This is far from a straightforward cruise log: part diary, part biography, part naval history. The timing may be unique: having sailed up the German coast and passed through the Kiel Canal, the heroine ends her three-week voyage at Grimsby on Saturday 2nd September 1939, the day before the Second World War began.
This is a fascinating piece of history – at least to me, as two members of my family fought in the Far East. So I learnt much that they were never able to talk about. It shows that during WW2, it was equally important to the Japanese to destroy the British Fleet in the Pacific as it was to destroy the American fleet 3 days earlier in Pearl Harbour.
The author is a diver and was invited to join a military expedition to survey the wrecks of 2 famous British warships: HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse now lying on the bottom of the South China Sea.
The 1930s saw increasing evidence of difficulties to come and, as so often seems to be the case, Great Britain was ill-prepared. Breeding a new generation of naval officers and ratings, who have the experience and training to cope with the exigencies of war at sea, takes time.....