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The Last British Battleship (Hardback)

HMS Vanguard, 1946–1960

Seaforth Seaforth: Modern Naval Naval Photographic Books Colour Books

By Ray Burt
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 150
ISBN: 9781526752260
Published: 20th May 2019

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The ninth HMS Vanguard, bearing one of the most illustrious names in the Royal Navy with honours from the Armada to Jutland, was the last and largest of Britain’s battleships and was commissioned in 1946. Her design evolved from of the King George V class and incorporated much of the fully developed design for the two battleships, Lion and Temeraire, that were laid down in 1939 but never completed. At 813ft length overall and 42,300 tons, she was the last battleship to be built in the world and the only ship of her class. She was built during the Second World War and incorporated existing twin 15in mountings, and was part of the Royal Navy’s response to the combined and increasing number of German and Japanese battleships in the early 1940s.

She was immediately recognisable by her transom stern and high flared bow and had fine sea keeping ability. Her appearance after the end of hostilities, however, and her huge crew requirements proved a conundrum for the Royal Navy, her most significant role being that of Royal Yacht during the royal family’s tour of South Africa in 1947. She was broken up at Faslane in 1960.

In this new book by R A Burt her design, construction and career are all covered. Armour, machinery, power plants and weaponry are examined in detail and the author has produced some 35 superb plans, profiles and other line drawings for which he is renowned. The text is further enhanced by the addition of some 80 colour and black and white photographs from his collection.

His earlier three volumes are regarded as definitive works on the subject of British battleships before 1945; with this new book he finally completes the story of the Dreadnought era, bringing to life the last of a magnificent type of vessel of which the world will not see again.

As featured in

Marine News

Little can I contribute of a book that speaks for itself. Another masterpiece on my bookshelf.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

"The book is most handsomely produced and really well illustrated with photographs, plans and a full size bi-page fold out with three detailed plans of the ship."

Review by

John Roberts, 2019

The quality of the narrative, photographs and drawings in this volume make it a more than a worthwhile acquisition.

Ships Monthly, December 2019

As featured by

Mercator

As featured in

Navy News, October 2019

This is a beautiful, high quality book full of photographs, some in colour, and line drawings and with a well written narrative which does considerable justice to the last great battleship. It is strongly recommended to the naval enthusiast and the general reader alike.

Miniature Wargames, November 2019 – reviewed by Martin S. Pike

As a result this is a very detailed design study, looking at the design of the Vanguard, the details of her machinery and armament, her radar equipment etc. There is thus space for a look at the work that went into reducing the impact of smoke from her funnels, as well as some atmospheric photographs of the Royal suite during her grand tour.

Read the full review here

History of War

This is a fitting testimonial both to the Vanguard herself and to those extraordinary ships – the battleship. With some impressive photos that do real justice to the ship and some comprehensive line drawings, this is a book to enjoy – highly recommended.

Review by Peter Wykeham-Martin - Warship World, September/October

Featured in

Naval Wargames Society

In this new book her design, construction and career are all covered. Armour, Machinery, power plants and weaponry are examined in detail and the author, Ray Burt, has utilised hundreds of photographs as well as producing some 35 superb plans, profiles and other line drawings for which he is renowned.

Model Boats, September 2019 – reviewed by John Deamer

This book covers her design, construction and career, armour, machinery, power plants, and weaponry and includes some 35 plans, profiles, and line drawings as well as colour and black and white photographs. The author’s previous three volumes are definitive works on the subject of British battleships before 1945. With this new book he completes the story of the Dreadnought era, bringing to life the last of a magnificent type of vessel, which the world will never see again.

Read the full review here

Julian Stockwin Blog

This is a book that will appeal to a wider readership and certainly become an essential part of the library of enthusiasts and professionals. Considering the large format, high quality production and high image content, from a specialist in the subject, this book is priced at a very competitive figure and, knowing that Pen and Sword Seaforth will also be offering discounted pricing, this is a book that is very affordable.

Read the full review here

Firetrench

This hard back offering from Seaforth Publishing is a particularly well presented book, covering a ship R A Burt has done a particularly effective job of selecting the images to present to the reader. The text is well written and informative, the line drawings rate especially highly with me, as I feel that they present a level of detail of different elements to a degree that I cannot recall having seen in a book of this size. A truly stunning offering.

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Armorama

My hopes were fully realised by the text, the photographs and the technical drawings. The text is very technical in parts which truly reflects the subject but in the main can be easily followed. Although there are a few difficult bits where unexplained initials are use. The photographs are many and varied showing every stage of the ship from builders yard to breakers yard. One very poignant picture, the last in the book, is of the bow section just lying forlorn in the mud.
The technical drawings, nearly all by the author, are superb. The drawings are of the whole ship including two three page and one four page spreads. There are also many detailed drawings of weapons systems, radar etc. All drawings are fully annotated as appropriate to their scale.
All this is presented in a beautifully produced large portrait format, about 260mm X 300mm.
We very highly recommend this well researched work.

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Clash of Steel

The elegance of presentation, with its copious illustrations, cannot be too highly praised and is a great credit to both Seaforth and the author who showcases a remarkable private collection of photographs (several in colour) and a large number of technical drawings, several by his own hand. The illustrations are the huge strength of the book for the general reader; the amazingly comprehensive data for the naval historian. 29.5 mm x 26 mm.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

A thoroughly readable book with superb photo coverage (including a selection in glorious technicolour), all at high quality - highly recommended.

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Damien Burke, author of TSR2 - Britain's Last Bomber

Pretty solid reference book. The author is known of profund knowledge about british battleships. Lot's of information on the ship's design, weapons, armor, refits, and service career, along with the Royal Cruise of 1949. Every model builder who is interested in detailed information about the Vanguard ships will enjoy this book.

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Model Ship World

An extremely impressive title!

Watch the full video review here

Scale Modelling Now

This book, published by a specialized publisher and producing fantastic books like Seaforth Publishing, is the most fitting tribute to the last of a type of ships that have dominated the sea for 50 years. Burt writes a book that can not miss on the bookshelves of lovers of naval history and an era that no longer exists, but that echoes in its grandeur and splendor through the photos of this beautiful book.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

A book that will delight the enthusiasts of British battleships.

Read the full French review here

Le Fauteuil de Colbert

About Ray Burt

RAY BURT has researched the design, construction and service histories of British battleships for many years, and has also assembled one of the most outstanding collections that exists of photographs of the ships. He is also an accomplished draughtsman and illustrator, and many of his superb drawings appear in this book.

Perfect Partner

British Battleships 1919-1945 (Hardback)

This superb reference book achieved the status of 'classic' soon after its first publication in 1993; it was soon out of print and is now one of the most sought-after naval reference books. And with good reason. Offering an unprecedented range of descriptive and illustrative detail, the author describes the evolution of the battleship classes through all their modifications and refits. As well as dealing with design features, armour, machinery and power plants and weaponry, he also examines the performance of the ships in battle and analyses their successes and failures; and as well as covering…

By Ray Burt

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