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Carrier Glorious: The Life and Death of an Aircraft Carrier John

Carrier Glorious: The Life and Death of an Aircraft Carrier - John Winton

London: Leo Cooper in association with Secker & Warburg, 1986, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little age-toning to the edges of the text block. Text complete, clean and tight.

Includes: Black & white photographs; Maps [3]; Appendices (3);

From the cover: “It was a sharp-eyed Midshipman, on watch in the foretop of the German battle-cruiser Scharnhorst, who first sighted the wisp of smoke far away to the south-east. It was just after 4 pm on Saturday 8 June, 1940: Scharnhorst and her sister ship Gneisenau were in the Arctic sea, steaming north to intercept Allied convoys evacuating British, Polish and French troops after the disastrous campaign in Norway.

The German ships turned towards this unexpected sighting and soon made out the unmistakable flat-top of an aircraft carrier. It was HMS Glorious, escorted by two destroyers HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent, steering for Scapa Flow. In a brisk gun action lasting just over an hour, all three British ships were sunk.

Several hundred men swam to rafts and floats, but in the Arctic cold, and without food or water, many died of their wounds and of exposure. When rescue finally came three days later, there were only thirty-nine survivors from Glorious and one each from Acasta and Ardent. More than 1,500 men were lost, including RAF pilots who had gallantly flown their Hurricanes and Gladiators on board the previous evening rather than abandon their aircraft in Norway.

At the time, the exact circumstances of this tragedy were shrouded in wartime security, but, even after the war, the official explanation left questions which puzzled historians, politicians and the families of those who had died. Why had Glorious left the main troop convoy to proceed independently? Why was she not flying a reconnaissance patrol for her own safety? Why did British Intelligence give no warning that the German battle-cruisers were at sea? Why were the survivors not found for three days?

Glorious had always been a very happy ship. From her deck, in those golden Mediterranean days of peace, the Fleet Air Arm had exercised the techniques — including the night torpedo strike on the Italian fleet at Taranto — which they were to use with such success in the Second World War. But, towards the end there were rumours of unrest on board, of serious clashes of temperament between her mercurial Captain, Guy D’Oyly-Hughes, and his officers. Indeed, one senior officer had been sent ashore to await court martial.

The official story of Glorious’ loss was wrong. Now, at last, from Admiralty documents and reports, from the testimony of those who served in her pre-war and from her very few survivors, John Winton has established what really happened on that fateful day in June, 1940, and explains why the true story has never been told before.”


Jacket designed by Edward Mortelmans. Size: 9½" x 6¼". Black boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 253 pages.
£63.30
Carrier Glorious: The Life and Death of an Aircraft Carrier John