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Destroyer by Ian Hawkins


I cannot remember where I purchased it, but I am in the process of reading this fine book on destroyer operations in the Royal Navy during WWII. The book is an anthology of personal recollections and the proceeds go the preservation of the HMS Cavalier, which is the only remaining WWII era destroyer left in existence. Very good read overall, with stories that will evoke tears as well as laughter. Cannot even imagine the hardships that the sailors encountered aboard those ships, especially on the Murmansk convoys. Anyone that has an interest in the RN during WWII should read this book!


Thanks, I am going to order that book for sure! I have read "Pursuit" also, as well as the book written by the senior ranking survivor from Bismark. I must make another trip to London to the Imperial War Museum, I was reading that this was once a hospital that was used as an insane asylum by the RN at one time. They have an amazing bookstore, and many of the books are unobtainable here in the states. Also, found a great little place for an English breakfast on a side road...All locals in there, so the food was good and cheap!


I will most definitely want to see that museum, and the OPS room...So much history from that era to see. I have tried to expose my daughter to our own nation's Naval history and she has patiently gone along most of the time...Actually, she was quite fascinated when we went aboard the USS North Carolina. It is really a pity that the RN didn't preserve one of it's battleships from WWII. I am hoping to come to the UK in May, but haven't decided on an itinerary yet. Probably going to fly in LHR, and purchase a railpass, so I can travel about. I am not much on fancy hotels, so I am going to go rustic for my berthing requirements! My Auntie was an WREN and worked at the Admiralty during the war as a secretary or yeoman as we call it in the US Navy. Would really like to see HMS Victory and the FAA museum also...It is just fascinating to me as a former carrier sailor how much we owe to the RN for the innovative technology that was introduced. Different doctrines, strategies, tactical employment probably contributed to the many difference in how our carriers were designed and built.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Be aware that Victory is currently unrigged, and starting a major preservation project; and Mary Rose is also in the throes of changes so the ship is not currently on show. Check out status via Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The submarine museum across the water in Gosport is well worth a visit. For both these, if by train, go to Portsmouth HARBOUR station. If guns are included in your interest, go to Fort Nelson (admission free) (you will probably need your hire car for this) & try and time it for a demostration firing.


I hope that my experience with driving on the wrong side of the road are better in the UK than it was riding a Moped in Bermuda! However, I was stationed in Japan and had a car there, so it should all come back to me right? LOL Anyway, I am really looking forward to visiting the UK. Would any of you know how I might find my Auntie Doreen's service record? She was a WREN during WWII and served at the Admiralty as a secretary, writer or yeoman...She lost all three of her brothers during the war (one was RN and the other two were Army). Would a US Navy guy be welcome in the NAAFI on the base in Portsmouth?


War Hero
Super Moderator
You'd be welcome but you won't get into any military establishment on your vets ID card without a host to sign you in. Unlike your lot (who've got it right IMO), in the RN once you've done your time and walked out the gate you can't get back in again unless your an associate member of the mess and that ID card will only get you into the establishment your mess is in.


Thank you for the heads-up on that! I guess it's not like going to the China Fleet Club...My Mom stayed there in Hong Kong as the widow of a career military spouse (My Dad was a pilot in the USAF). Things are different from country-to-country obviously, perhaps I can find a pub where the RN retirees hang out and tilt a pint or more with them. I have been retired from the USN since 2000 now, and miss the camaraderie and fellowship of being in a squadron or aboard ship.
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