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3.8 out of 5 stars
12
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 31 August 2012
A brief memoir of two trans Atlantic voyages by Royal Navy (RN) anti-submarine escorts in the latter years of WW2. The author captained the ships. The first westward voyage delivered a River class frigate HMS Ettrick to be handed over to the Canadian Navy. The voyage marked the author's return to the Atlantic after several years on coastal convoys and the book well captures the shift from the early war years when the U-Boats were the hunters to the later war years when the escorts had the upper hand. Much of the book's interest is as a rare memoir of service on a River Class Frigate (for a history of this class see River-class Frigates and the Battle of the Atlantic). The second eastward voyage was in a newly commissioned US built Colony class destroyer escort/frigate. In between the author and his crew spent 8 months in the USA.

This is an easy read - more an extended magazine article than a book. It was published in 1946. Like the author's other works this is wartime writing which remains fresh. The author wrote the famous novel The Cruel Sea and three wartime memoirs of service in corvettes in the Royal Navy. He indicates that he was only the second RNVR officer to command an RN frigate. There is a vivid episode where the Frigate is despatched far from the first convoy to search for an SOS signal and discovers the stern half of a merchant ship floating at a 45 degree angle in a snow storm with no sign of life. The book has an insightful description of contemporary American life that prefigures modern western culture.

Because of its brevity the book has no notable advantages compared to other similar memoirs. Only recommended to those seeking a complete collection of such memoirs, if it can be found at a very modest price. The author's other wartime writing Three Corvettes is much to be preferred.
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on 21 July 2013
I really admire Monsarrat's writing and recommend this book HM Frigate if you liked The Cruel Sea,for example.
There is a picture of the author in unifom with medal ribbon bearing oakleaves,which signifies the award of Mentioned in Dispatches.
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on 10 February 2015
Rather poor. Too much of the book is spent talking about his time spent in the USA. I wanted to read about his time spent in HM Frigate.
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on 19 August 2015
Interesting but ends rather abruptly. Too much of book devoted to English view of 1940s America and not enough sea time
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on 11 March 2015
Fantastic story by a brilliant story teller. Vividly brought the time and the people to life on each page.
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on 2 June 2015
Disappointing, not up to Nicholas Monsarrat normal standard.
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on 10 October 2015
really good read from the master of maritime melodrama.....
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on 2 December 2015
What you expect from the man who wrote Cruel Sea
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on 22 February 2015
great story tol be an expert
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on 6 November 2015
Excellent in every way!
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