Gilbert Hackforth-Jones


War Hero
Book Reviewer
A submariner who commanded several boats before retiring in 1936, perhaps with eyesight problems caused by squinting through too many periscopes, Gilbert Hackforth Jones took up his pen and produced a variety of work including children's books and, with his wife, two plays. Among all this were several humorous novels and some short stories about the RN which he sends up in a very amusing style much as does John Winton whose work overlaps.

I've just been re-reading 'Life on the Ocean Wave' which had me in fits at times. GH-J's earliest works focus on submarines but this one is set in a support ship converted from a liner and in some ways reminded my of HMSs Maidstone and Hartland Point. Dated 1960 and set in the 'future' of 1963, I would think it was actually written 1957-8. The plot is fairly preposterous at times but with just enough links to reality to make it work. It's Wardroom stuff of course because that's what he knows. I'd have thought some of the officers depicted were unreal if I hadn't know several who were even more barmy, and many of the more ridiculous incidents are eerily familiar. Worth grabbing any of his books if they turn up on a charity bookstall and some are still available on the net.

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