Through the Eyes of Albert RN

Cover-Through Alberts eyes
By Tony Bentley-Buckle
Edited by Captain Peter Hore RN
Whittles Publishing, Caithness, 2013
Hardback; 143 pages with 44 b/w illustrations and end notes.
ISBN 978-184995-066-4

Reviewed by David Hobbs

THIS IS the second in a series of autobiographical books, edited by Peter Hore, that focus on people connected with naval warfare and the sea. Tony Bentley-Buckle led a particularly adventurous life; he was the son of a rubber planter in Ceylon, born in Belgium while his parents were on holiday and subsequently raised in England by aunts before joining the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1938. In the early war years he served in the cruisers Dunedin and Edinburgh before joining the battleship Revenge in the Eastern Fleet during 1941. Continue reading

RN and USN at war in the Middle East

Cover-Strike from the Sea
By Iain Ballantyne
Pen & Sword Maritime, Barnsley, 2004, pp.256; ISBN 1-84415-059-3.

Reviewed by Dr Saul Kelly, King’s College, London.

THE AUTHOR wrote this book within a year of the toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq by an Allied Coalition led by the United States and the United Kingdom. It has been reissued by Pen & Sword Books Ltd, presumably to coincide with the tenth anniversary of that significant event, which can now be seen as sounding the death knell of the old nationalist dictatorships in the Middle East and the emergence of their old enemies, the Islamists, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, the Yemen, and Syria. Continue reading

The story of HMAS Brisbane — the Steel Cat

Steel_Cat_Front_CoverSteel Cat: the story of HMAS Brisbane, Vietnam and Gulf War Veteran
by Ken Doolan: Grinkle Press, 2009. ISBN 9780980282115. 208PP.
RRP $22 +$10 postage

Reviewed by Ian Pfennigwerth, Proud veteran of DDGs Brisbane and Perth

WHY review a four-year-old book? Because I think that it is worth consideration, even more so now as international events have demonstrated ever more clearly the value to Australia of ships like our lost guided missile destroyers. Ken Doolan was one of 25 fortunate men to have commanded Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Brisbane, last of three guided missile destroyers (DDG) commissioned into the RAN in the 1960s, and the story he tells is not of the ‘Boys’ Own’ variety, although the ships themselves inspired that kind of reaction. Continue reading

Australia’s lost naval vessels

Cover - Lost - the Stories of all ships Cover jpgLost: The stories of all ships lost by the Royal Australian Navy
by Allen Lyne, Moana Heights SA, Self-published, 2013. ISBN: 9780646903750.
RRP $32 + $3 postage within Australia

Reviewed by Ian Pfennigwerth

WHO KNEW that the RAN had lost 45 ships in its hundred years of existence? Probably nobody, until Allen Lyne spent five years researching the issue. His book describes the background, circumstances and the events leading to these losses, some of them well known, others far from so. Those not overly familiar with the history and circumstances in which the RAN has operated and fought will be grateful for the author’s thorough explanations. Lyne has also used his researcher’s prerogative to pass judgment on who or what was to blame for the losses. Continue reading

Land Based Air Power or Aircraft Carriers?

Dyndal NEW_Dyndal JktLand Based Air Power or Aircraft Carriers?
A Case Study of the British Debate about Maritime Air Power in the 1960s
by Gjert Lage Dyndal
ISBN 978-1-4094-3335-4
Ashgate Publishing both in the UK and USA
180 pages, 5 maps, 4 photographs

Reviewed by David Hobbs

THIS IS the sixth in a series of studies by the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies. The author is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Norwegian Air Force and Dean of Academics at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy who was awarded his PhD by the University of Glasgow in 2009. He has written three earlier books on military subjects. Continue reading

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era

Cover-British Cruisers of the Victorian EraBritish Cruisers of the Victorian Era
By Norman Friedman
ISBN 978-1-84832-099-4
Seaforth Publishing
352 pages including Bibliography, Notes, Appendices and ship Data. Extensively illustrated with photographs and drawings.

Reviewed by David Hobbs

THE TERM “cruiser” came into general use in the 1880s to describe ships capable of both long endurance for the protection of Britain’s Imperial trade routes and, in the case of some of the larger examples, acting as a fast wing of the battle fleet. The new description replaced the terms frigate, sloop and corvette which gradually fell out of use with the result that ships described as cruisers covered a very wide range from under 1,000 to over 10,000 tons. Continue reading

Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea

Cover-Force Z Shipwrecks2Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea
By Rod McDonald
Whittles; softback, 156 pages

Reviewed by Jack Aubrey

THE SHIPWRECKS of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse lie in relatively shallow water compared with the wrecks of HMAS Sydney and its opponent Kormoran. For many in Britain in WWII, the loss of the two British ships resonated throughout the community much as the loss of our own 645 brave sailors did with Australia’s sinking in 1941. Continue reading

Models give better idea of ships

Layout 1British Destroyers – J-C and Battle Classes
By Les Brown
Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley
ISBN 978-1-84832-180-9

Reviewed by David Hobbs

NUNMBER 21 in Seaforth’s Ship Craft series, this book follows logically on from number 11 which described the ‘A’ to ‘I’ and ‘Tribal’ classes. Although aimed primarily at ship model-makers, the book is well illustrated with black and white photographs of the actual ships; colour photographs of models and accurate coloured profile drawings showing representative wartime camouflage schemes. Continue reading

The Battleship Builders – Constructing and Arming British Capital Ships

TheBattleshipBuildersThe Battleship Builders – Constructing and Arming British capital Ships
by Ian Johnston & Ian Buxton
Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley
ISBN 978-1-84832-093-2
£30.00 in the UK

Reviewed by David Hobbs

THE BRITISH built more battleships than any other nation and this fascinating book contains a wealth of detail about the shipyards, dockyards, ordnance works, steel works, foundries and other sites where the hulls and their systems were built as well as the design and functioning of the ships themselves. There are maps of the various yards with explanatory notes about the processes that went on in their buildings; descriptions of how gun barrels, working chambers, turrets, boilers and turbines were assembled ashore and then dismantled to be taken to the ships for installation and a wealth of other detail, including the manpower in the factories. Continue reading

A parting shot — 1942

Cover-A Parting Shot2A Parting Shot
By Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers
Cooper Publishing
319 pages; soft cover

Reviewed by Jack Aubrey

EVEN small actions of World War II history are now being covered by the efforts of researchers. This new book by Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers is only about a small part of Australia’s war, but it is a welcome addition to papering over the cracks. The shelling of parts of Sydney and Newcastle by Japanese submarines in 1942 has been known about for many years – the incidents were widely covered by the press at the time. But a forensic analysis of the events has not been attempted, as far as I know. Continue reading