On 10 December 1941, the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese bombers in the South China Sea. Amongst the several hundred men who went down with her was her Captain, John Leach, who had fought against frightful odds and to the very end made the best of an impossible situation with courage and calmness. He truly embodied `the highest traditions of the Royal Navy'.
Author Matthew B. Wills analyses the influences that shaped John Leach and led him ultimately to his heroic end: his time at Royal Naval College Osborne and Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth and his baptism of fire when he survived a direct shell hit to the bridge where he was standing. He describes Leach's role in command during the Battle of the Denmark Strait, during which the Prince of Wales inflicted damage on the Bismarck that contributed to her later destruction and then the ill-fated mission to Singapore as part of Force Z, an attempt to intercept Japanese landings in Malaya. 16 Plates, black and white; 23 Illustrations, black and white