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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 April 2001
I have read this book with great interest and was very impressed with the way that the thoughts and views of ordinary seaman were reflected. From snippets like the casual dress code aboard, which shocked officers and men from smaller ships and the tale of the young east-ender and his £1 note wrapped in a Durex to preserve his cash if he went overboard. It gets into the very soul of the men aboard and what made them such a formidable fighting force. I am also glad that it states unequivacally that HMS Warspite was the first ship to open fire at the Normandy landings. My father served aboard at the time and had always insisted that this was the case. He was also rightly proud of the ship's gunnery achievements which are catalogued in the book. The book also has many illustrations that have been culled from the albums of HMS Warspite's serving officers and men. In summary the book offers a thrilling insight into perhaps the most illustrious warship of all time.
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on 23 December 2010
Definitely! What other ship fought with such distinction and prowess through two World Wars? This "Superdreadnought" fought at Jutland and appeared in every naval theatre in the Second World War. It's gun accuracy was formidable, its 15 inch guns hit an Italian battleship at over 26,000 yards (still a record) and as a consequence caused the Italian fleet to turn back. The actions at the second battle of Narvik, Calibria and Matapan are the stuff of legends. Its resiliance was also amazing, at Jutland it was hit 15 times by shells of at least 12 inch callibre and one of the first guided missiles in the Second World War. King George V when chivied to go to lunch by Beatty was not amused when he was inspecting Warspite's damage and its crew's wellbeing. At Normandy it was still under repair when called upon to use its devastating guns, but note there was a tug alongside to help out if needed. Disgracefully, this ship should have been preserved but was sadly scrapped. Yes there were the Iowas, Yamato, Bismark and so on but none of these achieved what Warspite did.
This book portrays the above with great narrative much of it first hand and many photos that I had not seen before.
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on 27 April 2014
This is a must buy for fans of Naval History from the beginning of the great war era to the sad demise of this fine fine ship.

This is without a doubt, the finest ship to have ever sailed in the British fleet, the most battle honours and the most damage were flung her way, and still she survived until the bureaucrats ended her long and illustrious life.

Amongst other things she survived Jutland, naval arms limitations, collision, bombing that left huge double decker bus sized hole in her keel, D Day bombardment and still fought on with a damaged turret and a concrete patch in her hull. All these events went to prove her reputation of being the "Grand Old Lady" of the seas.

A complete history of the name Warspite lies in these pages, a biography of the Queen Elizabeth class HMS Warpite, and a short history of the Nuclear Submarine that was her successor.

Go get this and read it with pride.
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on 19 January 2014
A fascinating and moving history of a warship. As I'm no expert, I can't really compare this book against the genre, really.
However, I found it a very readable, detailed, and ultimately, moving book,- describing her rather sad end on a Cornish beach.
Even if war or history books aren't your thing; give it a try. You may be surprised how interesting a read this book is.
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on 27 May 2011
The career of the HMS Warspite is unique in the history of Battleships.
Having served with distinction in both world wars she can lay claim to
being probably the only battleship to have been worth the cost of her

Ian Ballantyne's book is a very detaied accoucnt of this remarkable ships
life and is well worth the investment.

Even if you are familiar with Warspite's story you will learn a lot more
from reading this book.
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on 22 January 2011
Considering the time this book covers, from early 1915 until the ships final destruction 40 odd years later this ship had a rather eventful life. She managed to fight the Germans in both world wars, as well as the Italians in the second, she even tried to pick a fight with the Japanese. Between the wars she fought herself, being involved in the Invergordon Mutiny. Finally she fought the breakers yard and chose a sea burial instead.
However the book covers more than just this ship it covers all eight Warspites that seen service in the Royal Navy, and includes a mention of the nuclear powered sunmarine Warspite's involvement in the Falklands conflict.
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on 3 September 2012
I've been interested in the Royal Navy since I was a child. A member of our family went down with the Hood when she sank, and different family members have all served in the Royal Navy. As a result of all this, I've always liked anything to do with the Royal Navy, and in particular, her battleships, and battlecruisers.
Iain Ballantyne's book on the Warspite is a thoroughly enjoyable read about the Grand Old Lady herself.
In different builds she served from the First World War, through to the end of the Second World War, before being scrapped in 1947.
Warspite always seemed to have bad luck, and problems with her steering were to plague her throughout her illustrious life, but by the same token, she was also loved by most of her crew members, and that does come through the book itself.
An excellent book to dip into, mixed together with many photographs, easilly recommended to any lover of the Royal Navy.
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on 10 May 2016
An absorbing read giving an insightful look onto the trials and tribulations of this historic warship. A very poignant final chapter recording the sad end to a magnificent fighting vessel that deserved so much more respect from a grateful nation but received so little from the government it represented!
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on 9 April 2011
This book is shamelessly affectionate about an inanimate chunk of steel weighing 35000tons, but pulls it off excellently. The story is personal and "she" is at the centre of the narrative. The book is nicely produced, well printed and full of excellent photograths, drawings and diagrams. It evokes a type of heroism which is no longer associated with war and somehow manages to take the reader along on the deck.
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on 5 June 2015
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