Churchill's Thin Grey Line (Kindle)
British Merchant Ships at War 1939–1945
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.
The first British casualties of the Second World War were not members of either the Royal Navy, the Army or the Royal Air Force but British merchant seamen on the liner Athenia, torpedoed by U-30 on 3 September 1939. For the duration of the War Britain’s merchant fleet performed a vital role, carrying the essential supplies that kept the country running during the darkest days and then made victory possible. Their achievements came at a terrible cost with 2,535 British ocean-going merchant ships being sunk and, of the 185,000 men and women serving in the British Merchant Navy at the time, 36,749 sacrificed their lives. A further 4,707 were wounded and 5,720 ended up in prisoner of war camps. Their casualty rate of 25 percent was second only to RAF Bomber Command’s. Using casebook examples, this well researched book tells the inspiring story of those brave civilian volunteers who fought so gallantly to defend their ships and the cargoes.
Another brilliant book by a retired sea captain and master wordsmith who recreates the past as though we were there among the frantic nautical action. Nobody does it better.This England, Summer 2018
A cracking read which brings home to the reader how much we in this country owe to the Merchant Navy.Barry Gem, 8th March 2018 - reviewed by Brian Lee
These are stories which deserve to be re-told, and Bernard Edwards powerfully reminds us that they contain lessons that remain relevant today.Nautilus March 2018
The volume is both well-written and informative... a worthy example of its ‘War Story’ genre.NZ Crown Mines