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Diary of a Wartime Naval Constructor (Hardback)

Sir Stanley Goodall

Maritime > Naval Maritime > Seaforth Publishing > Seaforth: WWII Naval Memoirs Military > Memoirs P&S History > By Century > 20th Century WWII

Edited by Ian Buxton
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781399082709
Published: 1st July 2022



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One of the most significant warship designers of the twentieth century, Sir Stanley Goodall rose through the ranks of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors to become its head in 1936. The Corps was responsible for every aspect of the design and construction of British warships, and its head, the Director of Naval Construction, was the principal technical advisor to the Board of Admiralty. Although Goodall was succeeded in this post in January 1944, he remained the Assistant Controller Warship Production until October 1945 so was probably the single most influential figure in British naval technical matters during the war years.

His private diary was never intended for publication – indeed it seems to have been a vehicle for venting some of his professional frustrations – so his opinions are candid and unrestrained. His criticisms of many in the Admiralty and the shipyards are enlightening, and taken as a whole the diary provides new and unique insights into a wartime construction programme that built nearly a thousand major warships and a myriad of landing craft and coastal forces.

Dr Ian Buxton, a well-known authority on British shipbuilding, has edited the entries covering Goodall’s war years, identifying the various personalities and ships referred to (sometimes cryptically), while setting out the context in a number of introductory essays. As an insider’s view of a complex process, this book offers every warship enthusiast much new material and a novel perspective on an apparently familiar subject.

"It is an excellent book and I thoroughly recommend it."

Read the review here

David Hobbs - Australian Naval Institute

Now I really like diaries so I found this a cracking read, some might find this a little dry but if you want an all-round picture of how parts of a war are run, you’ll enjoy this book.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

Sir Stanley Goodall was Director of Naval Construction for most of WWII and his diaries, as the editor Ian Buxton comments, provide a “unique and revealing insight… to the RN’s successes and failures” during the war.

Goodall wrote a diary page a day for all the war years, covering everything from notes on construction progress to frustrations with people and yards unable to deliver.

The editing is superb and perseverance will be rewarded.

Peter Wykeham-Martin, Warship World

About Ian Buxton

IAN BUXTON is a naval architect with a lifetime’s experience in the shipbuilding industry and, latterly, in higher education at the University of Newcastle. He is perhaps best known for Big Gun Monitors reprinted by Seaforth in 2008. He also co-authored The Battleship Builders with Ian Johnston, and most recently this partnership produced Battleship Duke of York published in 2021.

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