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Wavy Navy By Some Who Served

09 Feb 24

The below review is the first of “If you can find a copy of…do read it!” Members are invited to share new reviews of old books, which may be of interest, or past book reviews that may have an enduring value. 

Available via Amazon, from £4.00

Peter Fox

As Admiral of the Fleet Lord Cunningham reminds us in his foreword to this unique record of first-hand experience of World War 2, RNVR officers outnumbered their straight gold laced brethren by three to one, and HO (hostilities only) ratings were in similar proportion.

Serving in all parts of the world, in every kind of vessel, surface, submarine, in the air and even the scarcely known Land Incident Section of those trained at HMS Vernon to make safe unexploded bombs and mines in London’s East End and elsewhere, the accounts given here are of discomfort, danger and death against a background of camaraderie and good humour.

The copy here reviewed came to hand quite unexpectedly. Comprising six poems and 24 prose contributions from wardroom and messdeck, one wonders what distribution it attained nearly three quarters of a century ago and whether there are more than a handful left gathering dust in attics, unread by the present or even recent generations of seafarers. In an age of technology undreamed of at the time, and when naval recruitment plumbs to an all-time low, do modern educational standards enable anything like a similar civilian volunteer force to be assembled today, if necesary? Whatever the future may hold, this invaluable record of adventure and sacrifice deserves to have a valued place in naval history.