7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Naval memoir: Norway 1940 to Hong Kong 1945, in "small ships",
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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.