Naval History and Tales, Page One.


See also: Nautical History of Polar Exploration, Nautical Tales, Yarns and Biographies,
Nautical Dictionary and Sea Terms and Patrick O'Brian

  • Dunkirk
  • The Challenge
  • The Tattie Lads
  • Able Seamen
  • Empire of the Seas
  • Empire of the Deep
  • In Which They Served
  • Sea Devils
  • How to Pilot a Submarine
  • A Mission of Honour

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    By A.D. Divine. Hardback, 0.45kg, 140mm x 220mm, 307 pages, Originally Published 1945. Facsimile Published 2018.

    Originally published in 1945: 'A.D. Divine's Dunkirk is the best contemporaneous account, detailing all the big and little ships that rescued the men trapped on the beaches in late May 1940.'

    The story of Dunkirk and of the men who planned it (insofar as it was planned) and of the men who carried it out, and of their ships. Mr Divine, who was himself with the small boats, writes with the authority of direct knowledge. He had the assistance of the men who were intimately concerned with planning and organising the operation.

    This is the true story of Dunkirk from its almost nebulous beginnings to the astonishing triumph of its end.

    Arthur Durham Divine was born and educated in Cape Town.During the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, Divine crossed the English Channel three times in a 35-foot boat to rescue trapped British soldiers. During the last journey he was wounded.

    NZ$28.00 + Delivery.

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    By Andrew Lambert. Paperback, 0.45kg, 125mm x 200mm, 538 pages. Published in 2013.
    Britain against America in the naval war of 1812.

    In the summer of 1812 Britain stood alone, fighting for her very survival against a vast European Empire. Only the Royal Navy stood between Napoleon's legions and ultimate victory. In that dark hour America saw its chance to challenge British dominance: her troops invaded Canada and American frigates attacked British merchant shipping, the lifeblood of British defence.

    War polarised America. The south and west wanted land, the north wanted peace and trade. But America had to choose between the oceans and the continent. Within weeks the land invasion had stalled, but American warships and privateers did rather better, and astonished the world by besting the Royal Navy in a series of battles.

    Then in three titanic single ship actions the challenge was decisively met. British frigates closed with the Chesapeake, the Essex and the President, flagship of American naval ambition. Both sides found new heroes but none could equal Captain Philip Broke, champion of history's greatest frigate battle, when HMS Shannon captured the USS Chesapeake in thirteen blood-soaked minutes. Broke's victory secured British control of the Atlantic, and within a year Washington, D.C. had been taken and burnt by British troops.

    NZ$30.00 + Delivery.

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    By Ian Dear. Hardback, 0.67kg, 160mm x 240mm, 312 pages, black and white photographs. Published in 2016.

    The untold story of the Rescue Tug Service in two world wars and its battle to save cargoes, ships and lives.

    Out of the battle of the Sea Lanes has emerged a new vessel – the British fighting escort tug... No naval action or landing operation would be attempted without them and they have saved a vast amount of merchant shipping and an undisclosed number of warships for the United Nations. They are as much a factor in winning the Battle of the Atlantic as the corvette or the escort carrier.

    When an American forces magazine printed this description of the Royal Navy’s Rescue Tug Service in February 1944, the Service was receiving its fair share of publicity and praise. Ye when the official histories of the conflict at sea during World War II were written, there was no mention of the Service or what it had accomplished. As the Convoy historian Arnold Hague wrote, little had been written about the Rescue Tug Service and crews, ‘and in consequence little remains known even to those who study the maritime war, 1939-45’.

    The ‘Tattie’ Lads attempts to rectify this injustice perpetrated on a group of brave men without whom many more merchant ships, with their crews and cargo, would have been lost to Hitler’s U-Boats.

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    The Lower deck of the Royal Navy. 1850-1939
    By Brian Lavery. Hardback, 0.79kg, 165mm x 240mm, 352 pages, black and white & colour photos. First Published in 2011.

    A fascinating account of the evolution of the seaman through 89 years of change.

    In Able Seamen the author addresses a range of issues central to the evolution of the seaman through 89 years of change, including 'Jacky' Fisher's sweeping reforms and the concept of the 'new seaman'; the rise of stokers, artificers and engineers and the traditional seaman's 'crisis of identity' as the navy moved from sail to steam. The 'lower deck' also had to deal with the changing social structure of the Navy; the great demands made on the Service throughout the British Empire; the move from broadside batteries to sophisticated turretsand fire-control systems; the modernization and standardisation of signals and telegraphy; the rise of 'small ships' as a destroyer fleet was created to fulfil new strategic requirements; and the creation of the submarine service. Brian Lavery also highlights the repercussions of the First World War and the grand fleet engagement at Jutland; the expressions of discontent (such as the infamous Invergordon mutiny), and the lead-up to the Second World War.

    Readable, engaging and authoritative, this book (the second volume in this 3 volume social history of the Royal Navy. The First volume being 'Royal Tars, and the 3rd 'All Hands') chronicles an important stage in the history of the Royal Navy and illuminates the inherent adaptability of the lower deck, as new technologies demanded increased professionalism, specialization and training.

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    By Brian Lavery. Paperback, 0.49kg, 130mm x 198mm, 336 pages, black and white and colour photos. Published in 2012.
    During the reign of Elizabeth I the inspirational leadership of seafarers such as Drake and Hawkins set a tiny impoverished kingdom on the path to greatness. In time, this fledgling navy transformed Britian into the most powerful empire in history, with enormous consequences for the rest of the world. There was slavery, conquest, and war on a titanic scale, but the navy also ensured that Britain would preserve her independence and unique economic and political systems. Over the next four centuries the navy made the sea and seafaring an integral part of Britain's culture and national identity.
    The reasons and consequences of this dramatic progress are explored by leading naval historian, Brian Lavery, drawing on the themes raised by Dan Snow in the popular BBC2 series. Rising through the administrative brilliance of Pepys, Anson and Sandwich, and the military genius of Blake, Hawke and Nelson, the navy's successes eventually brought about the 'long peace' of the nineteenth century. But the resultant sterility in strategic thinking and complacency lead to the bruising experience of the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

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    By Ben Wilson. Paperback, 130mm X 198mm, 0.57 kg 692 pages, Colour and sepia photographs & reproductions.

    The story of the British navy is nothing less than the story of Britain, the culture and the Empire. Much more than a parade of admirals and their battles, this is the story of how an insignificant island nation conquered the world's oceans to become its greatest trading empire. Yet, as Ben Wilson shows, there was nothing inevitable about this rise to maritime domination, nor was it ever an easy path. EMPIRE OF THE DEEP: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH NAVY reveals how British naval history shaped Britain in more subtle and surprising ways - the language, culture, politics and national character all owe a great debt to this conquest of the seas.

    Few other nations have fallen so deeply in love with a branch of the Armed Forces as the British did with its navy, when for a few decades after the Battle of Trafalgar, Britain truly ruled the waves.

    This is the epic, gripping, story of how an insignificant island nation overcame the dangers that emerged from the deep to conquuer the world's oceans.

    NZ$35.00 + Delivery

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    By Brian Lavery. Paperback, 0.46kg, 128mm x 198mm, 384 pages. Black & White Photographs. Reprint. First Published 2009.

    One of Britain's leading naval historians looks at the social background of British wartime naval recruits, the training methods, the personal experiences of those involved and what they had to learn to become an officer of the watch on the bridge of a warship, or even the captain of a landing craft or frigate in the Second World War.

    During World War II, Britain's Royal Navy has to expand more than sevenfold, in the faces of the threat of invasion, enemy bombing and the need to carry out campaigns all around the world. To find officers for this force it had to move well outside its normal supply of boys trained from the age of 13. It started by recruiting yachtsmen and giving them a smattering of naval discipline before sending them to sea. Then it sent possible officers into action as ordinary seamen, to live a hard and dangerous life in destroyers. Selected men were then given their officer training in three months in an improved seaside base at Brighton. They sailed as officers in all kinds of ships, but especially in the new landing craft which would invade North Africa, Italy and Normandy. Those appointed to escort vessels in the Battle of the Atlantic came under the fearsome gaze of Commodore Stephenson, the 'Terror of Tobermory' before being sent out on convoy escort.

    The book draws widely from personal experiences of those who served and presents a rich collection of wry quotes and numerous anecdotes from household names such as Alec Guinness, Evelyn Waugh, Nicholas Monsarrat and George Melly as we follow them through the rigours of the war at sea. It has much to say on seamanship, naval technology, leadership and organisation.

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    ByMark Felton. Paperback, 0.41kg, 135mm x 215mm, 334 pages. Black & White Photographs. Published 2015.
    July 1945. Eighteen daring young British, Australian and New Zealand special forces from the top-secret underwater warfare unit known as The Sea Devils prepare to undertake three simultaneous and incredibly risky missions against the Japanese. Using four brilliantly conceived XE-craft midget submarines, the raiders will creep deep behind Japanese lines to sink two huge warships and sever two vitally important undersea communications cables. If any of the Sea Devils are captured they can expect a gruesome execution.

    Autour Mark Felton expertly tells the incredible tale - the last great Allied raid of the war - of how this band of young men living on raw courage, nerves and adrenalin repeatedly combat Japanese defences, oxygen poisoning and calamitous submarine disasters to pull off a brilliant display of ingenuity, courage and sheer guts, on missions that earn the last Victoria Crosses of World War Two and ensure final victory over Japan.

    NZ$33.00 + delivery.

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    By United States Submarine School. Paperback, 0.21kg, 123mm x 198mm, 206 pages. Published 2014.

    The training aid for the US Submarine fleet at the end of the Second World War, How to Pilot a Submarine gives us an idea of just what life was like underwater and the various tasks a submariner would have to do. Restricted and unavailable till now, How to Pilot a Submarine will teach you how to crash dive, how to maintain the engines and batteries of a World War Two submarine and, most importantly, how to fire the torpedoes and to deal with life underwater.

    Chapters include:

  • Development of the Submarine
  • Main Hydraulic System
  • Steering System
  • Bow & Stern Plane Systems
  • Anchor Handling
  • Fule and oil systems
  • Surface Operations
  • Diving Operations
  • Compensation
  • Patrol Routine
  • Training

    NZ$40.00 + delivery.

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    A MISSION OF HONOUR. The Royal Navy in the Pacific 1769-1997.
    By John McLean. Hardback, 160mm x 246mm, 518 pages.
    Covering more than two centuries, from Captain Cook to the handover of Hong Kong, the forty-nine chapters of A Mission of Honour deal with such diverse topics as exploration, marine surveying and charting, carrying convicts to Australia and taking New Zealand kauri spars back to Britain for the Royal Dockyards, maintaining stocks of provisions on remote islands for the benefit of shipwrecked sailors, fighting wars against the Russains, Chinese, Maori, Germans and Japanese, shipwrecks, mutiny, piracy, desertion, ceremonial, shore leave and raising the Union Jack on distant shores to create new colonies such as Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

    "Britain's gift to the Pacific has been sea power. By almost singlehandedly bringing peace, order and security to the Pacific the Royal Navy carved for itself the honour of being the most positive factor in the develpment of the peaceful trade of the world's largest ocean. A Mission of Honour tells this remarkable and uplifing story with a sharp eye for detail and a sense of adventure".

    "By its constant presence and vigilance off the coast of British Columbia the Royal Navy ensured that Canada would be a nation on two oceans, by establishing and supplying Australia's northern outposts it helped ensure that the southern continent would be a single country, by a subtle combination of persuasion and force it succeeded in eradicating cannibalism from New Zealand, Fiji and other islands, by its vital role in the Maori Wars it made New Zealand safe for settlement, by its victory in the First Opium War it enabled Britain to acquire Hong Kong and turn it into the world's greatest and most dazzling free port, by eradicating piracy from the seas around Borneo it secured the safety of honest trade in and out of Singapore and, by compiling thousands of charts of virtually every part of the Pacific, it ensured that the world's greatest ocean was made safe for mariners and known to the world. All this and much more is contained in this well researched and highly readable work of naval history".

    Was NZ$60.00 + delivery.
    Now NZ$45.00 + delivery.

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    Naval History and Tales, Page One.


    See also: Nautical History of Polar Exploration, Nautical Tales, Yarns and biographies,
    Nautical Dictionary and Sea Terms, and Patrick O'Brian

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