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Any good RN reading?

dhobyitch said:
B(_)boiler said:
When I was on the "TARTAR" by Michael Payne. He was in the Mob 1970's.
True to life.

Finished reading it last week. Excellent.

I read it when it first came out. Very good indeed. Was the bearded guy on the front cover a Seaman or a Stoker? :???: :grin:


Lantern Swinger
Actually, I thought this was a rather good novel:

'Temeraire' by Naomi Norvik.

Its not exactly what one would call 'historical fiction' as one might describe the Hornblower series by C.S. Forrester or the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien. Its really more of a 'historical fantasy' if you will. If you can imagine dragons being used as a sort of Napoleonic RAF then you are along the right lines!

I realise that this might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I've always been one for my head in the clouds and as I say, I really enjoyed the novel and as long as you remeber that its just fiction, I think you might enjoy the novel too!


War Hero
Book Reviewer
snapdragon said:
Just read the post about the Jackspeak book. Can anyone recommend any good RN videos or books or anything? Just out of interest.

BR11 (Manual of Naval Law) Vol. I-III



Always_a_Civvy said:
dhobyitch said:
B(_)boiler said:
When I was on the "TARTAR" by Michael Payne. He was in the Mob 1970's.
True to life.

Finished reading it last week. Excellent.

I read it when it first came out. Very good indeed. Was the bearded guy on the front cover a Seaman or a Stoker? :???: :grin:
Seaman dirk not a wheelspanner on his belt. Extremly hairy.


War Hero
If you can get your hands on it try the `red sailor ` it will have you in stitches, true jack through and trough.
Also check out this site on other forums there are plenty of recommendations.
Think one is favourite naval book/read.


Book Reviewer
Shakey said:
'The Cruel Sea' by Nicholas Montserrat.

Better than the film, even if it's a B&W classic.

Three Corvettes by the same author is well worth reading too. Along with HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean and Send Down A Dove or the three books by A E Langsford, HMS Marathon, HMS Crusader and HMS Inflexible. Some DOuglas Reeman stuff can be quite a good read, however it tends to be written to a standard formula - you've read one, you've read them all!
Perhaps this isn`t as well known, but for those who like a Mutiny,

Mutiny in Force X by Bill glenton

In the Pacific in 1944, a true story and well worth a read(Has pictures for the younger readers)


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Buy this book now:

"Through Fire and Water: HMS Ardent - The Forgotten Frigate of the Falklands War"

I have often been moved emotionally by an image, a film, a piece of music, but never by a book. Until I read this - imagine being a 'fly-on-the-wall' on the ship at the time; from the last run ashore in Amsters, to the battle and the subsequent evacuation. Spoken in real 'matelotese' you are transported from the Captain to the Junior Seaman; Engine Room, the Bridge, Section Base, Messdeck, and back again in the turn of a page. The reader is a welcome guest of the Ship's Company, sharing the nitty gritty of life under fire. Reading the words of grown men talking about their experiences at the time (when most were teenagers or in their early 20s) very often brings a lump to the throat and makes the room suddenly very smoky... compulsory reading for anyone who thinks that life on board a ship is boring. Modern, relevant, gripping. I urge everyone to buy or borrow a copy.

"Band of Brothers" Boy Seaman in the RN 1800 to 1956 by David Phillipson

DVD "Sailor" BBC Bookshop or others Day to day life on ArK Royal in the 70's VVG.



War Hero
Book Reviewer
"The Bosun's Call" by Hugh Willis - nearly fell out of my armchair laughing so much. It is about HW's time on the Lower Deck before going aft through the hawsepipe as an Upper Yardman in the 1950s. I couldn't figure out how he escaped having his CW papers torn up!


Book Reviewer
F169 said:
I am presently rereading the Master Mariner by Monsarrat. If you want a list of navy (novels/bios/factual) and also more general books in a comprehensive recommendation you could do much worse than look here:

I would recommend every one of Patrick OBrien's novels, not just the Jack Aubrey series.

Master Mariner is a great concept and a good read, it was a shame that Monsarrat had the bad manners to die before finishing the follow on volume, its not been put together very well by the ghost writer that took on the task of writing it from Monsarrats notes.


Sober Men and True, Sailor lives in the RN 1900-1945, by Christopher McKee.

A bit like Lost Voices of the RN. The picture on the front sums it up.

Destroyers by Allan Hawkins (?) is another similar one. The same sort of thing. Memories from men who served in destroyers in the 2nd World War.
two good ones are:

"Destroyer" An anthology of first-hand accounts of the war at sea 1939-1945 edited by Ian Hawkins and "HMS Fealess, the mighty lion" by Ewen Southby-Tailyour. The first is both funny and poignant, the second is a must read for any ex-Fearless crew, brings back some great memories.


Lantern Swinger
"Jacks War" by can't remember who, year by year dits from WW2, pretty sobering stuff especially one story ref an upperdeck gun team who were blown to bits off Norway...remains of 5 lads were sewed up in bags for burial before coxswain realised there were 6 in the gun crew, one volunteer unpicked the bags and rearranged what was in there into 6 bags, was given a tot for his trouble then back on watch.. search on Ebay

Apart from that "One of our submarines" by Edward Young

and "The Cats revenge" by Claude Bawls!


Lantern Swinger
Anything at all by John Winton - the greatest author about life in the post war RN ever. Still hugely relevant to this day. (We Joined the Navy, We Saw the Sea, All the Nice Girls, Never Go to Sea, Periscopes Up and HMS Leviathan).
Stories by John Winton (We joined the Navy / We saw the Sea / All the Nice Girls and a couple more) are very good. The only place I've found selling them is:

They also do various books on ships.

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