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on 19 June 2016
Well written account of 'Unbeaten' service in World War 2 and it's loss on 11th November 1942, most probably from 'friendly 'fire' from a Wellington Bomber assuming that they were attacking a U boat. The book's strengths are that the writer has contacted descendants of the men who perished, has served for a long term in the Royal Navy, manages to describes the technical aspects of submarine warfare, and presents a whole history of the submarine from being built until being lost at sea. A fair amount of background detail about members of the crew and a prisoner of war they captured also emerge.
It's always useful to have a reminded that 1941 and 1942 saw real threats to Britain losing the war. The writer stresses that the German failure at the Battle of Britain initially saw Operation Sea Lion postponed to Spring 1941 , not cancelled . Whilst Roosevelt was of the opinion that Britain couldn't defeat Germany and Germany would take British possessions in the Caribbean . And the history of 'Unbeaten' was so bound to the Siege of Malta, which was very nearly a British defeat, and the men serving with 'Unbeaten' made a vital contribution to saving the island. The author also can recount facts about how other World War 2 submarines fought and were sometimes lost .
As a one time resident of Hove, I was familiar with the fact that Hove had adopted 'Unbeaten' during the local 'Warship Week' of 14th March -24th March 1942 and raised over half a million pounds for the submarine.
There was a sense of anti-climax towards the end when it's revealed that the official report from the Court of Inquiry into the submarine's loss and embargoed until 1972, is no longer available, I can't be the only reader was hoping that something more conclusive could be unearthed by the author. Yes David Smith details the case for and against the contention that 'Unbeaten' was the submarine that was attacked by the Wellington bomber of 11th November 1942. But a conclusion may never be reached.
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It has been so nice to find out about British submarine operations during WW2, and especially the expoloits of the crew of Unbeaten. A well thought out and well written book that includes letters and messages from the crew members (one of whom is related to the author) it is a great story, almost hard to believe that it is all factual, but along with a lot of actual accounts of wartime actions it reads like a Hollywood blockbuster. Which brings me on to the ending, I don't mind that the end of the book has been made up, it has to be as no one knows what happened to the Unbeaten and while the way the book closes is certainly believeable there is something that jars me, I would have preferred a summary of what is known rather than the speculation. But htat is my niggle and entirely why it lost a star. For anyone wnating to learn more about the Allied submariners of WW2 this is a very interesting read.
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on 25 May 2017
A most interesting read, a fine tribute to the many men "still on patrol".
Their bravery and sacrifice is what makes the Royal Navy what it is.
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on 19 May 2017
As a retired submariner and history graduate I really enjoy finding out about the history and heritage of the RN submariner service. This book ticks all the boxes giving an insight into life onboard a WW2 British submarine, both operationally and socially. Fully recommended.
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on 16 April 2017
A fitting tribute to those brave all in defence of our country, beliefs and way of life. We shall not forget them
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on 28 February 2014
A good read, having served in submarines during the cold war there were many things in the book I could relate to.
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on 27 December 2012
An informative and enjoyable book which is the result of the author's painstaking research, combined in many areas with his own in-depth knowledge of the Submarine Service. It addresses the service and demise of one of the submarines that served at Malta during the dark days of World War 2, when for Great Britain little was going well, and for the island of Malta there was a never ending attack by enemy forces. The author has provided a clear insight into the activities of the boat and how its crew responded to the deadly 'cat and mouse' operations in the Mediterranean.
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on 10 January 2013
Having read a number of similar books
would urge anyone interested in books on British
wartime submarines to read this one!
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on 28 May 2015
I have only got to chapter 3 but I am disappointed with it'scotent so far.
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on 13 December 2012
This is a well researched and well written work and will be of great interest to anyone with a family connection to the crew of the submarine UNBEATEN which was lost during the Second World War. My father was a member of the crew who sacrificed their lives and it certainly answered many questions for me.It must also be of interest to anyone interested in Second World War Naval History.
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