The starting point for this book was my own experience as a young cadet with P&O in the early 1960s. During bridge watches at night, and often during the day, it was quite routine to call up passing ships with the Aldis signal lamp and I remember the 3rd Officer during the First Watch (8-12) one night asking me to ‘call up that ship’. “What do I say?” I ask him. “Start with ‘What Ship, Where Bound?’” came the reply. And so I did, almost certainly with some first-time nerves; sending Morse by lamp is easy but reading it takes practice and I cannot recall with clarity what the outcome was, but the opening question has stayed with me and eventually became the title of this book.
Tag: maritime Page 1 of 2
A bit of background as to why I wrote the book
My maternal grandfather, Alexander Kinsey, was one of thirteen children born and raised in a large house in the leafy London suburb of Merton in the 1890s. Around that time, his father – my great grandfather – was a civil engineer by profession and accepted a post to advise on the expansion of the Port of Durban, South Africa. With his wife and brood of children they set sail for the lengthy sea voyage to Durban.
George Cross Island
‘Sleeping or waking Malta is always in my thoughts’, so said Admiral Lord Nelson during the Napoleonic Wars. With the rise of the Nazis in 1930’s Germany, and the increasing prospect that Europe would again plummet into war, Malta was once more destined to become vital to Allied interests.
Almost everyone knows about the great land battles of history – Hastings, Waterloo, Stalingrad, Gettysburg and so on. But strangely – and perhaps disconcertingly for a sea faring nation – not many British people know much about the important sea battles of history. They are battles that did literally change the world.
One of the earliest but most significant was the Battle of Salamis which took place in 480BC. Victory for the Athenian Navy prevented the Persian fleet of King Xerxes linking up with his formidable army – already victorious in the Pass of Thermopylae – to form an unbreakable force that would have conquered Greece and then marched on into Europe. If that had happened European history, culture and lifestyles would be very different from the way they appear today.