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HMS London (Hardback)

Warships of the Royal Navy

Maritime Naval Military

By Iain Ballantyne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780850528435
Published: 6th June 2002
Last Released: 1st August 2007



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When the British Prime Minister announced a new warship was to be christened HMS London in 2018 it revived a name that is covered not only in glory but also tinged with controversy.

In this vividly told narrative we voyage in the company of those whose fates have been intertwined with Londons in peace, war and even during mutiny. For the ship’s companies of fighting vessels named HMS London have witnessed the highs and lows of British naval history spanning centuries.

The epic story includes: an ill-fated encounter between wooden wall battleships off Chesapeake in 1781 - whose result arguably lost Britain its American colonies; the hell of the Gallipoli landings in the First World War; the disastrous PQ17 convoy of the Second World War; a valiant foray into the teeth of communist Chinese fire during the 1940s Yangtze Incident; leading the British naval task group in Operation Desert Storm; sailing into the Arctic on a mission to end the Cold War at sea as the 1991 hard-liners’ coup in Moscow collapsed.

This new edition offers enhanced and new imagery in addition to other fresh material, including a young officer’s part in the climactic events of the Second World War in East Asia. We also learn how the London of Oliver Cromwell and King Charles II is offering up treasures from the murky waters of the Thames.

A new final chapter looks at the next HMS London, which will be a futuristic City Class (Type 26) submarine hunter. It also considers the missions the new London will face amid great power rivalry on the oceans that sees an increasingly volatile face-off between the West and Russia with China.

This fascinating account of the lives of British warships named LONDON looks at history from the perspective of the men who were there; veterans of the grim arctic convoys, the Yangtze Incident, the Cold War and the Gulf War.


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 Iain Ballantyne

About Iain Ballantyne

Iain Ballantyne was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and has long had a deep interest in Naval history. As a defence reporter on the Plymouth Evening Herald he often went to sea. He is now editor of the naval affairs magazine WARSHIPS International. He lives in Plymouth. He is the author of Warspite (Pen & Sword).

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