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Signalman Jones: Based on the Recollections of Geoffrey Holder-Jones Paperback – 25 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Seafarer Books (25 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906266212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906266219
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Lloyd on 20 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Highly recommended. An engaging and very readable account of the eventful service career of a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) officer spanning World War 2. Most of this service was on anti-submarine trawlers and whalers in the Atlantic. The subject, Geoffrey Holder-Jones, comes across as a very likeable, admirable and modest man. He rose from signalman in the pre-war Depression-era Liverpool Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) to captain of an anti-submarine trawler. Most of the book covers his time as Sub-Lieutenant on the anti-sub whaler Wastwater convoying ships around Iceland and the east coast of America. Holder-Jones was a participant in 2 key events; the disarming of one of the first German magnetic mines so that its secrets could be combatted, and the surrender and capture of the U-Boat U-570. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the King for the first event.

The book gives a balanced view of the Atlantic war; it cites some of the horrors and the strain which resulted in the breakdown of Wastwater's captain. The book can be read in a single sitting and leaves the reader wishing it had been longer. My quibble is that the book, as a biography, could have set aside some of the modesty which is becoming in an autobiography, and provided a fuller account of the subject's successes. A fine book.

The book Atlantic Odyssey by Michael Thwaites, a shipmate of Geoffrey Holder-Jones (and later a director in the Australian equivalent of MI5), also covers the voyages of the anti-submarine whaler Wastwater around the Atlantic (Thwaites joined the Wastwater as First Lieutenant sometime after Holder-Jones did).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S H on 22 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Geoffrey Holder-Jones' fascinating and varied experiences in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War are vividly brought to life by author Tim Parker. Following a chance meeting the writer and author have worked together to narrate and interpret the events of sixty years ago in an entertaining and easy to read style.
I recommend this new book to anyone interested in naval and wartime history told with a personal touch.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Garbutt on 3 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Not a celeb in sight .... oooh how refreshing and pleasurable to read a beautifully balanced true short story about one of the quiet heroes of the 20th century... Signalman Jones a man who spent his long life helping others expecting little or nothing in return. Well Done Tim Parker ... greatly looking forward to your next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Seaweed on 10 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
'Signalman Jones' by Tim Parker (Seafarer Books, ppbk £9.95).

" ... Wet and worry about our ways--
Panic, onset and flight--
Had us in charge for a thousand days
And thousand-year-long night.

We saw more than the nights could hide--
More than the waves could keep--
And--certain faces over the side
Which do not go from our sleep.

We were more tired than words can tell
While the pied craft fled by,
And the swinging mounds of the Western swell
Hoisted us Heavens-high..."
-
Kipling, "The Changelings"

Which, although written as a tribute to the RNVR officers in the Kaiser's War, applies equally to their successors in landing craft, coastal forces and the Battle of the Atlantic a quarter of a century later.

Geoffrey Holder-Jones, born in 1915, was one of these. Fortuitously Tim Parker (only 18 years his junior) met him in 2008 at a dinner at Lancing College to mark its wartime use as HMS King Alfred, in which role it produced twenty thousand RNVR officers, mostly selected from Hostilities-Only ratings. Parker was so enthralled by Jones' dits that he embarked on a project to bring Jones' story for publication (in 2010), and now we are the beneficiaries. I asked for a copy for review after seeing the book mentioned in Jones' obituary in November 2011. The book is written as if it were Jones' autobiography. Parker was also RNVR and did his National Service in the Navy and so is able to serve up the story without a single solecism, which makes for easy reading.

Jones was already an enthusiastic RNVR signalman when the war started, having joined as a weekend sailor in 1933 to mitigate the misery of a demeaning and boring job in a Liverpool drapery store.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave Bridges on 15 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was transported to another time on the high seas. The experiences in the Arctic were quite remarkable and brought to life by the writing. A very good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Wallbank on 31 May 2011
Format: Paperback
This excellent book by Tim Parker is an important contribution to the History of Naval Warfare in WW2. It is based on the recollections of Geoffrey Holder-Jones who joined the Royal Navy as a Signalman in 1933. Central to the story are the details of the vital and perhaps unsung role played by the crews of armed anti-submarine Trawlers in the battle of the Atlantic. In contrast to the continuous bravery of the Trawler crews in the most atrocious and dangerous conditions possible are the recollections of the enjoyable time spent in New York while his trawler is undergoing repairs. The book is full of information for example I didn't know that in the North Atlantic the weather gets worse the further west one goes. The descriptions of ships icing up in Canadian ports in mid winter are terrifying. Holder-Jones later served as a pilot at the D-Day landings. After war service he became a School Teacher and later a Headmaster.
His is a story well worth telling and in many ways is an important social document.
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