Previous readers of Douglas Reeman's naval fiction will find this a useful addition to his works. It brings alive the challenges of flying a Swordfish fabric covered biplane torpedo bomber off a tiny escort carrier in the terrifying weather of a North Atlantic winter. I liked it. A lot. Hope you do too.
This is the story of pilots who served in Royal Navy escort carriers in World War II. These ships were not the head-line attracting fleet carriers; rather these were the "Woolworth Carriers" turned out by the dozens by Henry Kaiser's shipyards on both coasts. A number of these ships were sent to the Royal Navy and this is the story of one of them.
The charecters of the pilots and ship's officers are well developed and complex, like all of us. It is a mix of old professionals and young amateurs who rapidly gain the skills and instincts of their long serving shipmates. There is conflict along the way, from the lowest pilot to the admiral commanding the operations. There is the added mix of several Dutch aircrew into the mix that adds both to the tension and humor of the story. There is the added distraction, for the men, of having to fit domestic problems into their already full plate of matters to be dealt with, and it isn't always easy for some of them. Finally, there is the sense of loss you will discover when after an operation, the returning pilots are celdbrating on the flight deck and someone notices the support crew of one aircraft that didn't return, just standing on the flight deck looking into the distance on the off chance that "their" aircraft would return.
The scope of operations is vast, ranging from the North Atlantic to the North Sea, the Southwest Pacific and finally home in the UK.
This story is a fine rendition of the trials and tribulations of a little known type of ship in the Royal Navy. It rings with authenticity on every page. This should be in every person library who has an interest in Naval operations during World War II.