2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A REMARKABLE WW2 NAVAL MEMOIR,
This review is from: A Home on the Rolling Main (Paperback)
I read Ditcham's midshipman's log at the Imperial War Museum some years ago (he served on the same ship as my grandfather) and I was delighted to read this far more extensive account of a young officer's war at sea. There are many WW2 naval memoirs and this one, like many others, illustrates the selfless courage of British service personnel throughout several years of grueling combat. Ditcham's overwhelmingly out-gunned destroyer was, for example, in action against Scharnhorst at point blank range. And survived. Unlike Scharnhorst.
Ditcham's account has three great additional virtues. First, the book is richly illustrated, generally with previously unseen photographs and drawings. Secondly, the book is very well written, with great insight into naval warfare and the psychology of men in combat. It is also, on occasion, very funny. And thirdly, the book is deeply moving. Written decades after the completion of his naval service (but with his midshipman's log and other reference sources to hand) the book captures the awful randomness of death in war, the surprising moments of human contact and kindness that sustained men at sea and also, the depth of relationships that began amongst young naval personnel but that went on to last a lifetime.
This is an extraordinary book, written by an extraordinary man and a fine writer. It deserves to find a very wide audience.