Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram Pinterest LinkedIn

A Home on the Rolling Main (ePub)

A Naval Memoir 1940-1946

Seaforth Naval Naval Warfare WWII

By Tony Ditcham
Seaforth Publishing
File Size: 30.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 348
ISBN: 9781473826694
Published: 17th June 2013

in_stock

£8.99 Print price £14.99

You save £6.00 (40%)


You'll be £8.99 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase A Home on the Rolling Main. What's this?

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available Price
A Home on the Rolling Main Kindle (58.6 MB) Add to Basket £8.99


From first joining the Royal Navy in 1940 until the end of the campaign against Japan, Tony Ditcham was in the front line of the naval war. After brief service in the battlecruiser Renown off Norway and against the Italians, he went into destroyers and saw action in most European theatres – against S-boats and aircraft in 'bomb alley' off Britain's East Coast, on Arctic convoys to Russia, and eventually in a flotilla screening the Home Fleet. During the dramatic Battle of the North Cape in December 1943 he was probably the first man to actually see the Scharnhorst and from his position in the gun director of HMS Scorpion enjoyed a grandstand view of the sinking of the great German battleship (his account was so vivid that it formed the basis of the description in the official history). Later his ship operated off the American beaches during D-Day, where two of her sister ships were sunk with heavy loss of life, and he ended the war en route for the British Pacific Fleet and the invasion of Japan.

This incident-packed career is recounted with restraint, plenty of humour and colourful descriptive power – his account of broaching and almost capsizing in an Arctic winter storm is as good as anything in the literature of the sea. The result makes enthralling reading, and as the surviving veterans rapidly decline in numbers, this may turn out to be one of the last great eyewitness narratives of the naval war.

As featured in Sam Llewellyn column

Practical Boat Owner, December 2016

An enthralling personal account of a very active war.

Maritime Adviser

Ditcham's style of writing provides the reader with both a descriptive and narrative view of a time when the Royal Navy was fighting for it's very existence against powerful and determined enemies. His service as a reserve junior officer provides an interesting perspective not seen often in this genre. His finely crafted humanity presents an excellent read that requires attention from cover to cover.

Mariner's Mirror

The compelling text is enhanced by a large number of photos and illustrations which give a clear insight into the Royal Navy at both war and peace.

This England

A Home on the Rolling Main
Representing life as a junior officer primarily aboard Royal Navy destroyers during World War Two Ditcham’s autobiography provides a frank, accessible, and unflinching account, highlighting the wry humour and periodic human tragedy that's inherent with any life spent when momentous historic events take place. The work throughout is punctuated with a rich vein of understated humour, this is coupled with a welcome level of self-effacement. It's always hard to avoid being too gushing when you encounter a book as genuinely good as this. Ditcham's autobiography simultaneously adds valuable narrative material to our understanding of the war at sea and the experience of the ordinary people who made up its cast of characters while remaining an enormously entertaining read. The late John Keegan, on the cover endorses "A Home on the Rolling Main" as "one of the most vivid and immediate war memoirs I have ever read", it is very hard to disagree with this. No library on the Second World War at sea should regard itself as being complete without a copy of this on its shelves.

Southlondonbookreviewblog

A gem of a book. Anything but dull. An outstanding account of a life at sea in wartime.

Mid Wales Journal

This is a gem of a book. There are are several reasons for this, one being circumstance, in that new first-hand accounts like this are becoming increasingly rare as that generation fades away. Even if Tony Ditcham's career had been dull, an account of it would have had interest. The text is well written and is supported by some excellent photos.It is an outstanding account of life at sea in wartime, and the camaraderie and friendhips of a ship's crew facing danger together.'

Express and Star

This is a gem of a book. There are several reasons for this, one being circumstance, in that new first-hand wartime accounts like this are becoming increasingly rare as that generation fades away'. So even if Tony Ditcham's career had been dull, an account of it would have had interest'. The text is well written and is supported by some excellent photos. it is an outstanding account of a life at sea in wartime, and the camaraderie and friendships of a ship's crew facing danger together'. Wartime memoirs don't come much better than this.

Gloucestershire Echo

Has been acclaimed as a "masterpiece".

Shropshire Star

Representing life as a junior officer primarily aboard Royal Navy destroyers during World War Two Ditcham’s autobiography provides a frank, accessible, and unflinching account, highlighting the wry humour and periodic human tragedy that's inherent with any life spent when momentous historic events take place. The work throughout is punctuated with a rich vein of understated humour, this is coupled with a welcome level of self-effacement.

It's always hard to avoid being too gushing when you encounter a book as genuinely good as this. Ditcham's autobiography simultaneously adds valuable narrative material to our understanding of the war at sea and the experience of the ordinary people who made up its cast of characters while remaining an enormously entertaining read. The late John Keegan, on the cover endorses "A Home on the Rolling Main" as "one of the most vivid and immediate war memoirs I have ever read", it is very hard to disagree with this. No library on the Second World War at sea should regard itself as being complete without a copy of this on its shelves.

southlondonbookreview blog

Brilliant naval memoir. This book is an honest account of what life was like during the war but this is an open honest and factual account of that life aboard ship. As one of the last veterans left standing Ditcham provides us with some very powerful descriptive language, while using humour that covered his incident packed naval career. This is a wonderful memoir and it has been an honour to read it as it is probably one of the last to be written by a veteran as their number declines with the years. This is also an important voice being left for all of us to remember how war touches all of us and that people Tony Ditcham stood tall for us in our hour of need. This will be used by students of history as not just a memoir but a witness statement to life on the seas during World War Two.

Paul Diggit (reviewed on: Goodreads, Amazon, Library thing, the readingroom, Waterstones and Shelfari)

The author, Tony Ditcham, served at sea almost continuously from 6th May 1940 until his release as a Lieutenant RNR 7th July 1946. By then he was in the new Battle-class destroyer HMS Finisterre, which had come out East to join the British Pacific Fleet, but not until after the sudden Japanese surrender. Soon after leaving school (in HMS Worcester on the Thames) he had been mobilised aged 17¾ as an RNR midshipman and was sent immediately to sea and to war. At 18 he had to grow up quickly, and learn to know fear but, icy calm, not to show it.

The first two years of the book are based on his Midshipman’s Journal; the remainder on his recollections as collated originally in the 1990s for family consumption. Fortunately he sent copies to various archives and was, even more fortunately for us, persuaded to formalise the whole into a proper book. The result is intensely readable (and copiously illustrated with photographs and the author’s own sketches).

Naval history apart - and it is a highly valuable contribution to that - ‘A Home on the Rolling Main’ is a rattling good yarn. Told with flashes of dry humour, it positions the reader right there behind the author’s shoulder as it were, with the deafening roar of the guns as Scorpion rides into battle over thirty knots, the dreadful weariness, and the occasional goffa of salt water down the collar.

Rum Ration – The Navy Network

I have read your title and was both impressed & entertained by its vivid, factual and contemporary account. A splendid read by a splendid author.

Vice Admiral Sir Lancelot Bell Davies

Your account of destroyer life at your level is one of the most vivid war records I have ever read.

Sir John Keegan

I much enjoyed reading.

John Winton

I have now read your title with much pleasure, you have vividly conveyed what it was like to be at the sharp end of maritime war. You also bring out marvelously the high morale, sense of humor and comradeship of the Royal Navy in 1939-45.

Correlli Barnett

Tony Ditcham had a varied and incident packed career in The Royal Navy. The experiences he garnered made him one of a small band of veterans who served in several theatres of the Second World War, and as such his memoir must be one of the most comprehensive available.

As well as the authors skills as a naval officer he is just as adept with the pen. These two skills make this book a really enjoyable read. Full of descriptive accounts of some of the most well known actions of World War 2 including: D-day, the sinking of The Scharnhorst, The Battle of the North Cape, The Arctic Convoys, and defending British coastal shipping lanes from E-boat attack. He finished his wartime stint on route to The Pacific.

The excellent photographs, maps and documents enhance the book as in many other instances and as noted before, the authors clean and descriptive text make this a highly recommended read. Life at sea leads to long periods of boredom and sometimes loneliness but Mr Ditcham conveys many moments of humour that must have been priceless at such times.

If you only read one book in a quest to learn what life at sea with the RN during WW2 was really like then you could do far worse that to choose "A Home on the Rolling Main".

Andrew Farr

About Tony Ditcham

TONY DITCHAM originally wrote this memoir for family and friends and self-published a very limited edition hardback. Attractively produced with many of the author’s own illustrations and photographs, it was enthusiastically reviewed in the specialist press, prompting this paperback reprint.

More titles by Tony Ditcham

Customers who bought this title also bought...

Other titles in Seaforth Publishing...