The sailors of the Royal Navy fought from the very first day of the Second World War until the very last. They fought a campaign of unparalleled geographical scale, in every ocean of the world and along every major coastline from America to Australia, from the Arctic to South Africa. They fought in every conceivable vessel: vast aircraft carriers and cramped corvettes, fast motor boats and rickety minesweepers, Swordfish biplanes and aging submarines. They experienced the war at sea in all its forms: nerve-wracking convoys, epic gun battles, devastating aerial bombardment and swashbuckling amphibious landings. They evacuated armies. They transported, supplied and supported land and air forces from the deserts of North Africa to the jungles of Burma. Eventually, sailors delivered the Allied invasion forces which would reclaim Europe, and played their part in the brutal campaign against Japan. After hostilities had ceased, they began the long process of delivering humanitarian aid and bringing home prisoners of war.
Great Britain was a maritime superpower: her financial and military strength depended on naval might. In this global struggle, ships formed the sinews of war, of industry and of empire. The sailors of the Royal Navy helped to protect the merchant crews whose cargo vessels fed populations and fuelled factories, linked imperial and international cohorts, and proved the foundation of Britain's very survival. Far from being detached from ordinary Britons, their struggle was fundamental to the British experience of the conflict.
Citizen Sailors is a people's history of the sailor's war. Drawing on hundreds of contemporary diaries and letters, along with memoirs, oral history and official documents, Glyn Prysor paints a vivid human panorama of the war at sea. This is an unprecedented personal history, seen through the eyes of sailors themselves. It is a compelling account of their everyday lives and extraordinary experiences, of the humanity and the horror, the triumphs and the tragedies of life in the wartime Royal Navy. By placing sailors at the heart of the story, it provides an important new perspective on Britain's world war.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 02 / 2013