'Britannia to Beira and Beyond' by Mike Critchley

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
“Splendaciously mendacious rolled the Brassbound man ashore” (Kipling)

As a youngster Mike Critchley, both of whose grandfathers had served in the Royal Navy, only ever wanted to go to sea. He entered Dartmouth in January 1963 and served, as a seaman officer, to 1974. He is familiar to many as a writer and broadcaster and is the founder of his successful publishing firm, Maritime Books.

He has finally been persuaded to share some reminiscences of his naval career. The volume under review (150pp, A5 paperback) covers the first five years of his naval career in a variety of ships from Ark Royal (the old real one) down to a converted LCT, a coastal minesweeper and (briefly) an inshore.

Critchley has brought out absolutely brilliantly, in a series of very amusingly told anecdotes of various character-forming incidents, the level of farce which bubbles away just below the surface of Service life. Many of his tales will touch a chord and remind other ex-sailors of similar happenings, although I certainly cannot match his tale of a midshipman throwing his Captain over the side. Those of you who thought the lunacy in John Winton’s novels was pure invention, prepare to be corrected.

The otherwise hilarious narrative is broken in the middle with the harrowing tale of the loss of one of Ark Royal’s Sea Vixen and its observer, played out live on one of the carrier’s bridge loudspeakers.

Critchley took his first lessons in seamanship via his daily trip to school on the Gosport Ferry. This did not prepare him for being plagued by severe seasickness, for which the only sure-fire cure is to sit under a tree, but nevertheless when his five years were up he signed on for more. My only regret is that he has not shared those years with us as well. The nice thing about the Navy is that however awful life gets there is always something or someone to laugh at. It was fun to be reminded of that.

The narrative is complemented by some good photographs.

Four anchors.

Seaweed

'Britannia to Beira and Beyond' by Mike Critchley (Maritime Books, £6.99)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
soleil RN Website: "Britannia Royal Naval College Lights Up For VE Day" Bases / Shore Est 2
MoD_RSS Britannia Protects the Waves: £7m extra funding to protect UK marine life MoD News 0
FreedomTea From picking up the phone to Britannia - A guide to Officer Selection Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 25
soleil Herald Express: "Final Parade Of The Year At Britannia Royal Naval College" Bases / Shore Est 0
soleil Britannia Royal Naval College Open Day - Saturday, July 27th 2013 Bases / Shore Est 4
D Britannia, Table Bay 1995 History 1
soleil Scotsman: "Rule Britannia: Life On Board The Royal Yacht" The Quarterdeck 0
T Jutland warship may berth with Britannia Current Affairs 5
U Raleigh the new Britannia? The Quarterdeck 14
soleil BBC: A Century Of Training At Britannia Royal Naval College Bases / Shore Est 9
P Wartime role of HMY Britannia - query History 46
B Britannia Cranwell Sandhurst amalgamation? The Gash Barge 3
chinamatelot Britannia failed the waves Current Affairs 5
T social life at britannia Social & Reunions 5
F First Beira patrol The Quarterdeck 21
T Systems Engineer Officer Training and Beyond RFA 2
MoD_RSS ‘Look Beyond’ themed National Apprenticeship Week (NAW2020) round up MoD News 0
MoD_RSS LPC Research: Invitation to Tender for 2020 Report and beyond MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Parents urged to look beyond apprenticeship misconceptions MoD News 0
MoD_RSS ‘Look Beyond’ with an apprenticeship this National Apprenticeship Week MoD News 0
MoD_RSS AAIB Report: Sikorsky S-61N Sea King, damaged beyond economical repair MoD News 0
MoD_RSS UK and Bangladesh launch Climate Action towards COP26 and beyond MoD News 0
MoD_RSS A UK-Ghana partnership Beyond Aid: op-ed by Iain Walker MoD News 0
MoD_RSS A UK-Ghana Partnership going Beyond Aid MoD News 0
MoD_RSS ‘Look Beyond’ announced as the theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2020 MoD News 0
A I like how there are 3 recent threads for the exact same thing. This is beyond not using the search box. Joining the Royal Navy 19
MoD_RSS The UK Financial Services Beyond Brexit Summit: Economic Secretary's speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS 17 banks and lenders confirm support for SME customers through Brexit and beyond MoD News 0
MoD_RSS We will robustly defend human rights here at the UN and beyond MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Banks pledge their support to SMEs through Brexit and beyond in new Charter MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Advanced Vision for 2020 and Beyond: further 1-to-1s released MoD News 0
MoD_RSS We need every country to recognise that attacks on media freedom are beyond the pale MoD News 0
MoD_RSS CMA recommends protecting prepayment energy customers beyond 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Academy SW seminar - Contextual Safeguarding: protecting children abused beyond their homes MoD News 0
MoD_RSS News story: Beyond Battery Power: Demonstration Day MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Speech: Silencing the guns to 2020 and beyond MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Speech: Beyond prison, redefining punishment: David Gauke speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Speech: Speech: A world beyond Europe, a time beyond Brexit MoD News 0
MoD_RSS News story: There is a world beyond Europe, and a time beyond Brexit - Fox MoD News 0
C Raleigh Re-entry course and beyond... Joining the Royal Navy 5
MoD_RSS Speech: Putin’s sinister threats and lies extend far beyond his own country: article by Boris Johnson MoD News 0
MoD_RSS News story: Video overview of our synthetic biology and beyond battery power competitions MoD News 0
MoD_RSS News story: CDE themed competition webinar: beyond battery power MoD News 0
u04elw2 Attestation and beyond? Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 9
I Career progression, Captain and beyond? The Fleet Air Arm 28
Ninja_Stoker British Biathlon - Funding beyond Sochi 2014 The Quarterdeck 9
soleil "Beyond The Walls Of Portsmouth Naval Base" - Vintage Bus Tours Bases / Shore Est 6
Joint_Force_Harrier JSF to based in the back of beyond! The Fleet Air Arm 14
B Post BRNC, IWOF, IWOC and beyond. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 13
soleil Mail: "Bravery Beyond Belief: Stories Behind The VC And GC" Current Affairs 1
Similar threads


















































Top