As Len Deighton writes in the foreword to this haunting and thought-provoking book: 'This account of the men who took their small ships into the deepest and cruellest waters is clearly the result of years of research and hard work. These crews endured the most terrible conditions imaginable even without facing enemy fire...I think I shall never forget some of the stories. Here is a book that matches and complements that bestseller of the post-war years, The Cruel Sea. Surely no one will read this book without being deeply moved and inspired by the ungrudging sacrifice and the all-pervading cheerfulness. Some were professional sailors, some were peacetime naval men, but most of them were civilians who never truly adapted to a cold, cramped, wet, life in a bouncing tin can but did their duty nevertheless.' '...they have been where we have not. They have seen what we shall never see.'
(Michael Watkins) There is no more vivid and poignant account than one at first hand, and Editor Ian Hawkins has drawn together numerous stories from those men who served on the B- and C-class destroyers, weaving them seamlessly together using excerpts from books, news articles, speeches, and his own authoritative notes. Accounts are arranged in chronological order and cover the mundanity of patrol, the strain of convoy escort, the heat of battle and loss of ships and lives. Among the more celebrated events, the accounts describe the evacuation of Dunkirk and Boulogne, the engagement of Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prince Eugen, and D-Day itself, as seen through the eyes of lieutenant commanders, captains, engineers, signalmen, telegraphists, surgeons, and crewmen. In some cases the Editor has often found eye witnesses to describe episodes from differing viewpoints and the result is a solid work that not only fills a gap in the recorded history of the War but can also be used as an overall view of it.