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British Warship Recognition: The Perkins Identification Albums, Vol V (Hardback)

Volume V: Destroyers, Torpedo Boats and Coastal Forces, 1876-1939

Maritime > Naval > Royal Navy Maritime > Seaforth Publishing

By Richard Perkins
Seaforth Publishing
Series: Perkins Identification Albums
Pages: 312
ISBN: 9781526711120
Published: 17th October 2017



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The Richard Perkins warship identification albums form one of the most detailed studies ever undertaken of the changes to the appearance of Royal Navy ships. However, it is a unique hand-drawn manuscript artefact in the care of the National Maritime Museum, so despite its value it is rarely seen by anyone besides the museum’s curators, for whom it is a precious resource, used on an almost daily basis.

In collaboration with the Museum, Seaforth is undertaking the first publication of this monumental work in a superbly produced multi-volume edition that captures all the qualities of the original. Every page is reproduced at full size, making the extensive hand-written annotation readable, while the fine-line drawings retain all the colours that Perkins used to denote appearance differences and alterations.

The fifth volume of the series is largely devoted to surface craft whose primary weapon was the torpedo: destroyers and their flotilla leaders, 1st- and 2nd-class torpedo boats, Coastal Motor Boats and MTBs, although it also includes the Great War-era P-boats and the Motor Anti-Submarine Boats of the late 1930s.

This is a publishing event of the utmost importance for every enthusiast and ship modeller, who for the first time will be able to own a copy of a unique and invaluable reference work.

reviewed by Stephen Dent for

Warship Annual, May 2019

A masterpiece of incalculable value without which today we could not have information on the countless warships that sailed the seas in the service of his gracious majesty.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

This series of books is one that I would likely have passed over, had I not seen them at the bookstore where I work. I am so very glad I did come across them, because they are a brilliant example of the kind of content that can result from good partnerships between libraries, archives and publishers...

... well worth a place of pride on any coffee table or bookshelf. I especially recommend these books for those who are interested in the Royal Navy 1870-1939, and anybody who enjoys studying the minutiae of warship design, fittings and decorations.

The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord, XVIII, No. 2 (Spring 2018) – reviewed by Sam McLean Toronto, Ontario

Volume five covers destroyers, torpedo boats and coastal craft dating from 1876 to 1939. The book highlights the rapid development of destroyer design as the ship gained in importance as an escort, as a scout and as an attacking option... Ok, these books are on the niche side but they are things of beauty and lovers of warships and the development of naval architecture from well over a century will find much to admire.

Read the full review here

War History Online

This volume covers the work horses of the Royal Navy, from coastal vessels to blue water warships. – This is a reproduction of the set of eight volumes held by the British National Maritime Museum where it has provided an unparalleled source of information for the Museum’s staff – Most Highly Recommended.

Read the complete review online here.


As featured in

Model Boats, January 2018

The pages are high quality reproductions of the original pages of the Perkins albums and the information continues to be amazing and in my view, the artistic quality of the illustrations as well as the pages of detailed hand-written notes are a joy to see in their own right as a piece of artistry, let alone the dedication he shows by recording the subject to this level of detail, at a time when the Royal Navy really was the greatest fleet in the world.

Even the neatly written text notes show changes as the author added or updated notes over time. One or two have been added by archivists over the years, but remarkably few. What you have is very much a 'bible' of help to identify not only individual ships in archive photos, but also to indicate what year it shows the vessel. Individually the book is a delight to see by itself and as the growing set a magnificent reference.

Read the complete review here.

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

With its wealth of data and the high quality printing of literally hundreds of warship drawings, this book deserves positive, even enthusiastic comments...

The publisher describes Perkins’ work as ‘monumental’ and given the scale and importance of the resulting volumes, especially this one, I consider that adjective to be fully justified. This latest volume adds considerably to our knowledge of both the subject and the era; I have no hesitation in recommending it.

Read the complete review here.

Australian Naval Institute, David Hobbs

About Richard Perkins

RICHARD PERKINS originally produced what he called his ‘Historical Identification Book’ to help identify and date photos in his monumental collection, but its wider significance is highlighted in this edition by an Introduction by ANDREW CHOONG, a curator at the National Maritime Museum for whom the albums are an indispensible reference

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