World War II story aboard the minesweeper HMS ROB ROY
In Danger's Hour is a story set in one of the Royal Navy's minesweepers during World War II. The crew is a mix of regular officers and Sailors (although they are a distinct minority) and of reservists. It is a story of how these men are molded and honed into a efficient weapon named HMS ROB ROY.
The story shows the ship in roles other than minesweeping, which was the lot of ships of this type. Escort work, invasion support at Sicily and Normandy, survivor search and rescue (burial more often than not)all came the way of ROB ROY.
We also see how the need for mine warfare vessels vastly outstripped the the ships on hand and fishing boats of all sorts were pressed into service. As is related in the book "they dumped out the fish and dumped us in." There is also mention made of US made minesweepers used by the RN.
There are interesting charecters in the book. I find the authors treatment of the Sailors as a key to the success of his writing. You don't see a few officers and a mass of nameless non-entities who make up the crew of the ship.
There is humor in the book as well. The poking of fun at the regulars by the reservists, the kidding amonst the chiefs in the privacy of their own mess all go towards making this book a fine story. Romantic interests are varied for several characters and most seem to work out well for the characters. It adds an element of depth to the authors creations.
Minesweeping was a dangerous, relentless and probably boring job that was done extremely well by ROB ROY and her sisters. The point made in the book is that once you finished the job, you had to turn around and do it all over again. This book puts you right in the thick of it. The only thing missing is the action of the ship in the sea and the constant wet and cold feeling of the crew. It is a must read for any student of the Second World War.