Award of the Australian Naval Institute 2022 Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize
For the second year, The Australian Naval Institute has awarded the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize. The winner was announced today in an on-line ceremony by Captain Simon Bateman, son of the late Commodore Sam Bateman. The 2022 recipient of the Prize is Scrap Iron Flotilla written by Mike Carlton and published by William Heinemann Australia. Scrap Iron Flotilla, engagingly tells of the remarkable exploits of five elderly Australian destroyers during World War II. The book well illuminates the dedicated efforts of the men in the Scrap Iron Flotilla to kept their old ships going through most arduous and action-filled service.
The Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize recognises excellence in books that make a major contribution to the study and understanding of naval and maritime affairs. The Prize is named after Commodore Sam Bateman AM, RAN (1938-2020), a notable strategic thinker and former Australian Naval Institute Councillor in recognition of his outstanding efforts to raise greater awareness of naval and/or maritime matters and progressing the understanding and value of navies in society. The Prize is proudly sponsored by Team Downer MSP.
The Judging Panel noted the strong field in this year’s competition and said the 2022 winning book was “… a most enjoyable read that contributes to a greater understanding of the Mediterranean campaign with direct links to current RAN naval operations and affairs.” They said Scrap Iron Flotilla shows that popular history can be written well without compromising historical rigour.
When told he had won the Prize, Mike Carlton said it was a huge, unexpected thrill. “To be recognised in this way by the Australian naval community is a high honour,” he said. “It’s been both a labour of love and a privilege to tell the story of these ships and these men. We can in some measure repay our debt to them by keeping their memory alive.” Mike thanked the Australian Naval Institute for its promotion of maritime interests and the Bateman family for their support for this annual award.
Mr Andrew Harmer, National Maritime Director for Team Downer MSP said that Team Downer was pleased to support such an auspicious award as the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize noting the significant contribution Commodore Bateman made to the understanding of naval and maritime matters in Australia and across the world.
The Judging Panel also gave Honourable Mentions to two books written by David Hobbs and Mick Ryan respectively. They were The Fleet Air Arm and the War in Europe: 1939-1945 published by Seaforth Publishing and War Transformed, published by US Naval Institute Press.
Mike Carlton will give the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize Lecture in Canberra in early 2023.