by the French. Sources of intelligence told the British Government that an expeditionary force had been massed at Toulon and at other cdrts in the Mediterranean ready for embarkation. The danger of invasion therefore looked to be imminent but its destination remained unknown. The belief in Britain was that it was headed for these shores and alarm bells had begun to sound in the corridors of Whitehall for Bonaparte was by now all but master of Europe and Britains feared the worst. Clearly the need now was for a squadron of ships to re-enter the Mediterranean which they should never have left, hunt down the French Fleet and destroy it. Command of such a force would very obviously carry with it immense responsibility and great prestige. It called for an officer of outstanding skill and determination. Indeed there can have been few appointments made in the long history of the British Royal Navy of more crucial importance to the defence of the nation, or, even, of Western Europe for at this moment in time Great Britain really stood alone against the French invader and the might of Napoleon Bonaparte's all-conquering army. It is surprising therefore that the provenance of the appointment has been so little explored.
But it is more astonishing to find that several British admirals were at war, not just with the enemy at this time of national emergency, but also with one another. So much so that a duel was challenged in the year 1799 and would have taken place but for the timely intervention of George III. The concern of this work is to trace the events which set these high-ranking officers on collision course and to measure the extent to which, if at all, the advancement of Horatio Nelson to command of the Mediterranean Squadron was the cause of it. It is an account of pride, preferment and prize money, for there was a considerable golden harvest in the countdown to Trafalgar which so exercised the mind and pen of Horatio Nelson.
 
History can but be written through the lives of those to whom the nation's affairs have been entrusted at any given time, but at these critical moments a small number of naval officers, perhaps driven on by naked ambition, but undoubtedly stiffened by a strong sense of patriotism, succeeded in writing themselves into the pages of history. All were very different characters and of varying achievement. Not all may have shared Nelson's pathological hatred of the French, but throughout their lives the common enemy was France. Many of them no more than walked in the shadow of those giants who strode the national stage at the turn of the eighteenth century, those few men who so dominated the life of the nation at one of the most dangerous periods of its history, amongst them Pitt, St Vincent, Nelson, and, later, Wellington, all men of magisterial greatness. So much so that little is ever written of others who also had a role to play. But at least each one could count himself fortunate to have served in the Royal Navy through what undoubtedly were some of the most glorious years in its long and distinguished history, crowned as they were by Nelson's three great victories at the Nile, Copenhagen and off Cape Trafalgar.
In order to be able to understand and judge the bizarre events of the years 1798, 1799, 1804 and 1805, the year of Trafalgar, it has been necessary in this work to look back a little at the service careers of some of those naval officers who stood at the very centre of the storm which was to be given such prominence in The Times newspaper of the day, including that of the autocratic, formidable, austere and thoroughly difficult St Vincent who had dedicated his entire life to mastery of his profession, whose twin contributions to the defence of the Realm were to transform an ill-disciplined and largely mercantile marine into a well organized fighting machine which was to achieve pre-eminence in the waters of the world in the ten years which followed his assumption of command in the Mediterranean in the year 1795, and then to unleash the brilliance of Horatio Nelson and place him at its head, and at the disposal of the British nation. This was his legacy and these were his lasting monuments. He left behind order and purpose where there was none before that of the flamboyant, theatrical, petulant but inspirational Nelson himself, the ornament of the service of whom so much has been written; of the proud Northumbrian Admiral Sir John Orde, the target of so much of their acrimony until he along with countless others made his way to St Paul's Cathedral on 9 January of the year 1806 to pay homage to Horatio Nelson as a pall-bearer at his funeral; of the apoplectic and courageous Sir William Parker, also a contender for the crown; of the gentle Collingwood, perhaps the noblest sailor of them all; and of many others, much of it as seen through the eyes of those with whom they served.

Review
A deep insight into the disagreement between these two Admirals. Nelson was chosen above all, above St Vincent, above Parker and above Orde. We will never know how any of these men would have handled Trafalgar, we only know the outcome so perhaps we should settle there. If you love your Nelson you will still want to read this book.

Rob Jerrard

Seaforth World Naval Review 2015
Edition: 2015
Format: Hardback
Author:
ISBN: 781848322202
Publishers: Seaforth
Price: £30
Publication Date: 5th November 2014
 

Publisher's Title Information

Now in its seventh year, this annual has established an international reputation as an authoritative but affordable summary of all that has happened in the naval world in the previous twelve months. It combines regional surveys with one-off major articles on noteworthy new ships and other important developments. Besides the latest warship projects, it also looks at wider issues of importance to navies, such as aviation and electronics, and calls on expertise from around the globe to give a balanced picture of what is going on and to interpret its significance.
 
The 2015 edition looks in detail at the French Navy and the Bangladesh and Myanmar navies, while significant ships include the Montford Point class mobile landing platforms, the Samuel Becket offshore patrol vessels, and the Skjold class fast attack craft. There are technological reviews dealing with naval aviation by David Hobbs, and current mine warfare developments by Norman Friedman, while warship recycling is discussed by ian Buxton.
 
Intended to make interesting reading as well as providing authoritative reference, there is a strong visual emphasis, including specially commissioned drawings and the most up-to-date photographs and artists' impressions. For anyone with an interest in contemporary naval affairs, whether an enthusiast or a defence professional, this annual has become required reading.