7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Deceived by George Hunt's modesty, perhaps,
This review is from: Diving Stations: The Story of Captain George Hunt and the Ultor (Hardcover)
I had the great privilege to correspond with George Hunt DSO* DSC* during his last few years. He was a modest man when it came to recounting his achievements during the war, and his wartime patrol reports, in the National Archives, are splendidly understated and resolutely factual. At the same time, he was also very proud to have served in the Royal Navy and to have had his portrait painted for the Imperial War Museum at the end of the war. I had expected this book to build on the factual detail of the reports in order to provide a real sense of the man himself; that this aspect was lacking, may well be down to the likelihood that George was self-conscious about having his biography written, at least in his lifetime, and more interested in factual accuracy than laying bare his personality for public inspection.
That said, it is important to have this biography of one of the Royal Navy's two most successful submarine commanders (if you work on numbers of ships sunk, David Wanklyn VC, DSO** comes out on top; George, however, sank the greater tonnage, so the honours are even). Through some gripping reconstructions, not least of the ramming match with the Italian destroyer Saggitario, the author brings home the difficulties and dangers of life on a Royal Navy submarine, especially in the fraught years of the Mediterranean conflict when it seemed that every man's hand was against the flotillas and many boats were lost with all hands. He also puts the conflict into its wider context. Much attention has been paid to the exploits of the German U-boat commanders, so 'Diving Stations' goes some way towards redressing balance. Indeed, it is worth reading this book alongside that autobiographical classic of the submarine war 'Unbroken' by Alastair Mars.
Two gripes: too much reliance on sentences with 'George' as the subject. And - which is not the author's fault - NO INDEX...