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James Wells "Cambyses" (KSA)
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All the King's Men [DVD]
All the King's Men [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Jason
Price: £4.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars consistant, 8 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: All the King's Men [DVD] (DVD)
Enough has been correctly stated by others about the marvellous acting ability of David Jason and the story of the Sandringham Regiment. I just wanted to add a little about the Turks generally.

My own Grandfather fought the Turks in Salonica during WW1 and almost the only thing he ever mentioned was about the behaviour of the Turks and how "They sharpened their bayonets like meat skewers".

Grandfathers unit was attacked by Turkish cavalry and there were only four survivors out of twenty five men. These were the four who were strong swimmers and able to cross a nearby swift flowing river.

What this DVD suggests about the attitudes of Turks towards prisoners in WW1 seems very consistant with their usual behaviour.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2012 11:59 AM BST


Before the Aircraft Carrier: Development of Aviation Vessels, 1849-1922
Before the Aircraft Carrier: Development of Aviation Vessels, 1849-1922
by R.D. Layman
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars naval flying, 7 Mar. 2011
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The BBC described the American Civil War as the first modern war. What they didn't mention was that the first attempts at naval "flying" occurred during the ACW when a small ship was adapted to use tethered ballons to observe the affect of artillery fire.

Even during much later WW1 aircraft were mostly expected to be used for observing the fall of shot from ships guns.

The idea of using aircraft launched from ships seems to have occurred to most of the larger naval powers in the years before WW1 and during that war, with many interesting experiments being carried out to this end. Some such as the Beardmore ship were doomed to failure but others are clearly closer to what eventually became the main stream of development.

Although the aircraft carrier has now emerged as the modern capital warship, unlike the battleship its origins are still wrapped in unpublished obscurity. This book goes a long way towards dispelling some of that obscurity


Jack Tar: Story of the British Sailor
Jack Tar: Story of the British Sailor
by John Laffin
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Tar, 7 Mar. 2011
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It's an interesting review of naval life and manages to avoid too much mention of the usual "Nelson" era.

I found the section on naval uniforms, when these were almost at the whim of the captain, most amusing. If the captain of HMS "Harlequin" dressed his crew to match the name of the ship it must have caused a great deal of hiliarity leading to the usual brawls.

Were the women on board this ship dressed as Columbine?


Court martial
Court martial
by Alastair Mars
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars one side, 7 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: Court martial (Hardcover)
Admittedly this account is only one side of the court martial action but it seems consistant with what is usually accepted as the underhand actions that the Admiralty can resort to when they think that somebody is challanging them even in an obscure way.

After a distinguished career in submarines and coping with all the upheaval and disruptions to family life due to military and naval service Lt. Commander Mars was clearly looking forward to a UK drafting and a more normal family life.

Lt Commander Mars claims that he never received a properly authorising order for his next draft and this determined his action, which eventually led to a court martial.

The Admiralty drafting regulations for officers require that a drafting order is signed by an Admiral. Lt. Commander Mars claims that he never received any such instruction or a direct order, only a routine signal from a junior civil servant. In court the civil servant was uncertain of the origins of the signal she'd simply forwarded.

One of the strategies of Admiralty was to hospitalise this officer to Netley Mental Hospital. He eventually lost the case but at the end of the book there was an appeal pending. If his version is indeed correct I hope he won.


More Victory at Sea
More Victory at Sea
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £6.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars missing soundtrack, 29 Dec. 2010
This review is from: More Victory at Sea (Audio CD)
I first heard the "Victory at Sea" music in the 1960s when it was issued on two LP records. As far as I can tell the new CDs certainly have the remastered music score but I can only admit to being disappointed.

The original LP records included some sound track from the combat actions. Missing completely from Full Fathom Five is the very realistic added soundtrack of a submarine assuming normal patrol conditions.

Other missing sound is guns firing, the only known sound track of various military weopons.

If you never heard the original soundtracks you'll probably be reasonably satisfied though.


Another Look At Atlantis, and Fifteen Other Essays
Another Look At Atlantis, and Fifteen Other Essays
by Willy Ley
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Atlantis, 27 Dec. 2010
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I first read the late Prof Leys non-fiction articles, many years ago, in a now defunct science fiction magazine. It was worth buying the magazine for the Ley articles.

This book was to give me to mild surprises. The first being that from the sheer width and numbers of his previously published articles I'd never previously appreciated that he was a zoo-ologist.

It is also well known that New Zealand was the former home of the Giant Moa bird. It never occurred to me that there were probably several smaller species as well.

For anybody looking for a good non-fiction read that is a little different than usual I thoroughly re-commend this book


The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorized The Southern Seas During The First World War
The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorized The Southern Seas During The First World War
by Richard Guilliatt
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surface Raiders, 27 Dec. 2010
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The WW1 war at sea was as bitterly fought as anywhere else but where the surface raiders were concerned the whole sea war seems to have been fought without any personal animosity. Several later raider captains were arraigned at Nuremburg and all were acquitted after considerable testimony that all prisoners ahd been treated as well as the circumstances allowed. The German doctors cared for the prisoner wounded as well as they did for their own crews.

This voyage must rank as one of the greatest sea epics of all time. It required considerable effort to keep a ship healthy and active and free from mutiny for the months the ship was at sea.

I enjoyed the potted details about the passengers. The small girl with her blonde hair and blue eyes, almost becoming the ships mascot, must have brought a smile to the face of even the most tired stoker. Most of the off duty ships company lined the deck to wave a sad farewell when she was repatriated and I can understand why.

One incorrect technical detail though. The story mentions steam turbines as a main engine but in the technical text it is piston engines. The more economical piston engines are likely for a long time at sea and these are more amenable to "crew repairs" rather than needing a dockyard.


The Ten Commandments [DVD] [1956]
The Ten Commandments [DVD] [1956]
Dvd ~ Charlton Heston
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £8.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars special effects, 27 Oct. 2010
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Probably the definitive version of the story although there is no evidence that Rameses II was ever the Pharaoh of Exodus.

The first part of the epic is well worth watching and Yul Brynner has to be the definitive pharaoh with Charlton Hston as the equivalent Moses.

Having seen the movie many years ago as a small child my main memory then and now was that in the second part Moses just kept getting greyer.


Saint-Saens: Symphony No.3 "Organ"; Bacchanale from "Samson et Dalila"; Prélude from "Le Déluge"; Danse macabre (DG The Originals)
Saint-Saens: Symphony No.3 "Organ"; Bacchanale from "Samson et Dalila"; Prélude from "Le Déluge"; Danse macabre (DG The Originals)
Price: £7.83

3 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars mislabelled?, 11 Oct. 2010
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I don't know if the packet is mislabeled or the wrong piece of music recorded but this "organ barrel symphonony" doesn't seem to be the same as my other recordings.

Otherwise the rest of the CD seems to be correct.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2011 11:41 AM BST


San Demetrio, London [DVD]
San Demetrio, London [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arthur Young
Price: £9.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic seamanship, 10 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: San Demetrio, London [DVD] (DVD)
I first heard of the "San Demetrio" in 1958 when I was at school. My late Father, who was ex MN, remarked at the time that it was the only case that he ever heard of where the shipping company never argued the final salvage money pay out to the crew.

I heard no more about this ship until the 1960s-70 programme "All Our Yesterdays", when it reported on the final torpedoing and sinking of this ship. It was almost by accident in 2010 that I learned of the Amazon DVD and it was worth a fifty year wait.

It was indeed an amazing feat of seamanship bringing in petrol that was badly needed by the UK in wartime. As another reviewer comments it is a rare feature about the MN contribution to WW2 rather than the Armed Forces.

There is one special scene which seems to have been edited out. As the "San Demetrio" sailed up the Clyde legend has it the every ship in the river, the local shipyards and factories, all sounded off their sirens. As an exhausted crew came ashore it was to cheering crowds

There seems to be one labelling error though. The DVD shows the "San Demetrio" under attack by a German surface raider although the packet states "torpedoed". Had the ship been torpedoed it would probably have sunk. Has the story of the surface raider attack and final torpedoing become confused?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2014 7:06 AM BST


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