During WW2 thousands of New Zealanders served in NZ, British and other Allied merchant marines. Many braved the deadly German U-Boat threat during the Battle of the Atlantic - the longest campaign of the war - and sailed in perilous convoys to Arctic Russia, Malta and other high risk routes. Others manned transport and hospital ships and took part in the Allied landings in North Africa, Italy and Normandy. According to official statistics 105 Kiwi merchant seafarers were killed, with 128 taken prisoner, five of whom died in Japanese captivity, although these figures are artificially low, with many others listed as general British losses. While these figures are small in comparison to other services, no other civilian group faced such constant risk and the vital contribution of this 'fourth' service has never before received the recognition it deserves. Following the established quality format of the HCNZ oral history project, this book will include material from individuals who survived air and submarine attacks, sometimes enduring days adrift in open lifeboats, a seaman awarded the George Cross during the 1942 pedestal convoy to relieve Malta and another who spent three years in Changi prison, amongst many other stirring and poignant accounts of life at war.