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
  • HMAS Canberra
  • Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
  • The Tattie Lads
  • Able Seamen
  • Empire of the Seas
  • Empire of the Deep
  • In Which They Served
  • HMS Victory. Pocket Manual 1805
  • Sea Devils
  • Hidden Warships
  • How to Pilot a Submarine
  • Final Voyage
  • A Mission of Honour
  • Sydney Cipher and Search

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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.

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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.

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    By Kathryn Spurling. Paperback, 0.45kg, 165mm x 240mm, 255 pages, black and white images. Published in 2016.
    This is the story of HMAS Canberra from from the time the ship was commissioned in 1928 to the last terrifying moments when HMAS Canberra’s fate was sealed.

    Some may know the fate of HMAS Canberra on 9 August 1942 in a war ravaged Pacific Ocean. World War II was in full force and it was about to overwhelm those on-board the Australian Navy cruiser. But the events that lead to Canberra’s demise on that dark night are not so well known until now. A tribute to the 84 men whose lives were lost, this book tells their stories and those of the men who survived. All share their motivations for joining the Navy and tell what it was like on-board.

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    By Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger. Paperback, 0.25kg, 140mm x 215mm, 246 pages, black and white and colour images. Published in 2015.
    Only weeks after President Jefferson's inauguration in 1801, he decided to confront the Tripoli pirates who had been kidnapping American ships and sailors, among other outrageous acts. Though inclined toward diplomacy, Jefferson sent warships to blockade Tripoli and protect American shipping, and then escalated to all-out war against the Barbary states.

    The tiny American flotilla—with three frigates representing half of the U.S. Navy’s top-of-the-line ships—had some success in blockading the Barbary coast. But that success came to an end when the USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor and was captured. Kilmeade and Yaeger recount the dramatic story of a young American sailor, Stephen Decatur, who snuck into the harbor, boarded the Philadelphia, and set her on fire before escaping amid a torrent of enemy gunfire.

    Few remember Decatur and Eaton today, but their legacy inspired the opening of the Marine Corps Hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land, and sea.

    Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates tells a dramatic story of bravery, diplomacy, and battle on the high seas, and honors some of America’s forgotten heroes

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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.

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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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    Admiral Nelson's Warship at Trafalgar. By Peter Goodwin. Hardback, 0.21kg, 125mm x 188mm, 157 pages. Line Drawings. Published 2015.

    A history of life on board HMS Victory, the world's most famous warship. In the HMS Victory Pocket Manual, author Peter Goodwin adopts a fresh approach to explain the workings of the only surviving ‘line of battle’ ship of the Napoleonic Wars. And, as Victory was engaged in battle during only two per cent of her active service, the book also provides a glimpse into life and work at sea during the other ninety-eight per cent of the time.

    This book presents answers to questions such as: ‘What types of wood were used in building Victory?’; ‘What was Victory’s longest voyage?’; ‘How many shots were fired from her guns at Trafalgar?’; ‘How many boats did Victory carry?’; ‘What was prize money?’; ‘What was grog?’; ‘When did her career as a fighting ship end?’, and ‘How many people visit Victory each year?’. It gives a full history of the world's most famous warship through a highly accessible pocket-book format. The book Includes a pertinent and varied selection of contemporary documents and records to explain the day-to-day running of a three-decker Georgian warship.

    The leading historian of the sailing man of war, Peter Goodwin was technical and historical advisor to HMS Victory in Portsmouth for more than 20 years, and is in a unique position to investigate and interpret not only the ship’s structure but also the essential aspects of shipboard life: victualling, organisation, discipline, domestic arrangements and medical care.

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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.

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    ByNicholas A Veronico. Hardback, 0.71kg, 160mm x 235mm, 256 pages.Colour and Black & White Photgraphs. Published 2015.

    As close as you can get to the world's warship wrecks without getting your feet wet.

    Sunk by enemy fire, scuttled, or run aground, the number of World War II-era battleships, cruisers, submarines, and other warships that ended their service on the bottom of the world's oceans and seas is enormous. In the decades since the conflict, wreck hunters have pored over historical records and combed the world's oceans to find their remains.

    In Hidden Warships, naval historian Nicholas A. Veronico details the history, recovery, and preservation of these sunken combat ships—including accounts from the divers and restorers who have worked with them. Beginning with the Japanese midget submarines that attacked Pearl Harbor and continuing through into the modern era, including the 2006 sinking of the postwar aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, Veronico provides rich detail on each noteworthy vessel, including over 150 photographs, ship specifications, geographic coordinates, and more. For the enthusiast who wants an even more complete experience, the book concludes with a list of preserved ships, an Internet resource guide, and a suggested reading list to continue the exploration.

    Whether you plan on visiting these historic sites yourself or simply enjoy their compelling stories, this book will guide you, above the surface and underwater, through some of the most famous relics of World War II naval warfare.

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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

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    By Jonathan Eyers. Paperback, 0.15kg, 128mm x 198mm, 191 pages. Published 2013.
    Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, but in terms of loss of life that catastrophe doesn't even figure as one of the 50 worst maritime disasters of the last three hundred years. The causes of disaster are legion: besides icebergs and enemy torpedoes, ships have been sunk by fire, explosion, flooding, capsizing, storms, collisions and human error.
    Ships featured include:
  • Wilhelm Gustloff - how history forgot the 10,000 killed
  • Lancastria - why Britian's worst disaster was covered up
  • Mont Blanc - the ship that destroyed a city
  • Sultana - triump and tragedy on the Mississippi
  • Doña Paz - the deadliest disaster in living memory
    With disasters from all over the world, these are stories of the people - whether they lived or died - as well as the ships. They are stories of tragedy, war, heroism and cowardice, greed and sacrifice. Only for the lucky few were they also stories of rescue and survival.

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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".

    NZ$60.00 + delivery.

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    By Captain Peter Hore. Paperback, 135mm x 215mm, 314 pages, monochrome and full coulor photographs.
    In November 1941 the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney, with a crew of 645, disappeared off Western Australia. Shipwrecked German sailors told an incredible tale of how their ship, a lighlty armoured merchant raider, had sunk the pride of the Australian navy. Almost at once conspiracy theories sprang up to explain the tragic loss of the ship and so many lives. Based on the author's decryption and interpretation of German coded accounts, interviews with survivors from the raider, Kormoran, and other research, this book tells - insofar as it can ever be known - what really happened in the desperate fight to the death between two ships, whose wrecks were finally located in March 2008.
    Captain Peter Hore is a former head of Defence Studies for the Royal Navy and, among other appointments, is chairman of the research committee of the Society for Nautical Research. As a naval historian, he has been researching the loss of HMAS Sydney since 1999. Since completing this book he has been appointed an expert witness to the Australian government's Commission of Inquiry into the loss of HMAS Sydney.

    NZ$41.00 + 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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