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It is an enormous pleasure to display the records of our experiences at sea and in the armed forces
in the hope that you may find something of interest and enjoyment.
Merchant Navy Day - September 3rd
British Merchant Navy
Animated shipping company flags
Queen Mary drydock 1960
RTE Podcast (Irish R/Os, experiences recalled)
Fort Perch Rock Marine Radio Museum
Balmaha - Narrowboat Blog
First Trip Apprentice by Myles Richard [ISBN 1-84394-073-6] 107 pages. "Myles Richard was born in Cardiff in 1935 and
educated at Clarence Road Secondary School, later studying at Smith's Nautical College and UWIC Nautical Section, Cardiff."
Mariner's Launch by Ray Solly [ISBN 1-904445-03-9] 181 pages. A deck cadet's training and first years at sea on general
cargo ships - well written with accuracy and humour.
Twenty Singing Seamen Prizewinning Stories by Merchant Seamen, selected by Ronald Hope [ISBN 0 540 07381 4]
127 pages, a collection of fictional stories about the Merchant Navy by merchant seamen.
My comment: Fiction or fact? Like you, I could put names to many of the characters in these stories
Trampships, Tankers and Polite Conversation (Experiences of the Merchant Navy during the 1950s and 1960s) by John Lee.
ISBN 978-1-4343-0524-4 (150 pages, non fiction, 2007) A Navigation Officer's travels and promotions. A very good read.
Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks. A brilliant read if you are interested in the codebreakers war during WW2 at S.O.E.
Most Secret War by R.V.Jones. British Scientific Intelligence 1939-1945. This should be read at the same time as Between Silk
& Cyanide. ISBN 0 241 89746 7
Through Salt Sprayed Eyes by Robert Welsh. A Radio Officer's account of life in the Merchant Navy during WW2. A must,
'though not an easy writing style. ISBN: 978-0-9562985-0-8. Illustrated.
Doctor at Sea by Richard Gordon (1953). A classic and a 'must read'. To me it wasn't a novel but an accurate account.
The Raider and the Tramp by Alfred Lund. The effects of Hilfskreuzers on unarmed merchant ships in the Atlantic. A thin but
very detailed book with personal reports of treatment at the hands of the enemy. ISBN 0 9515256 2 X
Seaspray and Whisky by Norman Freeman. I would have highly recommended this book if it hadn't been for the foul language.
Sparks at Sea by R W Chandler. A between the Wars account of his life as a Radio Officer. A fascinating read and, apart from
the radio equipment, little has changed. Couldn't put this one down. Ten out of ten. ISBN 0 7153 5953 3
Freedom's Battle Vol 1, Voices From The War At Sea edited by John Winton. This collection of personal WW2 ship stories
is a must for my bookshelf. [Includes poetry, for example this extract "You must - take off your clothes for the doctor, and stand
as straight as a pin. His hand of stone on your white breast-bone, where the bullets all go in", from Recruiting Drive
by Petty Officer Charles Causley]. Freedom's Battle Vol 1 - ISBN 978-1-845-95082.
CQ-GTZM Diary of a Maritime Radio Officer, By Ross Bradshaw, ISBN 0-9532781-0-7, 1st Published 1998 (Seawolf
Press), 2nd Edition 2012 (P W Publishing Ltd, Broadstone, Dorset). Trained at Brunel College, Bristol (the old Muller's homes on
Ashley Down, and a year ahead of me!!) 1971-73 Ross Bradshaw, a Marconi man, describes in great detail each voyage between
April 1973 and May 1979 with ships names, radio room and bridge electronic equipment, officers and crew personalities and trips
ashore. Thoroughly absorbing to an ex R/O, full of memories of characters afloat, bars ashore and the odd rogue Master.
This is a must read. Recognise any of these ship's callsigns:- GPSU, GHKM, GQEU, 9KCO, GRUH, GPUU, 2GRJ, GXSY,
GRHU, GNAM, UFKQ, GXPD, GPFE, GHRY, 9KFP?
Beg or buy a copy of this A4 size 148 page paperback with illustrations. An easy put down and pick-up-again book.
Lancaster Down by Stephen Darlow. A tale of seven airmen. ISBN: 978-0-7537-1527-7. Stephen Darlow writes about his
grandfather Arthur who kept excellent written records of his entrance into flying and his time in WW2 from 1943 as a pilot
of Halifax and Lancaster aircraft of 427 and 405 Squadrons until shot down in 1944. Evasion, capture and POW at Stalag Luft 3
until liberation are described. This not a romanticised account but factual and therefore highly recommended.
The Regiment [the real story of the SAS] by Michael Asher, Author of 18 books. ISBN:978-0-141-02652-7.
Illustrations include David Stirling, Paddy Mayne, Jock Lewis, Bill Fraser, Reg Seekings, Johnny Cooper, Mike Calvert
and Peter de la Billiere. Action takes place in Mediterranean countries, N.Europe, Borneo, Malaya and The Falklands.
The Long Silence Falls - The Life and Times of the Merchant Navy Radio Officer 1900-2000.
A compilation of stories and photographs from radio officers in the merchant navy and from aeronautical flight officers.
Life stories naming names of colleagues, in places around the world during and after WW2. UK and foreign flagged liners,
cargo vessels, tankers and tramp ships. Training colleges, radio equipment and first trip experiences, a MUST read for the
radio officer. This book is now in A4 paperback (300 pages) and available from the Radio Officers Association (R.O.A,
www.radioofficers.com). Described as "A cross section of articles that have been published in the R.O.A's quarterly
newsletter 'QSO' between 1999 and 2012. To form a lasting memory of a profession that sadly died in 2000".
Also available from P.W.Publishing, Tayfield House, 38 Poole Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth, BH4 9DW
Port Alfred, Oloibiri, Post Chaser/Charger, Anco Champion and most Anco Princess photographs property of RS
Passenger (B&W) ship and RAF photographs property of SA
1960s Royal Navy photographs property of MB
The Royal Rhodesia Regiment photographs, WRENS, Winchester Castle videos property of ME
Minesweeper MMS-217 photographs property of Len G
HMT Neuralia photographs and letter property of JE
Anco Charger, Anco Duke, Athel Queen photographs property of TW
Anco Duchess, Anco Templar, Athel Regent, Pass of Brander, Post Challenger photographs property of Steve B
RAF Swinderby photographs property of T.A
Al Dhafrah, Nordic Louisiana, Coastal Hercules photographs property of R.P
Fleet News, Anco Champion, Anco Empress, Anco Sovereign, Anco Enterprise, Post Endeavour photographs property of J.D
RN and MN ships, tugs and River Weaver photographs property of Fred Coppenhall (FC).
RAF Halton Instructors photographs property of S. Russell.
Future additions:- health permitting, extracts from Captain's log on ss.Tamar 1897.
Recent additions (19th June) 23rd July 2011 Post Enterprise, Pass of Balmaha, Anco Duke, Anco Princess, Anco Templar, Tacoma City
30th July St Kearan, Pinnau, Sival (MerseyWeaver), 12th September Silver River, Pax, Opnor (MerseyWeaver)
10th Dec. 2011 Vulcan, Ark Royal (Armed Forces), Balmaha Lecky (Tankers-Misc), Tacoma City x3, Avila Star (Cargo)
3rd Feb. 2012 HMS Blake, HMS Belfast, HMS Torquay(Armed Forces), 6th, 8th, 11th Feb. 2012 RAF Habbaniya (Armed Forces)
8th March 2012 Rhodesian Army additions. 22nd June 2012 Armed forces additions A316 Naval Tug, C609f Water Tanker, P3122's acceptance,
Admiralty's Leghorn (1919) - all FC. 12th Aug 2012 Mersey/Weaver ships (B&W) courtesy of FC.
20th/27th Nov 2012 RAF Habbaniya additions. 13th Jan 2013 Kite Flying on Anco Templar (Tankers-Misc)
5th Feb.2013 Ship's Itineraries - Anco Duke, Anco Sceptre, Anco Templar. (Odds&Ends). 5th June 2013 Tug Sheldrake (Mersey-Weaver & Tugs)
31st July 2013 Ship's Itineraries - Tacoma City 1977, Post Enterprise 1978 (Odds&Ends).
15th September 2013 Ship's Itineraries - Pass of Balmaha (Odds&Ends). Redifon Telecommunications Southampton Depot 1970s (Odds&Ends)
30th Nov 2013 Recommended reading - Ross Bradshaw's CQ-GTZM. 10th February 2014 RAF Halton Instructors 1985
12th Nov 2014 Recommended reading - Stephen Darlow's Lancaster Down, Michael Asher's The Regiment, The R.O.A's The Long Silence Falls
Due to serious health problems the author gives notice of website closure anytime after 2015.
(merchantnavy [at] balmaha.net)