Great Britain has made a very poor job of preserving its historic warships. This is all the more amazing in view of the immense contribution made by the Royal Navy to the growth of Great Britain and the establishment of the first truly global Empire, linked by the sea routes, protected by RN warships. This delightful book provides a beautifully illustrated review of the only WWII RN destroyer to be preserved for future generations to visit. The work is lavishly illustrated, in full colour, through the body of the book and could be considered a photo essay, although it contains a great deal of information also in text. Affordable and enjoyable, strongly recommended.
NAME: Seaforth Historic Ships, HMS Cavalier, Destroyer 1944 FILE: R2346 AUTHOR: Richard Johnstone-Bryden PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth BINDING: soft back PAGES: 129 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Royal Navy, WWII, Second World War, World War Two, destroyers, convoy escorts, battle fleet, steam turbine, Chatham, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, preserved warship ISBN: 978-1-84832-226-4 IMAGE: B2346.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zxn22ge LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Great Britain has made a very poor job of preserving its historic warships. This is all the more amazing in view of the immense contribution made by the Royal Navy to the growth of Great Britain and the establishment of the first truly global Empire, linked by the sea routes, protected by RN warships. This delightful book provides a beautifully illustrated review of the only WWII RN destroyer to be preserved for future generations to visit. The work is lavishly illustrated, in full colour, through the body of the book and could be considered a photo essay, although it contains a great deal of information also in text. Affordable and enjoyable, strongly recommended. The author is one of a small number of professional writers who is also a professional photographer. Many professional writers also take photographs but depend mainly of the work of others to illustrate their books. Many professional photographers also write from time to time, most commonly for recreation. Combining the two disciplines is rare but it introduces a number of advantages. One very practical advantage is that the author is able to plan and execute a series of photo-shoots and then select the photographs that the author considers appropriate to the content without having to worry about how much some copyright holders will demand for reproduction of images from their photo libraries. That allows the image content to match the work rather than having to be squeezed through a photo budget from the publisher that can be soaked up in a handful of images. The author began with an article published by Motorboat and Yachting. At the time he was studying for a Yacht-master Ocean qualification and crewing on the restored MTB 102 as a volunteer at a time when the vessel was operated by the Scouts as a sea experience service for youth groups. The MBY editor particularly liked the combination of well-written text with a generous selection of outstanding photographs, all produced by the author. Other magazine editors also liked the combination and commissioned articles on a range of vessels, commercial, naval and leisure. Expanding to writing books was a natural progression, although in writing naval heritage books this required images from many sources, including some photographs by the author. Richard's first book was 'Britain's Greatest Warship, HMS Ark Royal (IV)' which included many first hand accounts by former officers and crew and they were to provide many unique photographs from their personal collections, most never having been published before. The next book was 'HMY Britannia, The Official History' which followed a similar format, with first hand accounts by Members of the Royal Family and former Royal Yachtsmen. The images included a set by Richard, taken in Leith, of HMY Britannia as she is now preserved, and a wonderful selection of unique images from Members of the Royal Family and Royal Yachtsmen that included again many photographs that were rare and not previously published. The Seaforth Historic Ships series was a natural place for Richard to craft beautifully illustrated reviews of preserved historic vessels. His first book for Seaforth reviewed HMS Belfast, maintained as a floating museum in London by the Imperial War Museum. This latest book looks at HMS Cavalier and begins with an account of the first four Commissions, followed by the Initial Preservation, the move to the historic Chatham Dockyard, and her new life as The National Destroyer Memorial. In these opening chapters, the image count is lower and the images come from other sources. The book then opens into a set of chapters that feature photographs by the author and lead the reader through the departments of the ship in a logical manner. These photographs are outstanding and have been reproduced with care and quality by the publishers. In all, this book contains a huge amount of information and will let the ship live for those who cannot make the pilgrimage to Chatham Dockyard. For those who do journey to Chatham, the book is an excellent primer ahead of their visit. Chatham also has interesting connections for the author. The Dockyard Church has the 'Gunner's Window', just inside the entrance to the left. This stained glass window was commissioned to commemorate the funeral of King George VI. The officer marching alongside the gun carriage to port is the author's grandfather. Marching alongside to starboard is Cmdr Pollock who reached the rank of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Pollock GCB LVO DSC. Sir Michael was to write the Foreword to Richard's 'Ark Royal IV' book and was host at the Fleet Air Arm Museum where the book was launched. Few launches are as impressive because it effectively became a reunion for former Ark sailors (Sir Michael having been one of her Captains). Amongst the ex-Ark crew were officers who had invented some of the innovative devices, including the angled flight deck and mirror landing system. Although, the launch of the 'HMY Britannia' book at St James Palace, with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh as host, was equally impressive. HMS Cavalier was, in her own right, an important vessel, but she is all the more important because she is the sole surviving British WWII destroyer, acting as memorial for all her lost sisters. The first destroyers were torpedo boat destroyers, not much larger than the early torpedo boats. From that point, destroyers grew in size and armament, becoming highly effective convoy escorts and key elements of battle fleets. Cavalier is one of the larger destroyers of WWII, approaching the size of pre-WWII light cruisers. After Cavalier and the Battle Class destroyers, the ship type continued to grow in size and began mounting missiles in addition to a gun armament. Some of the destroyers now in service are larger than typical light cruisers and catching up in size with the WWII heavy cruisers. The gun armament is retained in a single gun of 4.5 to 5 in and the main armament is provided by missiles and/or anti-submarine weapons. In terms of firepower, modern missile destroyers are more potent than the largest heavy cruiser of WWII Shortly after entering service, Cavalier started through a series of updates. As originally designed, she was intended to provide for the role of a destroyer at the start of WWII. During the war there were a great many changes as new weapons were introduced and deployed. By the time that Cavalier was launched, the aircraft and the submarine had become the principle threats to destroyers and also the principle targets. Aircraft flew faster, carried a heavier bomb load over longer distances, and were equipped with radar and a growing selection of sensors. Advances in the design of bombs and rockets made a single aircraft a formidable weapon system against destroyers, able to travel considerably faster. Similar dramatic advances were made in submarine design and tactics. By the end of WWII the first genuine submarines had entered service with the Type XXI U-boat. This vessel was not only able to remain submerged for most of its patrol, but had an underwater speed to equal the surface speed of U-boats in 1939. Work had already begun on designing nuclear powered submarines and the post-1945 Royal Navy had to plan to counter the huge fleet being built by the Soviets and the great gains in weapons, speed, endurance and stealth. Having a genuine surviving WWII destroyer available as a museum exhibit is a great advance for British naval heritage preservation. It is just such a shame that more was not done to preserve a range of vessels. There have been many excuses advanced by politicians, but most of these are very lame. Part of the difficulty is that generations of British politicians have seen their role as managing the decline and dismemberment of Great Britain. Until voters delivered a potent slap in the face for the Establishment, through the Independence Referendum, plans were already advanced to pass control of a greatly reduced British Armed Forces to German control and for the British Isles to be dismembered and attached to parts of other neighbouring countries to form new Landes with the new capitals all outside the British Isles. That political approach did not sit well with the servicemen who gave their lives to fight Germany in two World Wars and having a reminder in the form of military heritage museums and preserved warships was an embarrassing reminder of the level of treason being perpetrated without any electoral endorsement. As Great Britain now prepares to re-enter the world and re-engage with other nations as a sovereign state, the need for heritage preservation will increase. As national pride returns, those few artifacts that have escaped disposal will become all the more revered. There are of course some practical limits on how many ships can be preserved and practical limits on size. Perhaps we may see publishers beginning to release books, similar to this book on HMS Cavalier, to cover vessels still in service. At the very least, there will be a valuable photographic record against the possible future scrapping. If the vessel is eventually preserved, the in-service record will complement a future book on the vessel in preservation.