At one time British ships carried half of the world's trade, transporting every conceivable type of freight from and to all four corners of the globe - and in times of crisis the merchant fleet has also offered military assistance. In fact, the merchant convoys and armed cruisers that defied the German blockades to supply Britain in the First World War were so pivotal that they were recognised as a second `navy' - the Merchant Navy. This fleet again saw service in the Second World War, continuing to keep Britain provisioned even in its darkest hour. Richard Woodman here relates the Merchant Navy's colourful history and brings to life the day-to-day experiences of the seamen.
Captain Richard Woodman is an Elder Brother of Trinity House. He first went to sea in cargo liners at the age of 16. He has written 30 movels, and award-winning five-volume History of the British Merchant Navy, and is co-author of The Lighthouses of Trinity House. In 2001 he won the Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award for his promotion of the Merchant Navy, particularly as a correspondent of the shipping newspaper Lloyd's List, for which he wrote a regular monthly column for 13 years.
?What is the Merchant Navy? / Britain Rules the Waves / Britain's Lifelines / Life at Sea / New Challenges / Places to Visit / Further Reading / Index