Captain Alan William Frank Sutton's enthralling biography starts when, as a young midshipman he was in command of a small picket boat returning a potentially mutinous crew to the battle-cruiser HMS Repulse on which he served. The book builds to an amazing and exciting climax which ends in the open cockpit of a Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber during the legendary attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto in November 1940. The Littorio sees us: she opens fire. The flashes of her close-range weapons stab at us. First one, then others - everything opens up along her whole length. We're coming in on her beam; we're in a terrible mass of cross-fire-cruisers, battleships, shore batteries, the lot. The bloody Italians are firing everything apart from major armament. But we're low, too low for the enemy gun-aimers. The place stinks of cordite and incendiaries and burning sulphur. Everywhere is wreathed in smoke - thick, choking, foul stuff. This biography has been written with the full cooperation of Captain Sutton who has given the author fascinating insight into a career of remarkable courage and diversity.
Richard Pike served with the RAF as a fighter pilot and then flew helicopters as a civilian. Now retired from flying professionally he has previously written Beaufighter Ace, the biography of his father's (Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Thomas Pike) World War II flying career.