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.

BOOK REVIEW | The Battleship Holiday – The Naval Treaties and Capital Ship Design

By Robert C Stern

This book is a very useful and comprehensive summary of the sixty year “battleship era” that ran roughly from 1895 to 1955. While it focuses on the “Battleship Holiday” of the early twenties to early thirties when various international treaties tried to control the numbers and firepower of the world’s battleships, it is much more than that.

BOOK REVIEW | Pacific Exploration – Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle

By Nigel Rigby, Pieter Van Der Merwe and Glyn Williams

This brilliantly presented and illustrated book is aimed at the general reader but is also of considerable interest to most maritime history enthusiasts. The authors are all notable maritime historians who specialise in British and Pacific exploration. Their work benefits immeasurably from its access to the priceless artworks of the National Maritime Museum Greenwich.

BOOK REVIEW | Bloody Sixteen – The USS Oriskany and Air Wing 16 during the Vietnam War

By Peter Fey

A really good book by an author who knows his subject very well. It is full of accurate history, perceptive political judgement and acute comment. It also happens to contain appropriately excellent maps, a good glossary, a useful list of abbreviations and brilliant photographs. Practically everything you could want in a history except for a timeline and a dramatis personae.

REMINISCENCES | Where the grass is always greener

The Sea is a Magic Carpet was the title of the very first book written by the distinguished marine historian Peter Padfield. He had been a deck officer with P&O, and served, amazingly, on a replica of the Pilgrim Fathers’ Mayflower which crossed the Atlantic in the early 1960s. Then, via a spell being a technical journalist he became a professional historian, and never really looked back.

FEATURE | Freedom-of-navigation operations aren’t all about the South China Sea

The recent close encounter between USS Decatur and the Chinese Luyang II–class guided-missile destroyer Lanzhou (pictured) has attracted much attention in the media. There’s little doubt that the Chinese ship created a dangerous situation in breach of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, which requires a vessel that’s overtaking another to keep out of its way until "finally past and clear".

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