BOOK REVIEW | The Scrap Iron Flotilla: Five Valiant Destroyers and the Australian War in the Mediterranean

Sydney-based retired journalist and broadcaster Mike Carlton has become a prolific author of first-rate books on Australian naval history. This, his latest effort, maintains his high standard.

Carlton has so far chosen interesting subjects, usually those that are slowly becoming forgotten with the passage of time, but just needing resuscitation. This is a great, well-written and gripping example.

It relates the story of the Royal Australian Navy’s old, small, and worn-out flotilla of five World War I vintage destroyers that were despatched to the Mediterranean to assist the British in the early desperate days of Word War II. This very personalised account describes how the little ships and the men who worked, fought in, and commanded them made a disproportionately outstanding contribution to the Allied war effort. Their practically continuous and very arduous activity is described in an unusually exciting manner.

It is a very readable book about a part of RAN history that was in need of an updated telling.

Author: Mike Carlton

Available from William Heinemann, Sydney, Australia.


Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone. A globally recognised expert on ferry safety, his doctoral thesis “Fatal Ferry Accidents, Their Causes and Prevention”, is still widely considered to be the bible on the subject.