REMINISCENCES | A mixed bag of masters

When you first joined a ship, one of the first questions you would ask was “who is the master?” It mattered because the attitude of the Old Man would colour the whole complexion of a voyage, and on two year articles, a long voyage with somebody who thought that the captain of the USS Caine was an old softy, was best avoided.

BOOK REVIEW | The Submarine Commander Pocket Manual 1939-1945

Edited by Chris McNab

Your reviewer has known and talked with two of Britain’s better-known submarine captains of World War II. They were very interesting men and more Nelsonian or Cochraneish in their approach to warfare than many of their surface navy counterparts except, of course, their MTB and MGB captain brethren. Their philosophy was very much one of “go at ‘em”.

BOOK REVIEW | Empire of the Winds – The Global Role of Asia’s Great Archipelago

By Philip Bowring

This is a very important book by one of Asia’s foremost and bravest journalists. The author is descended from one of Britain’s most famous shipping families. He read history at Cambridge and has since spent most of his career in South-East Asia where he has been very thoroughly immersed in the region’s history and present. He is a long-time student of the history and economy of maritime Asia.

BOOK REVIEW | How Carriers Fought – Carrier Operations in World War II


By Lars Celander

Presenting exactly what its cover describes, this fine book tells the reader how the aircraft carrier concept developed at the end of World War I. It proceeds to describe their rapid development by the British, Americans and Japanese between the wars. That development, of course, was accelerated by the simultaneous and very rapid development of fighter aircraft.

REMINISCENCES | Special cargo

On our Commonwealth cargo liners, amid the run of the mill general cargo outbound and foodstuffs back, we would carry a fair amount of “specials” – cargo that required additional security because of its exceptional value.

BOOK REVIEW | Deep Time Dreaming – Uncovering Ancient Australia


By Billy Griffiths

A fascinating and impressively objective record of the development of archaeology in Australia since its effective birth in the late 1950s. It shows how far the subject has come from when the question used to be asked: “Is there anything really old that is worth looking for?” – to the discovery of human existence in the country since as much as 65,000 years ago.

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