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Through Fire and Water: HMS "Ardent" - The Forgotten Frigate of the Falklands War Paperback – 5 Apr 2007
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About the Author
Mark Higgitt is a forty-eight-year-old journalist who lives in South Warwickshire with his wife. They have two daughters.
Top Customer Reviews
This is the story of young men serving their country on a ship that was both happy and professional, that fought hard and valiantly to protect the troops landing onto the Falklands on the 21 May 1982 before, in the space of 22 minutes, being hit by bombs from Argentine aircraft no less than 17 times and therfore having to be abandoned to later sink in Falkland Sound. Focussing on the people that made the ship work and not the politics of the Falklands conflict the story telling is fast, informative and real. 22 lives were lost, many more of the crew were wounded both physically and emotionally. Real people from all walks of life averaging no more than 23 years old at the time of the conflict. Today, most of the crew are civilians but each year we gather in Plymouth to remember the fallen and celebrate the ship. But each year the memories of our brief encounter with the enemy keep our tales of bravery, foolhardiness and high sprits firmly to the fore. I recommend this book to Amazon readers as it is a true account of a brave ship, forgotten by the British public because of the short term memory that comes with modem media coverage. Add to this the short sightedness of the military enquiry board of the time and the name Ardent becomes only a proud memory for its survivors, friends and the families of the fallen. Read the book - you will be proud of the ship and its crew too, I promise.
As someone who was familiar with the ship and knew some of those who died, I read this book with great anticipation and was not disappointed. If you ever wanted to find out how ordinary people deal with life-threatening situations and with the aftermath, then this book is a good place to start.
There are a few minor technical inaccuracies, but they do not detract from the narrative. My one main criticism is that there is no diagram of the ship's layout. Anyone unfamiliar with the Type 21 frigate would struggle to orientate themselves - then again, maybe that was the author's intent - to put the reader in the same position as the crew as they fought fires in compartments turned to scrap by Argentinian bombs.
All too often books on war gloss over the day to day detail of warfighting, skip the build-up, concentrate on a few people to tell the whole story. Real life isn't like that - there is lots of detail, there are lots of people. A Royal Navy warship doesn't carry 200 people for the fun of it; they all have jobs, they are all necessary, and for once here is a book that tries to tell the story of a great number of them.
As a result we have a good meaty book that will provide many days of reading, rewards re-reading and gives you a real feeling for the sheer horror of what that crew went through. There are pages to make you laugh out loud, others to bring you to the brink of tears and others to make you angry - angry at the government that procured a type of ship so poorly defended, angry at the government that allowed the war to happen, and angry that so many young men did not return.
Richie Gough's review ends by saying that this book will make you proud of the ship and her crew. He is right. I am.
Notably one of the complaints about the hardcover edition - the lack of any drawing showing the ship's layout - has been dealt with by the addition of such a diagram. It is, however, at the back of the book!
He does a good job of putting the reader into events so they can sense at least some of the controlled (and uncontrolled) chaos as well as the perceptions and feelings of those involved. But he also reminds us that as an outsider he was only given access to those memories his subjects were willing or able to share even now. The emotional and personal costs of war are graphically demonstrated, even for those considered survivors. It is indeed a shame that no-one took the time to tell the crew what a good job they had done.
There are inevitable gaps - no doubt some crewmembers were uncontactable or did not wish to participate in this work. But, especially for those who have never served in a Type 21 or even the Navy, the most glaring is the lack of any drawings. Whilst the descriptions are good, a line drawing of the ship's interior would be immensely helpful for the lay reader to understand more clearly where people and events are located. Even if official drawings are unavailable, I'm sure that those individuals who contributed to the story could have provided sufficiently accurate drawings for inclusion in the book. Perhaps this was an editorial choice rather than an omission by the author?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read brings back memories of my service on 3 of the Type 21 Frigates including the Falklands War.Published 13 months ago by Devon lad
Enjoyed most of this unusual book which is anecdotal non-fiction - seeking to tell all the stories of all the individual sailors (and others) on board HMS Ardent as she protected... Read morePublished 14 months ago by C P Currier
Very good condition. Purchased for my father as we had a relative who served on Ardent and this book was recommended. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Lorraine Kearney
Shows again how Britain sends its people into action with did equipmentPublished 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting book,once you got into it. I liked the follow up over the years on how the crew dealt with their problems. Read morePublished 23 months ago by K L Renders
Quite extensive knowledge but to many nicknames and abbreviationsPublished 24 months ago by Robert Smith
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