Commander A.F.C. Layard, RN, wrote almost daily in his diary, in bold, neat script, from the time he entered the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1913 until his retirement in 1947. The pivotal 1943-45 years of this edited volume offer an extraordinarily full and honest chronicle, revealing Layard's preoccupations, both with the daily details and with the strain and responsibility of wartime command at sea.
Enhanced by Michael Whitby's explanatory essays, the diary sheds light on the inshore anti-submarine campaign in British waters; discusses pivotal events such as the invasions of North Africa and Normandy and convoys to Russia; describes encounters with important personalities; and records the final surrender of German U-boats. It is a highly personal piece of history that greatly enhances our understanding of the Canadian naval experience and the Atlantic war as a whole.
A consummately well-researched work, Commanding Canadians will appeal to both naval scholars, as well as to general readers interested in military history.
Michael Whitby is Senior Naval Historian at the Canadian National Defence Headquarters.
Prologue: Like Cutting Butter Introduction: An Officer and His Diary 1 One Does Get Tired of Them, September-December 1943 2 Shaking Down, January-March 1944 3 Overseas, March-May 1944 4 The Great Endeavour, May-July 1944 5 Exasperation Inshore, July-October 1944 6 Deep Open Waters, October-December 1944 7 Wreck to Wreck, Contact to Contact, January-March 1945 8 Oasis of Comfort and Happiness, March-May 1945 Epilogue: Respite Appendices Notes Selected Bibliography Index