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With The Royal Navy in War and Peace - O'er The Deep Blue Sea

Vice Admiral B. B. Schofield

The Royal Navy that Brian Bethen Schofield joined at the beginning of the Twentieth Century truly ruled the waves. Safe anchorages spanned the globe and faster, better armoured ships with revolutionary weaponry were coming into service. After serving as a midshipman in The Great War, Schofield qualified as a navigator and interpreter in French and Italian.

At the outbreak of The Second World War he was Naval Attache in The Hague and Brussels before becoming Director of Trade Division (Convoys) during the critical years 1941-1943. While commanding the battleship King George V he witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in August 1945. O'er The Deep Blue Sea is a superbly written memoir offering a fascinating insight into a bygone era.

Anyone with more than a passing interest in British naval history will enjoy the Author's graphic yet modest account of an exceptional career.

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The Royal Navy that Brian Bethen Schofield joined at the beginning of the Twentieth Century truly ruled the waves. Safe anchorages spanned the globe and faster, better armoured ships with revolutionary weaponry were coming into service. After serving as a midshipman in The Great War, Schofield qualified as a navigator and interpreter in French and Italian. At the outbreak of The Second World War he was Naval Attache in The Hague and Brussels before becoming Director of Trade Division (Convoys) during the critical years 1941-1943. While commanding the battleship King George V he witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in August 1945. O'er The Deep Blue Sea is a superbly written memoir offering a fascinating insight into a bygone era. Anyone with more than a passing interest in British naval history will enjoy the Author's graphic yet modest account of an exceptional career.

ISBN: 9781526736475
Format: Hardback
Author(s): Vice Admiral B. B. Schofield
First Publishment Date: 12 December 2018

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  1. Highly Recommended review by Peter Wykeham-Martin on 29/08/2019

    With a naval career that saw service throughout both World Wars, Admiral Schofield’s story is one that fully justifies publication. He recorded his recollections and these have now been edited by his daughter, with some added background notes.
    The start of WW1 saw Midshipman Schofield serving in the battlecruiser INDOMITABLE, and involvement in the abortive action to attack the GOEBEN and BRESLAU and the action off Dogger Bank. He then joined a destroyer in the Harwich Force, and whilst not involved at Jutland, saw plenty of action. Opting to specialise a Navigator, saw him climb the ladder of increasing navigational expertise, including Navigator of the battleship MALAYA.
    Qualifying as a French interpreter, he became was Assistant Naval Attache in Paris at the start of WWII. Attached to the Hague and Brussels, he had a fascinating insight to the build up to the German invasion of the Low Countries. With the fall of Holland he returned to command the cruiser GALATEA during the Norwegian campaign.
    In 1941 he was appointed as director of the Admiralty Trade Division in charge of the policy for protection of merchant shipping. This is by far the most fascinating section of his memoir. He was a key participant in the many high level Anglo American talks of 1941/42. His department dealt with the heavy merchant ship losses, and the start of the Arctic convoys. He also saw the introduction of the MAC ships bringing better air protection for convoys. There is no doubt that the merchant navy benefitted from his leadership. After a short spell in command of the battleship DUKE OF YORK, he assumed command of DRYAD with its vital role as headquarters for D-Day. In April 1945 Schofield assumed command of KING GEORGE V, part of the British Pacific Fleet, operating with the US Third fleet. Taking part in the final bombardments of the Japanese mainland, he was present at the signing of the Japanese surrender. He left KGV having experienced “the satisfaction of being in command of one of HM ships”. On promotion to Rear Admiral, his contacts gained during his time as Director of Trade made him a natural selection as Chief of Staff to the RN mission in Washington.
    He finally retired in 1950 after what is by any measure an extraordinary career to a service that he loved. This is a highly enjoyable read. Schofield ‘s career from coal fired ships to the major fleet actions in the Pacific, included the relaxed life of an officer in the peacetime Royal Navy between the wars. Her final words in her foreword sum him up succinctly – “in body and spirit Schofield was a sailor all his life”. Highly recommended.

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