on 21 June 2009
A very good read particularly for those, like me, who served in Destroyers in peace time. Hill comes over as a "Loose Cannon"but a great leader in those trying times. The onset of his "Illness" through the stresses of command are candidly told, and felt throughout the ships company. all in all, anyone who has been to sea in a warship, will recognise life aboard a compact, tight, sometimes uncomfortable vessel on duty, who is unable to see the whole picture, but none the less carry on in the best traditions of the service. Thank you Captain Hill for your insight. Recommended.
on 5 September 2011
For those of us who have never had to live and fight through a war, it is books like this that help us appreciate what it was like. The delivery of the tanker Ohio to Malta must have been one of the critical turning points of the war, and it's especially interesting to hear from one who participated. The narrative is a description of life on an RN destroyer during World War II, told from the captain's viewpoint, and covering some varied actions. Despite the vivid storytelling of Roger Hill, it's difficult for us to really comprehend the continual tension that he and his crew must have lived under. Given the tendency for British understatement and "stiff upper lip" in his generation, the reality was probably even worse than he conveys in his narrative. It seems that the achievement he really strove for was promotion to Commander, and because he was so busy fighting the war, nobody in authority helped ensure that his achievements reached the right ears to deliver it.
In the introduction he notes that his original manuscript was twice as long, and the story of his career preceding his first command appointment was cut. What a shame. That part of his career would surely have made reading as interesting, and been a valuable contribution to that period of naval history.
on 18 November 2012
My Father served under this Captain during the operation 'Pedestal' and states that he was an amazing man to serve under, his thoughts were always for the care of his men and those serving on other ships. This has given me a great insight into my Father's war years as I can still ask questions of him and I have gained great respect for both him and my Dad!!
on 14 June 2011
I don't quite know what to make of this book. It was an interesting read, but I'm not sure what the motivation for writing it was. To me the story of the destruction of the Charybdis epitomises the dilemma. It can be hard to be proved right in the face of official opposition, and unpopular too. I can therefore imagine that some would find this story embarrassing while others would be likely to dismiss it as a one sided view. Even the account of the stress he was under at times to me did not seem to balance perspectives. It would be interesting to find other first-hand accounts of some of the key incidents.