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44 NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2009
The last word
FEW other subjects in
modern naval history
have been more clouded
by conspiracy theory
than the disappearance
Casualties oflties of
of the Australian cruiser
Sydney with all hands in
How the Navy h Nav
November 1941.
war(ships)
It seemed unbelievable that
a warship, already made an gave birth to
Australian national icon by its
OF THE already lengthy list of
activities in the Mediterranean –
essential reference works charting
including sinking the Italian cruiser the bomber
the long, proud history of the
Bartolomeo Colleoni – could have
Royal Navy, now add the fi rst
been sunk by the German armed IN THE opening months of the
volumes of a monumental work
merchant raider Kormoran, writes Great War, many things vexed the
listing casualties from 1914 to the
Prof Eric Grove of the University of
Admiralty.
present day.
Salford.
The U-boat menace. The
Don Kindell’s Royal Naval
The latter must have been
mines menace. The Zeppelin
Roll of Honour (Naval-History.
assisted by something else, a hostile
menace.
net, downloadable PDF from
submarine being the favourite.
It didn’t know entirely how to
£13.50, paperback from £26.49)
Now, however, the record can be
deal with any of them: it largely
intends to list, for the first time,
conclusively put straight, thanks in
abandoned the North Sea for
every sailor or Royal Marine who
part to the work of David Mearns
the sanctuary of Scapa Flow and
died while in the Senior Service –
who found the wreck in 2008 and
northern Ireland in the face of
in action, in accidents, as a result
Capt Peter Hore, former Royal
● The ship’s company of the ill-fated HMAS Sydney Picture: Australian War Memorial
the U-boat especially.
of illness.
Navy Head of Defence Studies,
is Seapower: A Guide for the “command of the sea” has always
But with the Zeppelin,
The author is a former US
who almost a decade before had
Twenty First Century (Routledge, been a limited and “pragmatic”
Whitehall took the fight to the
Navy sailor and police officer
been hired by the Australian
enemy.
Government to make thorough
The Grove £25.99 ISBN 978-0-415-48089), term than is often assumed.
with a passion for the RN over
now reissued in a new second He examines how command
Unable to destroy the German
four decades.
search in British archives for
edition. of the sea is secured and how it is
airships while airborne, the
He’s researched the details
documents relating to the loss of
Reviews
This is simply the most exploited.
fledgling Royal Naval Air Service
of 120,000 individuals whose
HMAS Sydney.
comprehensive and impressive The author follows this with
sought to destroy them on the
records have been scattered
Capt Hore’s work did much to
The author provides the reader
contemporary analysis of sea power chapters on expeditionary
ground.
around the archives – Kew,
inform the successful search. He
with a brilliant, gripping and
and maritime strategy currently operations, naval diplomacy,
It is these efforts which are the
Whitehall, Commonwealth War
is now a recognised authority on
absorbing narrative of how he
available. Prof Till puts sea power good order at sea and “future sea
focus of former Royal Marine
Graves Commission, and the
the affair, having been recently
quite literally decoded his evidence
into the dual setting of foreign and power”.
Ian Gardiner’s The Flatpack
Naval Historical Branch among
appointed as an expert witness
and fi tted it together with other
economic policy, sets out the four He concludes that “some of the
Bombers: The Royal Navy and
others.
to the Australian Government’s
sources to provide as close to a
“attributes” of the sea – resources, traditional functions of maritime
the Zeppelin Menace (Pen &
The latter in particular has
Commission of Enquiry into the
defi nitive account of the affair as
transportation, information and strategy may need modifi cation
Sword, £19.99 ISBN 978-1-
been heavily involved in what its
loss of the cruiser. His recently-
is possible.
dominion – and shows how via in line, for example, with shifts in
84884-071-3); the title comes
head, Capt Christopher Page,
published Sydney, Cipher and
Nevertheless this is no dry
both maritime cooperation and attitudes to the sea.”
from the fact that the aircraft
calls an “astonishing corpus of
Search: Solving the Last Great
factual account. As Prof
confl ict they create naval roles. Till points out that, unlike in
were frequently shipped in boxes
work”.
Naval Mystery of the
RodgerRodger remarks in his
Till develops the classical Corbett’s day, the sea is now more
and assembled at airfi elds.
And how right he is. Royal
Second World
encomencomium on the cover,
ideas of Alfred Thayer Mahan like the land in several important
Gardiner focuses on three
Navy Roll of Honour isn’t a book
War (Seafarer
the bothe book “reads like a
into a “virtuous maritime circle” respects. It can now be subject
landmark episodes involving
you read as such, but it is one
Books, £9.95
thrilleiller”. It is genuinely
of maritime trade, maritime to national sovereignty and
naval aviators in 1914: strikes
serious naval, social and family
ISBN 978-1-
a “pa “page-turner” and
resources, naval strength and management and it is also possible
at German airship sheds in
historians will no doubt turn to
906266-08-0) is his
is veery hard to put
maritime supremacy. to live for long periods on ocean
Düsseldorf, Cuxhaven and
time and again.
second book on the
downwn.
He examines critically the platforms. Man can
Friedrichshafen.
The first two volumes (of a
subject.
ToTogether with
ideas and impact of thuthus inhabit the ocean.s in
The attacks on the hangars
projected six to eight) deal with
Sydney was indeed
Davvid Mearns’
both Mahan and NeNevertheless,
at Düsseldorf in September and
casualties of WW1 (by name) and
sunk (unaided)
fortthcoming book
Sir Julian Corbett Prof Prof Till argues that
October 1914 have been called
the Inter-War period (by name,
by Kormoran, a
on on the underwater
and provides a tradittraditional maritime
the fi rst strategic bombing raids.
by ship and by date).
converted merchant t
seasearch it should be
new analysis of stratetegy still matters.
The title more accurately
We’ve only caught sight of
ship but nonetheless s
thethe fi nal word on
the constituents DDespite “the trend
applies to the Royal Naval
the ‘Between the Wars’ volume,
formidably armed.d.
thethe subject.
of sea power: towaards cooperative
Air Service’s lunge at the
but it gives an excellent idea of
Sydney allowed herself lf
As my old friend
population, society maritime endeavour
birthplace of the Zeppelin,
the quality of the research and
to sail too close to the he
AAustralian Rear
an
and government, andand widening
the factory producing them at
the incredible usefulness of Mr
disguised German
AAdmiral James
maritime people, inteinterpretations of
Friedrichshafen.
Kindell’s labour of love.
and was both swept
GGoldrick has
maritime geography, whwhat is covered
The bombers, four Avro 504s,
Indeed, it’s a solemn reminder
by heavy gunfi re and
writtenitten in support of it,
ran
resources, and a a byby the concept
were shipped in crates (marked
of the price of Admiralty, even in
torpedoed. Kormoran
CaptCapt Hore’Hore’ss account should acc “lay
maritime economy. ofof maritime
in Cyrillic to fool any German
peacetime.
was so seriously damaged by the
to rest much of the controversy”.
Usefully, he puts security… many
agents) to Belfort in south-east
On November 12 1918 – the
return fi re that she also sank, but
ts se
The case really is closed. I cannot
these into the context of navies will still
France.
day after the guns fell silent –
unlike Sydney, there were German
of n
recommend it more highly.
the modern globalised need to be
From there it was a 250-
more than two dozen sailors died, survivors. Their testimony was
ed n
The same goes for the latest
economy, whose primarily interested
mile round trip over southern
almost all of them victims of however discounted by the
se i
offering from Prof Geoffrey Till,
dynamics challenge in developing their independent
Germany to the Zeppelin works.
the ‘Spanish flu’ decimating the conspiracy theorists who accused
nge eloping th
who will be well known to many
traditional thinking. In this second battle winning capability.”
On November 21 1914, the
peoples of the world. them of trying to cover up a war
readers as a former lecturer at the
edition he adds a section that One of those nations is the
bombers left, skirting the Black
In fact, there was barely a day crime, the massacre of the cruiser’s
Royal Naval Colleges, Professor
explores the notion that navies in United Kingdom. Anyone with
Forest, then following the waters
between the Armistice in the survivors
of History at Greenwich and then
a globalised world are developing any interest in navies should get a
of Lake Constance, possibly –
autumn of 1918 and September Capt Hore has painstakingly
Dean of Academic Studies at the
a set of new “post-modern” roles copy of this vital book and read it.
and illegally – flying over neutral
3 1939 when hostilities resumed,
consulted the German accounts
Joint Services Command and Staff alongside their more traditional It is already a classic of its kind. Switzerland at times, before
that a sailor or Royal Marine
of the action, to the extent of
College (JSCSC). ones and reviews the impact this is It is published in paperback by striking at the factory amid a hail
did not die (as motor car usage
personally decoding the report that
He is currently Professor having, particularly on the navies Routledge at the very reasonable of anti-aircraft fire (long before it
increased in the 30s, road
Kormoran’s commanding offi cer,
of Maritime Studies in Kings of the Asia-Pacifi c. price of £25.99. earned the nickname flak).
accidents began to take their toll
Theodore Detmers, created in his
College London’s Defence After an up-to-date examination Prof Till has recently been made Agents’ reports and Allied
– a recurring cause of deaths in
prisoner of war camp by marking Studies Department at JSCSC
of navies and technology, the an honorary captain in the Royal newspaper accounts suggested
the military to this day, sadly).
up a German-English dictionary. and director of its Corbett Centre
author moves on to the analysis Naval Reserve, an honour richly that the 11 bombs dropped that
As well as being cheaper, we’d
The fact that much of this German for Maritime Policy. of “command of the sea”, a deserved. day had wrecked one Zeppelin,
recommend the downloadable
evidence was in code is itself a key He has published numerous term he does not abandon, As this book clearly shows, no- blown up a hydrogen works and
PDF version simply because it’s
argument that Detmers and the signifi cant works on modern naval despite its replacement in much one has contributed more to the provoked tremendous panic in
fully searchable and therefore
other prisoners were telling the history and maritime strategy of modern doctrine by “sea control” intellectual development of the the small lake-side town. Only
much quicker to use.
truth. which perhaps the most important He correctly points out that Royal Navy. the latter was true.
■ Available from naval-history.
net
As with most things in the
End of the Intrepid era
early days of the Great War, the
Sea pot pourri
raids launched by naval aviators
were a harbinger of things to
come rather than ‘things now’.
BEN Warlow’s Yesterday’s Navy,
(The only truly tangible success
(Maritime Books, £20 ISBN 978-
was the destruction of LZ25 in its
1-904459-37-8) is an eclectic run
A CENTURY ago, bosses at Harland and Wolff told their offi cial her (of which only one word was accurate, and it wasn’t ‘graceful’ or shed at Düsseldorf.)
through mainly WW2 warships
photographer to record the birth of the Titanic, cataloguing evggery y ‘retirement’...). “One can well imagine,” wrote
fl ying the White Ensign.
milestone in the creation of the world’s greatest linernerner. Instead,Instead George watched as “Intrepid slowly began to Sqn Cdr Cecil Malone after the
The book is a pot pourri based
One hundred years later, George Heron has done the same in ne the same in disappear while an increasing mound of debrdisapppear is began to raid on Cuxhaven, “what might
on some of the 60 or so brief
reverse. Not with Titanic (obviously – Ed), but with his wiith his build up in the dock bottom”.uild upd have been done had our seaplanes
‘biographies’ composed by the
former ship HMS Intrepid. His His camera ca captured the diggers chopping away at the carried torpedoes.”
author for the journal Warship
George, aka the Grumpy Old Matelot, spent ship’ship’p s innards,s i steel cutters slicing up compartments, Within a year, naval aircraft
nine years on the assault ship as a radio until the ship wuntil t as no longer recognisable. would carry torpedoes into battle
World.
operator. She was his first ship, “the place So So this should be a sad book. The end of great and within a generation they
Two thirds of those histories
where I grew up and learned about life”. ship and all thaships t. would cripple an entire fleet.
have found their way into this
And as such she holds a very dear place And to some degA ree it is. This is an excellent book,
volume, providing a very neat
in his heart, as evidenced in HMS Intrepid: But interspersed with images of the dying thoroughly researched (the author
little potted history of some of the
Her Final Journey (privately published, £20), a a Intrepid are photogIn raphs of the living Intrepid, has taken the time to delve
famous names from RN annals
photographic record of the ship’s break-up. the ship’th s company in war and peace, enjoying into German as well as British
– Rodney, Repulse, Renown,
George and comrades in the Intrepid Association on mess deck life,m SODS operas, at sea with her records) and captures the spirit of
Nelson, Warspite – and ones
had tried to persuade the powers that be to save the thhe sister Fsiister earless, plus a fair smattering of memories the age perfectly, without falling
overshadowed by the castles of
ship as a museum piece – a final shot at the limelight igght from her sailorfrom her sh s. for contemporary propaganda
steel: destroyers HMS Encounter,
in a career often eclipsed by her sister Fearless. All,All, it seemed,it seemed, loved their time aboard. “I had many happy canards.
and Tartar, or minelayer HMS The plea fell on deaf ears, but undeterred he set e set times aboard Intrepid,times aboard Intrepid ” sa s ys Std Andy Goodman. “Each time I think
Most of the efforts of these
Manxman. about recording the final months of a ship which hich back to those days a smile creeps oys a sm ver my face and I chuckle to
first aces were in vain, but they
As with all Maritime Books’ served the nation for more than 30 years. myself.” blazed a trail for all offensive
output this is authoritative and The Falklands veteran was towed to Merseyside last autumn, where, ■ Available from www.georgeheron.net or G Heron, 19 Elm action in the skies over land and
beautifully produced. in the words of Whitehall, “graceful recycled retirement” awaited Terrace, Tantobie, County Durham. sea. Quite a legacy.
044-045_NN_Sept.indd 1 18/8/09 11:43:27
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