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A Reluctant Hero: The Life of Captain Robert Ryder VC [Kindle Edition]

Richard Hopton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £19.99
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Book Description

This is the first biography of Captain Robert Ryder V.C., Royal Navy (1908-1986), one of the greatest naval heroes of the Second World War. Ryder led the audacious raid on St Nazaire in March 1942 which completely destroyed the port’s dry dock, depriving the German’s mighty pocket battleships of its use for the remainder of the war. The raid was one of the most brilliantly-executed combined operations of the war, much of the credit for which must go to Ryder’s outstanding planning and courageous leadership. He received one of five Victoria Crosses awarded for the operation.

Although Ryder’s name will be forever linked with the raid on St Nazaire, the rest of his war service was no less distinguished. Torpedoed in a ‘Q’ ship in 1940 he was rescued after clinging to a piece of wreckage for four days. After St Nazaire, he was heavily involved in the planning of combined operations and took part in the ill-fated raid on Dieppe. On ‘D’ Day he lead a naval assault party in the first wave of the invasion. For the rest of the war Ryder commanded a destroyer on the Arctic convoys.

Ryder’s naval career before the war was, as The Times put it on his death, unorthodox. In 1933-34 he, as captain, and four other young naval officers sailed the Tal-Mo-Shan, a 54 food ketch, from Hong Kong to England via the Panama Canal in a voyage lasting exactly a year, an outstanding achievement. Recently there has been press speculation that the voyage was a cover for naval espionage in Japanese waters. The Tal-Mo-Shan herself has now acquired international celebrity as a result of her sail-on part in the Abba film Mamma Mia. Between 1934 and 1937 Ryder served in the Antarctic as captain of the Penola, the base ship of the British Graham Lane Expedition. His formidable navigation and seamanship was largely responsible for the Penola, which was ill-adapted to polar conditions, surviving her ordeal intact. Ryder also took part in some of the earliest ocean yacht races, including the second Fastnet race in 1926.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2298 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword (29 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091WB5AM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,297 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Naval History 21 Feb. 2012
This was the first book that I have read by Richard Hopton and I hope he writes many more. Very well researched,interesting and entertaining and indeed difficult to put down. It was sad that Ryder VC an incredible and very brave sailor later found Parliament and the Retail Business difficult. In my opinion this book is a must for anyone who enjoys reading naval or military history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why we won the war. 29 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I knew of the actions that this man was involved in but not his name which is not surprising given his nature and explained by the title. One cannot fail to be staggered by Ryders casual acceptance of injury and death that went hand in hand with the operations he planned and took part in. The only real surprise is that he survived the most dangerous actions pretty much unscathed, if you have a guardian angel you have to hope it is like his. His other roles behind the scenes are no less fantastic. The book is well written with clear descriptions of plans and action. It is no wonder that with people like Ryder on our side we were able to defeat the Germans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life well lived 10 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An inspiring story of courage and adventure. I recommend this biography to anyone interested in the sea, the second world war or a life well lived.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one hell of life 12 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
What an incredibly interesting life Robert Ryder led.
You think its a slow start, but this shows what a comitted person wih pure determination can achieve against all the odds.
It is an inspiration to us all in this modern selfish world we live in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Tone:
Format:Kindle Edition
What a wonderful person this man must have been, and so much he achieved in life both for himself and for the Country. A very enjoyable story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the most enjoyable books I have read this year. An incredible life story of one of the heros of WWII. He was a man who led from the front and had the capacity to inspire others to achieve great things. If you are interested in naval history, sailing or Antartic exploration all between one cover, it is difficult to think of a better beautifully written book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 24 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
one word describes this book -excellent. a truly amazing
account of the life of a remarkable and adventurous navy man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Times 10 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The classic concept of an Englishman..self effacing, brave, resourceful and what an amazing love and passion for the sea !!
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