The Cruel Sea
A book written by Nicholas Monsarratt about a corvette on escort duties in the Second World War. Monsarratt had served through the war as an RNVR officer and his early experiences came out during the war as 'Three Corvettes'. 'The Cruel Sea' is in many ways a memorial to all those who fought that nearly six years long battle. Read it and you will learn how hard-earned was the Atlantic Star. Monsarrat is refreshingly candid about his loathing for loafers ashore, people who fiddled petrol coupons, and the help the Irish gave to the Nazis.
The film version, directed by David Lean, starred Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, Virginia McKenna, and several others. It was reputed to be the first post-war film that accurately reflected the action of that time, and is refreshingly free of those mistakes and solecisms that make naval films so difficult for naval people to watch. The corvette in the film was borrowed from the Irish Navy, to whom we had sold three; a shot of a sinking merchantman was originally taken by one of the officers of the Nazi raider Atlantis, which strip of film had been confiscated by the Admiralty as 'enemy property' at the end of the war. A Castle-class ("Saltash Castle") frigate is substituted for the River-class frigate in the book, as we had none of those left when the film was made, but we still had a squadron of Castles at Portland for ping-running.