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Alarm Starboard!

Geoffrey Brooke

The Author's naval war experiences make the most exciting reading. After being mined on the battleship Nelson in 1939, he served on the Prince of Wales, during the Bismarck action, witnessing the sinking of the Hood and Churchill and Roosevelt's historic meeting.

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The Author's naval war experiences make the most exciting reading. After being mined on the battleship Nelson in 1939, he served on the Prince of Wales, during the Bismarck action, witnessing the sinking of the Hood and Churchill and Roosevelt's historic meeting. He survived the disastrous sinking by Japanese dive-bombing in December 1941 but within two days of reaching Singapore, the Island fell. Evacuated in a coastal steamer, only to be sunk the next morning, he was stranded on a deserted island for a week before setting out for Ceylon in a native boat. His epic journey covered 1660 miles and took 37 days. Thereafter his adventures continued, with the North African landings, Russian convoys and, returning to the Far East, he was in the carrier Formidable when she was hit twice by Japanese Kamikazes before VI Day August 1945.

ISBN: 9781526743817
Format: Paperback
Author(s): Geoffrey Brooke
First Publishment Date: 2 May 2018

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  1. First published in 1982 Admiral Sir Edward Ashmore described this as “the best book on the naval war” and who am I to disagree? I have no hesitation in strongly recommending it as a “must read”. review by AM - Warship World on 07/03/2019

    Subtitled ‘A Remarkable True Story of The War at Sea’ Geoffrey Brooke’s account of his experiences, first as a Midshipman and then as a Sub Lieutenant and Lieutenant in WW2, is remarkable indeed. He modestly describes it as “not the story of a famous sailor, nor even a successful one….viewed as it is from a low ‘height of eye’ it is a very personal account.” And this is exactly the book’s strength. Having joined the Royal Navy in 1934 aged 14, Geoffrey joined the battleship HMS Nelson in 1938 and went on to serve in just about every theatre of the war, seeing major action in each. The bare facts are that he served in HMS Nelson, the destroyers Esk and Duncan, the battleship Prince of Wales from completion of build and commissioning until she was sunk by the Japanese, followed by an incredible escape from Singapore to Ceylon that is a story in itself, then the cruiser Bermuda for the TORCH landings and Arctic convoys and, finally, the carriers Indomitable and Formidable in the East Indies and Pacific, surviving two kamikaze attacks as the latter’s Flight Deck Fire and Crash Officer and earning a DSC. It is his gift for taking us with him into each of his ships and actions however that makes this book the superb read that it is, capturing and conveying as it does the atmosphere of every action and situation and of shipboard life in general. Telling it how he does means we really do live it all with him - and nowhere is this more true than in his spellbinding accounts of Prince of Wales’ part in the Bismarck action, and her later sinking by the Japanese. He tells us he is “sure to have made mistakes” but the ones I found were minor indeed and take nothing from the captivating readability of the tale. When first published in 1982 Admiral Sir Edward Ashmore described this as “the best book on the naval war” and who am I to disagree? I have no hesitation in strongly recommending it as a “must read”.

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