A New Booklet

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It gives me great pleasure to announce the publication of a new booklet about Norfolk’s surviving trio of wherry yachts. The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads are home to over 1000 indigenous traditional sailing craft ranging in size from the 14ft Norfolk One Design Dinghies to the mighty Norfolk Wherries. The majority of these boats were either built or inspired by designs that were drafted in the first half of the 20th century including the sole surviving trio of wherry yachts Olive, Norada and White Moth. By a curious twist of fate these wherry yachts were all built by the Wroxham based boatbuilder and designer Ernest Collins. They spent over three decades within his hire fleet followed by a period of mixed fortunes in private ownership after the Second World War before they were reunited under the banner of the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust (WYCCT) in 2012.

The Trust very kindly invited me to write this booklet to help raise awareness of this trio’s rich heritage and raise much needed funds towards their on-going preservation. This 20 page booklet includes 25 colour images and 3 line drawings depicting the internal layout of each featured wherry yacht. Copies are available for £5 including postage and packing from The Friends of Wherry Yacht Charter. Cheques for this booklet should be made payable to Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust and sent to:

Friends of Wherry Yacht Charter

c/o Mark Walters

25 Abinger Way

Norwich

NR4 6LJ

The booklet’s details are as follows:

Title: The Wherry Yachts – The last three survivors: Olive, Norada and White Moth

Publisher: Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable Trust

ISBN 978-0-9935619-0-0

RRP £5

20pp

 

 

 

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Launching my latest book

IllustriousBKNo-4LRThe National Museum of the Royal Navy held the official launch for my latest book HMS Illustrious (V) 1982 – 2014 on 21 September 2015. I was very honoured to be joined by three of the ship’s former Commanding Officers, Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO DL, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB DL and Captain M K Utley OBE RN who kindly gave presentations about their time in command of this great ship.

Dale McEwan of That’s Solent TV produced a very good piece about the launch which can be seen via this link Book Launch Film. Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that I should of course said that Illustrious was sent to the Philippines in 2013  in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

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The Story of the 5th HMS Illustrious

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It gives me great pleasure to provide a few more details about the rich heritage of the Royal Navy’s longest serving aircraft carrier which is covered within my latest book HMS Illustrious (V) 1982 – 2014

The origins of the Royal Navy’s longest serving aircraft carrier date back to the early 1960s, when a series of studies were commissioned to establish the best design for a new class of escort cruisers. This work gained increased significance in the wake of the Government’s controversial cancellation of the fleet carrier CVA-01 in 1966 and led to the construction of the three Invincible class ships. Initially known as through deck cruisers for political reasons, the trio ensured the survival of aviation in the Royal Navy into the 21st century and laid the foundations for the significantly more capable Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

The fifth ship to bear the name, Illustrious was launched in 1978 by HRH Princess Margaret as the second member of Invincible class. The outbreak of the Falklands War in April 1982 triggered a round the clock operation to bring forward her completion by three months. Uniquely commissioned at sea, Illustrious sailed for the South Atlantic where she relieved her battle hardened elder sister Invincible and assumed responsibility for the air defence of the Falkland Islands until the extension of Stanley airfield’s runway was completed in October 1982. This remarkable deployment set the tone for an action packed 32 years of active service in which Illustrious steamed a total of 931,713 miles. The ship’s flexibility was clearly demonstrated by her ability to successfully operate in the anti-submarine, strike, commando, diplomatic, trade promotion and humanitarian relief roles.

On returning from the South Atlantic in 1982, Illustrious assumed her designated role of providing anti-submarine protection for NATO’s Strike Fleet Atlantic in a series of major exercises. Within hours of sailing as the flagship of Global 86 Task Group, Illustrious suffered a gearbox explosion. Despite the extensive damage, Illustrious rejoined the Task Group in Singapore for the most significant stages of the deployment after 13 weeks of repairs followed by the 8882 mile high speed passage from Portsmouth. In 1989 Illustrious paid off into reserve prior to a £156 million modernisation in Devonport. When she recommissioned five years later, Illustrious sailed to the Adriatic to help maintain the no-fly zone over Bosnia. During a subsequent tour of duty in the Adriatic in December 1995, she became one of the Royal Navy’s first warships to directly operate under NATO control. Members of the Ship’s Company participated in the ceremonies to mark the hand over of Hong Kong to China on 30 June 1997 while Illustrious remained on standby over the horizon to provide assistance if required. She deployed to the Gulf for the first time in January 1998 to assist the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

The publication of the Strategic Defence Review in July 1998 confirmed that the Invincible class would spend their final years in commission operating the widest range of aircraft in a power projection role. This, coupled with the routine embarkation of the newly formed Joint Force 2000, ensured that they played a crucial role in the development of tactics and operating procedures for the Queen Elizabeth class carriers.

In 2000, Illustrious undertook a further tour of duty in the Gulf. During the return voyage, a mechanical failure on board an Iranian tanker at the head of the north bound convoy forced the Fleet Flagship to spend 24 hours trapped alongside in the Suez Canal. Shortly afterwards, her involvement in a routine NATO exercise was interrupted by the deteriorating situation in Sierra Leone when the British Government diverted the carrier to provide air cover during the evacuation of British nationals from the capital Freetown. She remained on station when the UK’s involvement in Sierra Leone extended to the provision of stability in the area while reinforcements arrived to strengthen the United Nations peacekeeping force.

From 2001 to 2002, Illustrious supported operations in Afghanistan following an overnight conversion at sea from the strike to the commando role. In 2006, along with HMS Bulwark, HMS Gloucester, HMS York, HMS St Albans and RFA Fort Victoria, she helped evacuate British citizens from Beirut during the Israel-Lebanon crisis. The retirement of the proven Harrier triggered the permanent conversion of Illustrious into a commando carrier in 2011. Two years later, during her final deployment East of Suez, she was diverted to the Philippines to play a major role in the international relief operation in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Illustrious concluded her active service by heading to Rosyth to participate in HMS Queen Elizabeth’s naming ceremony before returning to Portsmouth for the last time on 22 July 2014.

Painting a vivid picture of life on board one of the Royal Navy’s most important warships of the post war era, the author brings the story of Illustrious alive using interviews and first-hand accounts. As part of his research the author has interviewed a representative cross section of those involved in the ship’s rich heritage from junior sailors and members of the embarked squadrons, to all of the former Commanding Officers, as well as, the man responsible for her construction by Swan Hunter’s shipyard. The book is fully illustrated throughout with a rich selection of photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, and as such it is sure to appeal to all with an interest in the Royal Navy and its warships.

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The Royal Navy’s Longest Serving Aircraft Carrier

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It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of my latest book which covers the action packed career of the Royal Navy’s longest serving aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. This book was commissioned to provide the final members of her Ship’s Company with a record of the carrier’s rich heritage from her origins in the early 1960s to her withdrawal from service in 2014. The book includes first hand accounts from all of the former Commanding Officers and a cross section of those who served in her from flag officers to junior sailors, as well as, the man responsible for her construction by Swan Hunter. This book is now available to members of the public via the National Museum of the Royal Navy. The RRP is £25.

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25% Discount available for two of my books

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I am very pleased to be able to share this offer with you. Seaforth Publishing is offering a 25% discount to those placing direct orders for copies of my books on HMS Belfast and HMS Cavalier using these PDF flyers HMS Belfast book 25% discount PDF Flyer and / or HMS Cavalier book 25% discount PDF flyer. Those who prefer to place their orders by phone can still benefit from this discount by calling Seaforth’s parent company Pen & Sword Books Ltd on 01226 734222 and quoting the following reference numbers:

 

HMS Belfast Book Reference Number: 104196

HMS Cavalier Book Reference Number: 313551

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New books on the way

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It gives me great pleasure to announce that I have written another two books which are due to be published in the coming months. The first of these is the 6th volume in Seaforth Publishing’s successful Historic Ships series and focuses on the UK’s sole surviving wartime destroyer HMS Cavalier. I will add more information about the book to this website very soon including a sample gallery and PDF flyer which will enable readers of this site to save 25% on the published price. News about the second book will be released shortly.

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Another new gallery

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I have just added three new galleries (within the Motor Boats section of the Galleries menu) devoted to one of the most beautiful wooden motor cruisers to be built on the Broads. The bespoke 43ft Broom Admiral class motor cruiser Katinka was built for Professor Jack Mayne of Cambridge in 1961. She still remains on her native waters where her current owner continues to lavish the same level of TLC she has received since the day of her launch.

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Adding new galleries

After a very long pause I have managed to find a little spare time in-between my various projects to upload 10 galleries of images that were taken during last year’s Oulton Week regatta. As time permits, I will continue to expand this aspect of the website.  However, if you need a specific image that you think is part of my photo library please do not hesitate to get in touch and I will do my best to help.

 

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HMS Belfast Cruiser 1939 Extracts

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It gives me great pleasure to be able to release some extracts from my latest book HMS Belfast Cruiser 1939 in the gallery below. To purchase your own copy for the special price of £11.99 simply fill out this PDF Flyer and send it direct to the publisher.

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HMS Belfast Cruiser 1939 Special Offer

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I am very pleased to share a special offer with you for my latest book HMS Belfast Cruiser 1939. By ordering direct from the publisher using the PDF form via the highlighted link below you can save 20% off the RRP of £14.99. Alternatively, if you wish to contact the publisher by telephone please quote the reference number 187746 to qualify for the same discount.

 

Please click here for HMS Belfast Cruiser 1939 special offer PDF form

 

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