Facebook X YouTube Instagram Pinterest NetGalley
Google Books previews are unavailable because you have chosen to turn off third party cookies for enhanced content. Visit our cookies page to review your cookie settings.

Bayly's War (Hardback)

The Battle for the Western Approaches in the First World War

Maritime > Naval Maritime > Seaforth Publishing WWI

By Steve R. Dunn
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 304
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781526701237
Published: 22nd January 2018



Best Book award nomination

• Nominated for the Maritime Foundation's 2018 Mountbatten Award for Best Book. View the full list of this year's nominations here.

• Steve Dunn gives Colin Grazier Memorial Lecture part of the Tamworth Literary Festival

You'll be £25.00 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase Bayly's War. What's this?
+£4.99 UK Delivery or free UK delivery if order is over £40
(click here for international delivery rates)

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

Other formats available Price
Bayly's War ePub (4.4 MB) Add to Basket £10.00

Bayly’s War is the story of the Royal Navy’s Coast of Ireland Command (later named Western Approaches Command) during World War One.

Britain was particularly vulnerable to the disruption of trade in the Western Approaches through which food and munitions (and later soldiers) from North America and the Caribbean and ores and raw materials from the Southern Americas, all passed on their way to Liverpool or the Channel ports and London. After the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915 and the introduction of unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans, Britain found herself engaged in a fight for survival as U-boats targeted all incoming trade in an attempt to drive her into submission. Britain’s naval forces, based in Queenstown on the southern Irish coast, fought a long and arduous battle to keep the seaways open, and it was only one they began to master after American naval forces joined in 1917.

Vice-Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly was the man appointed to the Coast of Ireland Command. A fierce disciplinarian with a mania for efficiency, and thought by some of his colleagues to be more than a little mad, Bayly took the fight to the enemy. Utilising any vessel he could muster – trawlers, tugs, yachts – as well as the few naval craft at his disposal, he set out to hunt down the enemy submarines. The command also swept for mines, escorted merchantmen and fought endlessly against the harsh Atlantic weather. Relief came When America sent destroyers to Queenstown to serve under him, and Bayly, to the surprise of many, integrated the command into a homogenous fighting force.

Along the way, the Command had to deal with the ambivalent attitude of the Irish population, the 1916 Easter Rising, the attempt to land arms on Ireland’s west coast and the resurgence of Irish nationalism in 1917.

Bayly’s War is a vivid account of this vigorous defence of Britain’s trade and brings to life the U-boat battles, Q-ship actions, merchant ship sinkings and rescues as well as the tireless Bayly, the commander at the centre.

‘…this is an excellent book, looking at one of the key battles of the First World War, making it clear just how hard fought and costly it was, and how Bayly’s men helped win this difficult and dangerous campaign’.

History of War.org

Bayly’s War succeeds admirably as a theatre study……impressive depth, offering up thoroughly detailed accounts of numerous individual cruises and officers who served under Bayly.

Link to review: https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/08/14/baylys_war_114665.html

Real Clear Defence (USA).

Very well written and because of that—for those of us who take loss of life seriously—it is hard to read...

... There are lessons to be learned here. They include the importance of not underestimating the enemy, and understanding and mastering new technology.

Marine Technology, January 2019 – reviewed by Roberta Weisbrod Ph.D.

I highly recommend Bayly’s War on many levels. It brilliantly addresses an aspect of the First World War that has received little coverage; namely, the demanding struggle to keep a critical supply line open, and introduces the reader to a fascinating British Admiral who has largely been forgotten with the passage of time.

The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord, XVIII, No. 2 (Spring 2018) – reviewed by Louis Arthur Norton West Simsbury, Connecticut

Bayly's command played a vital role in keeping the Atlantic sea routes open, and showed that a joint command could prove decisive. The author is to be congratulated on his book which recounts the wartime success of a man who arguably deserves greater recognition. Highly recommended.

The Magazine of the National Museum of the Royal Navy

Alongside extensive detail on the strategic operations of this command, the book develops detail on his disciplinary leadership style, desire for efficiency and how he took the fight to the Germans.

Jon Sandison - Freelance

As featured by

Workboat World, July 2018

As featured by

Ausmarine, July 2018

Dunn’s book provides readers with a succinct and effective description of the war off of the Irish coast.

Read the complete review online here.

The Great War Book Review Page

Bayly's War is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of military history buffs, as well as both community and academic library World War I Military & Naval History collections and supplemental studies reading.

Midwest Book Review

A well and very excitingly written description of the intense and vital activity of the Royal and, later, United States navies in the Western Approaches to England during World War I, this important book reminds us of an important but mostly forgotten aspect of naval history.

Baird Maritime, July 2018

Dunn’s work is a fine piece of historical writing.

Australian Naval Institute

A concise but well-researched and eminently readable account, drawn largely from secondary sources leavened by personal papers, predominantly held by the Churchill Archives Centre, the Imperial War Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy. It provides an excellent introduction to a largely forgotten campaign.

Military History Monthly, July 2018 – reviewed by Nick Hewitt

We don't receive many works dealing with the war as it was seen at sea, so this was a most welcome addition this month.

Highly recommended

The Great War magazine, May 2018

An easy-to-read, fascinating account of sacrifice and bravery, shedding new light on the remarkable Bayly.

Warships IFR, May 2018

As previously-noted this book is well-written and researched, and may well become a standard reference work on its subject.

NZ Crown Mines

As featured in

Old Boys Association, Bury Grammar School

Article 'Unsung hero of the First World War from Redditch featured in new book' as featured in

Ledbury Reporter, 25th February 2018

Packed with an astonishing level of detail.

The Village (Worcestershire), March 2018

If you truly want to know and understand ALL of WW1 at sea, then you will not until you have read this book.

I give this book five ★★★★★ stars out of five. Were it not impossible I would give it six out of five!

Malcolm Wright, Australian Maritime Artist & Author

The WWII Battle of the Atlantic has received much more coverage than the WWI Battle of the Atlantic. This new book gives a comprehensive coverage to the subject of the WWI anti-submarine warfare with fresh insight – Strongly Recommended.

Read the complete review here.


This is a fascinating narrative of a vital but too much neglected aspect of our fight for national survival - well researched, well ordered and well presented, with an interesting collection of contemporary photographs.

Robert Griffiths, Amazon

As featured by

The Bolton News, 5th February 2018

Article: 'New war book on naval man' as featured in

Chichester Post, 13th February 2018

As featured by

Cotswold Journal, 10th February 2018

As featured by

Dudley News, 10th February 2018

Article: Moving tales from Willie's wartime diary (page 13 – won't run on Chrome) as featured by

South Warrington News, February 2018

As featured by

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide, 5th February 2018

As featured by

Malvern Gazette, 10th February 2018

As featured by

The Shuttle, 10th February 2018

As featured by

Stourbridge News, 10th February 2018

As featured by

Redditch Advertiser, 10th February 2018

As featured by

Evesham Journal, 10th February 2018

As featured by

Worcester News, 10th February 2018

Article: 'The son of a Beamont head tacher who was a reluctant First World War hero' as featured by

Warrington Guardian, 10th February 2018

As featured by

The Oldham Times, 5th February 2018

Article: 'Barnt Green author Steve Dunn releases 6th book Bayly's War' by Emily Collis as featured by

Bromsgrove Advertiser, 10th February 2018

Article: WWI naval reserve was shot dead on shore leave by Stephen Blease as featured in

The Cumberland News, 2nd February 2018

As featured on

This is Lancashire, 5th February 2018

As featured on


Article: 'Lives of heroic Bury First World War sailors retold in new book' by Brad Marshall as featured on

Bury Times, 5th February 2018

Article: 'Cumbrian sailor featured in World War I book that honours unsung heroes' as featured on

Cumbria 24, 31st January 2018

Article: 'Kirkcaldy sailor's story features in new World War I book' by Fiona Dobie as featured on

Fife Today, 2nd February 2018

Article: 'New book honours WWI heroes' by Ryan O'Neill as featured on

Cork Independent, 31st January 2018

Article: 'York war hero features in book' by Daniel Willers as featured on

York Press, 1st February 2018

About Steve R. Dunn

STEVE DUNN has a special interest in the Royal Navy of the late nineteenth century and the First World War, and has written biographies and narrative histories, most recently BlockadeSecuring the Narrow SeaBayly's WarSouthern Thunder , Battle in the Baltic and The Power and the Glory, all published by Seaforth, and the last awarded a certificate of merit at the Maritime Foundation awards in 2021.

More titles by Steve R. Dunn

Customers who bought this title also bought...

Other titles in Seaforth Publishing...