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The Harwich Striking Force (ePub)

The Royal Navy's Front Line in the North Sea 1914–1918

Maritime > Naval > Royal Navy Maritime > Seaforth Publishing Photographic eBooks WWI > Naval Battles

By Steve R. Dunn
Seaforth Publishing
File Size: 19.9 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 133 black and white photos and 1 map
ISBN: 9781399015974
Published: 30th July 2022


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Essex County Standard and Daily Gazette Feature

Historian tells the forgotten story of Harwich's First World War sailors

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'The Harwich Force has made its name and will not be forgotten during the future annals of history’; so said Rear Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt on Armistice Day 1918. But that fame has not endured. Yet for the whole duration of the First World War, the Harwich Striking Force was the front line of the Royal Navy, a force of cruisers and destroyers defending the seas for the Allies.

Under a charismatic and aggressive leader, Reginald Yorke Tyrwhitt, U-boats, German cruisers, destroyers and light craft all met their ends at the hands of the Force, as did enemy seaplanes and Zeppelin airships. The Harwich ships were at sea almost daily throughout the war, haunting the German coast and the Friesian Islands, pioneering aerial attack from the sea, developing naval carrier aviation and combined air/sea operations, and hunting for enemy submarines and minelayers in the North Sea. The Harwich Force also took part in major naval battles alongside the Grand Fleet’s battlecruisers, and protected merchant ships operating in the dangerous waters around Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Britain.

The author also assesses the role played by the other Royal Navy formations at Harwich: submarines, auxiliary minesweeping and patrol vessels, the Felixstowe seaplane base and the town itself. And when the war was finally won, the Force gained further fame when the German U-boat fleet was surrendered there.

Lavishly illustrated, this book is an enthralling account of the men of the Harwich Force, of their grit and brave sacrifice and the key part that they played in the final Allied victory against Germany.

"Here is what is believed to be the first lengthy appraisal of these remarkable operations recounting actions in a praiseworthy narrative with copious illustrations."

The Flash - No39 Autumn 2023

‘Excellent, finely detailed, action-packed ‘’biography’’ of Harwich and its Striking Force, Steve R Dunn delivers many a fascinating ‘‘dit’’ while offering vivid portraits of the people involved’.

Warships International Fleet Review, May 2023

Anyone interested in the Great War and naval operations in general will enjoy reading Dunn’s book.

Read the Full Review Here

Beating Tsundoku

As featured on The Naval Review

The Naval Review

4.5 out of 5

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Most readers who have an interest in the Royal Navy will know about the RN at Harwich during WWI but probably have limited knowledge of the whole scenario. This book by Steve Dunn, the author who has written many books about the RN, has rectified omissions and filled in all the blanks.

It centres around the officer in command during WWI Rear Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt, an admiral much admired by his peers and men. However the contents are far from being a record of his achievements and exploits as the author covers the whole spectrum of the Harwich Force. The ships of all classes and size, the actions against the enemy, the mining and the losses caused by mines and last but by no means the least the men who fought, died, were wounded and those that lived to tell the tale of the fears, hardship and the occasional free time ashore.

Superbly researched as usual. I recommend this publication.

Bob Dean - Navy Daze, The Ton Class Association

Steve Dunn brings the reader his eighth published work for Seaforth. In the view of this reviewer he has maintained his usual excellent standards in terms of the quality and depth of research and the highly readable and engrossing narrative.

Steve Dunn is a well-known author with a special interest in the Royal Navy of the late nineteenth century and the First World War. He has written on a variety of naval topics and narrative histories including works on the Dover Patrol, the Naval Blockade of Germany in WW1, the Battle for the Western Approaches in WW1 and the ‘Battle of the Baltic’.

Martin Willoughby Wessex Branch WFA

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I guessed I would, it really is a good read and kept me hooked for a good few days. Most definitely recommended.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

‘A superb read and very highly recommended’.

Warship World

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Read the review here

Australian Naval Institute

‘The book chronicles the battles, bad weather and contradictory orders of the war. It is both informative and readable’

Read the review here

ARRSE October 2022

The easy flowing text includes a lot of personal accounts and observations, there are many photographs of the men and the vessels and one very good map. This is a well-focussed work and a jolly good read which we highly recommend.

Read the Full Review Here

Clash of Steel

This book is a fitting tribute not just to the men and ships of the Harwich Force but also to its leader Reginald Tyrwhitt who led the Force for the whole of the war and was described by one of the Force Petty Officers as “the finest sailor Britain has produced since Nelson”. A superb read and very highly recommended.

Peter Wykeham-Martin, Warship World

Steve Dunn has comprehensively in this book encompassed all aspects of the Harwich Force. His thorough research has revealed a fascinating study of its operations during the First World War. Reflections and quotes are included by naval officers who served with the force. Technical characteristics of ships and aircraft are also outlined. ...

The author provides a well-balanced and considered account of Tyrwhitt and the Harwich Force. There are included within the book black and white photographs, appendices, authors notes, bibliography, and index. This concise and engrossing history of the Harwich Force is a valuable welcomed resource. It is also a memorable reminder to the debt that is owed to those who served in the Royal Navy and the cost in human lives to bring about the downfall and defeat of the Imperial German Navy.

Reviewer: Roger Coleman

The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

The story is complex and diverse but the author shapes the narrative so that the focus glides smoothly from one aspect to another – a tale of individual heroism, wholesale naval battles and skirmishes, involvement of air craft and submarines, coastal bombardments, zeppelins and flying boats.

Dr David A. Male, Harwich Society

This book is a fascinating and interesting read, well populated with photographs of the ships, the aircraft and notable personnel. There are chapters dedicated to the Auxiliary Force and the work at Felixstowe, and, most interestingly, the effect that the force had on Harwich and its surrounds.

Highly recommended.

Les Brown, Small Warships

‘I could not put it down. You have done all those brave men a great service’.

Letter to the author from Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt, 3rd Baronet, grandson of Admiral Tyrwhitt, who commanded the Harwich Force.

As Featured In

Cher Ami, Great War Special Interest Group Newsletter - July 2022

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.

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