Monday, September 7, 2009

Destroyer: An Anthology of First-hand Accounts of the War at Sea 1939-1945

By Ian Hawkins
552 pages Conway Maritime Press Ltd 2005 978-1844860081
“All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the HMS Cavalier (Chatham) Trust, set up to save and restore the sole remaining Second World War British destroyer.”
The Royal Navy’s B Class destroyers were an example of the interwar destroyer construction program with the nine ships of this program were in the thick of the fighting through the entire war. Royal Navy destroyers suffered a horrific attrition rate from aircraft attack during the war as they were almost devoid of anti-aircraft weaponry. Planning in the 1920s and 1930s by most of the world’s navies was for a major fleet action to be fought in the manner of 1916’s Battle of Jutland with little regard to the menace of the aircraft.
There is no more vivid and poignant account than one at first hand, and Editor Ian Hawkins has done a fine job of compiling anecdotal and historical evidence to make this a fine addition to the historical record. This work should be a must read for serious readers of naval history.

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