Review: The Second World War at Sea in Photographs: 1943

I recently got my bourbon biscuit-covered hands on a copy of Phil Carradice’s The Second World War at Sea in Photographs: 1943 (biscuit is evident on page 7).

I don’t know a lot about battles that happened at sea (a lot of it just makes me think of pirates me’hearties) other than what I have learnt in the 6 months of working at Pen and Sword Books and researching The Battle of Jutland for quizzes, articles, interviews and what not. So this book sort of ‘went over my head’. 

It’s incredibly well produced – it’s nice to touch (stroke), very ‘booky’, which always makes me like a book just that bit more.

The introduction is succinct and to the point, which I am sure for sea battle aficionados is excellent, but for us amateurs it can become tedious; I think pre-existing knowledge would be helpful. Lots of names and places and battles and ship names are mentioned, but it is very well-written and informative. But I skipped to the photographs – the whole point of the book.

As always with Amberley books, the photographs and images are always great –see The Lancaster – and some are real jems in this one. Some, however, are blurred (I know they are black and white, and old) and seem to have been blown up just a bit too much. But others are fantastic. There are LOTS of ships! Some aeroplanes, and my favourite part – retro posters. They are in colour as well, and really add that little extra.

The story runs from January right through the year to December 1943. I was really impressed by the layout and chronology – it was easy to follow and gave a great overview of the year in pictures and captions.

I definitely recommend this to those interested in battles at sea, and I would even recommend to other amateurs like me – the photographs help to tell the story without bogging you down with jargon and information that can get lost in translation.

The Second World War at Sea in Photographs is available from Amberley Publishing

WWI German U-Boat Found Off Coast of East Anglia, UK

A First World War German U-boat, commissioned into the German Navy in September 1914, has finally been discovered on the seabed near East Anglia.

The SM U-31 that vanished after leaving for routine patrol from Wilhelmshaven, January 1915 has been discovered by energy companies ScottishPower and Vattenfall, whilst surveying the seabed for proposed offshore wind farms 55 miles off the coast of East Anglia.

With four officers and 31 men on board, the story goes that they were poisoned by an onboard has leak, whilst others thought that it sunk after been struck by a mine. Least to say, it had become subject to many a war legend.

According to Marke Dunkerly, marine archaeologist at Historic England, the submarine is in remarkable condition; “the conning tower [is] present and the bows [are] partially buried.”

Not expecting to find the SM U-31, they thought that perhaps it was the last-to-be-found Second World War Dutch Navy’s submarine.

The wreck, that is now an official military maritime war grave, will stay where it is. Future wind developments near the wreck will be built in such a way as to not disturb the site.