13 Sharks (Hardback)
The Careers of a series of small Royal Navy Ships, from the Glorious Revolution to D-Day.
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John D Grainger charts the careers of the thirteen vessels that have served the Royal Navy under the name HMS Shark. Despite the ferocious name, they have all been relatively small vessels including one brigantine, five sloops, one Sixth Rate, a gunvessel, four destroyers and a submarine. Collectively they therefore give a good representation of the various roles of these types, which receive far less attention than larger, more glamorous ships. Furthermore, as the first entered service in 1699 and the last was sunk in 1944 (having the dubious distinction of being the only Allied vessel lost on D-Day), they illustrate the changes and continuities in the Royal Navy and war at sea across almost 250 years.
In each case the author considers the origin of the ship, the purpose for which it was designed and employed, its captains and where possible its crew, as well as the activities of the ship itself and its final fate; in addition background information of a general nature is included as a necessary context for those actions.
Sometimes a book lands on my desk that makes me curious as to what I might find when I start reading through the pages. 13 Sharks proved to be one of these interestesting finds. The premise behind the book is simple one and one that has been explored before, namely chart the history of all the ships that have borne a certain name, in this case the thirteen vessels that have served in the Royal Navy with the name Shark.Warship World, November-December 2016
John D Grainger has done a remarkable job in collating all the available history on these, as he puts it, sometimes unremarkable vessels.
When Robert Brundle took the SS Harmatris to Russia with Convoy PQ8 he was 47 years of age. Both ship and master were veterans and had already sailed in convoys across the North Atlantic and to South Africa. The 5,395 ton coal fired ship, laden with 8,000 tons of armaments originally set sail on 27 November 1941 to join convoy PQ6 but encountered a fierce storm in which a lorry broke free in the hold and started a fierce blaze below decks. Despite valiant attempts to extinguish the fire the Harmatris was forced to return to Glasgow for repair. Having discharged its cargo, examined and repaired…By Michael Wadsworth
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