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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naval memoir: Norway 1940 to Hong Kong 1945, in "small ships", 24 April 2011
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
The book: the author started WW2 as 'number One' of the sloop HMS Black Swan, which soon saw action in the Battle for Norway. For the next three years he spent his sea time on the East Coast convoys, known as 'the tramways' regularly up and down, escorting fifty or so ships at a time, with constant danger from the Luftwaffe, E-boats or mines. "Being mined is not particularly amusing." After Black Swan he was in command of HMS Guillemot. a corvette, strill on convoy duty; in July 1941 he commanded the old destroyer HMS Verdun, converted to an AA ship - still on convoy duty. In Guillemot and Verdum he sailed in 150 convoys!
In June 1943 he took command of HMS Ulster, a brand new Fleet class destroyer. serving in the Channel and the Med, up to and including the D-Day landings. After three-and-a-half years of continuing seagoing command Donald had reached the end of his tether and asked to be relieved of his command. In June 1945 he was appointed commander of HMS Glengyle, a troop ship/landing craft carrier, and took her to the Far East to reach Bombay when Japan surrendered. He took several hundred British prisoners from Hong Kong back home, andf the book ends when he sees them off in Colombo.

The author: Commander William Donald, DSC and bar, wrote this book in 1956. A Cumberland man, he was born in Keswick in 1910 and died in 2002.

My opinion: Excellent naval memoirs - honest, knowledgeable, well-written, by a man who was in the thick of it for much of the War. At times stirring, at times touching, this is a really good book if you want to know what it was like on small ships seeing a lot of action. Very good.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life on the Ocean Wave, 22 Dec 2010
This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
A revealing account of a small ship commander's experiences in WW2 in E-Boat Alley,Norway,Normandy's shores and the Med.It's a really good read ! The author is very honest about his mistakes.How many are like him ? Very few, I reckon.I recommend this book to all good men and true.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a brief history, 20 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
A pretty truthfull account of one mans war , refreshingly truthfull , here is a man who admits his ( few ) mistakes and gives a rarely seen view of what actually happend to a ships captain through the war .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and honest first hand account, 6 Dec 2010
By 
Aldonio Silva (Madeira, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
This is a first hand account of sea warfare by a warship commander during the WWII. I have been surprised by his simple style in telling his adventures while commanding different warships with different duties. He is in fact very honest about it all. This is very good reading and it's more than worth your money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoir of action filled service in small warships in WW2 by RN Officer, 28 Dec 2011
By 
David Lloyd (Perth, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
Highly recommended. A memoir of service on escort vessels in the thick of the action in the European theatre in WW2. The author was second in command of the sloop HMS Black Swan, seeing intensive action in Norway in 1940 and winning the DSC. Then he commanded the corvette HMS Guillemot for the first half of 1941, and the escort destroyer HMS Verdun for 2 years to mid 1943, both on the east coast. Subsequently he captained the fleet destroyer HMS Ulster, winning a second DSC for an action with German destroyers off France in October 1943 before seeing action off the Anzio and Normandy beach heads.

The author's time with the east coast convoys is particularly memorable. HMS Guillemot was a very small 580 ton 'Bird' class corvette operating with her sisters out of Harwich while HMS Verdun was a venerable V&W class destroyer converted as an AA escort with the Rosyth escort force. The escorts had a continual series of 3 day turn-arounds escorting convoys between Scotland and the Thames. These convoys consisted of 25 or 30 ships in two files, mostly ancient colliers, with 2 escorts, front and rear. The convoys followed 'the tramlines' of the narrow channel between the coast and the offshore minefields and shoals, including 'E-Boat Alley' off the East Anglian coast. The author's service coincided with the ascendancy of the E-Boats. There are vivid descriptions of night watches facing the threats of E-Boats, mines, wrecks and shoals.

The author was a career naval officer from the fraternity of Royal Navy destroyer officers. He comes across as a consumate professional and a modest and likeable man who was committed to his crews. The account was a best seller when first published in 1956.

See also Coastal Convoys 1939-1945: The Indestructible Highway, an excellent history; or East Coast Corvette, the second of the wartime corvette trilogy by Nicholas Monsarrat recounting his service as First Lieutenant on HMS Guillemot (included in Three Corvettes) (Donald doesn't mention Monsarrat so perhaps their service on the Guillemot didn't overlap; and "V.& W." Class Destroyers, 1917-45, an excellent concise history of the class.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your time!, 2 May 2014
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This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
The author saw service from the the first day of the war in Europe to the last day of war in Asia, mostly as a ships captain on sloops, frigates, destroyers and troopships, save for a 6 month stint as a brass hat. it's one of the best naval memoirs I've ever read and I've read a lot of them. You know its a good one when your sad to finish it. Only caveat is that this book could be twice as long as it actually is such is the amount of action and events described. This book was also written shortly after the war and so comes across as very genuine, unlike some of the military memoirs that are published 60 years after the event.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ulster Action, 27 Feb 2014
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Norice Millen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
The book was in excellent condition and did seem to have any of used marks that seller outlined. It arrived very promptly and in excellent condition. The book was of particular interest to me as the author - William Donald - was the first captain of HMS Ulster, my first ship many years later. As I run a website for HMS Ulster there was quite a bit of unknown information contained in the book and for which i am hoping to be able to use some on my Ulster website.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Service, 2 Jan 2011
This review is from: Stand by for Action: The Memoirs of a Small Ship Commander in World War II (Paperback)
Came quickly (Despite all the trouble with the snow in Scotland) well packaged and in great condition. Would recommend seller. No idea if the book was good as it was a present for my grandad!
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