Home' Ausmarine : October 2016 Contents KEEPING WATCH
A History of the Navy League of
Australia 1895 – 2015
By MALCOLM LONGSTAFF
Most “Western developed nations” possess a
navy of sorts and most of those have inspired
navy leagues or institutes or their equivalents.
Australia’s Navy League was established six years before the
actual federation of Britain’s six southern colonies into the
Commonwealth of Australia.
While still under the senior leadership of British officers and
equipped with many British ships until well into World War II, the
Royal Australian Navy followed its own course
from the beginning. The Navy League of Australia was actually
ahead of it with its first branch being formed in Launceston, in the
then island colony of Tasmania in 1900.
The RAN’s successes in World War I inspired the rapid growth of
the NLA in the 1920s which led to the formation
of the Sea Cadets, many of whose members matured to be very
useful sailors and officers in World War II and beyond.
As Malcolm Longstaff so accurately describes, the NLA has and
continues to be a strong but not unquestioning supporter of the
RAN. It is a hotbed of ideas that are forthrightly expressed in its
magazine The Navy, which has been published continuously
An excellent and comprehensive history of an important
Available from The Navy League of Australia, NSW Division,
GPO Box 1719, Sydney, NSW, 2001. Hardback $55 and
Softback $45 post paid.
The Cruiser HMAS Australia II and the
Pacific War on Japan
By MIKE CARLTON
The third in a four-volume se ries celebrating
the history of the Royal Australian Navy’s
cruisers in the two world wars. Carlton, a
notable Australian journalist is, fortunately
for his readers, fascinated by naval history almost to the
point of obsession.
The first two volumes of the quartet described HMAS
‘Sydney I’ and, most particularly, its very decisive battle with
German raider ‘Emden’ w hich finished with the destruction of
the ‘Emden’ at Cocos Island. The next described the sinking of
HMAS ‘Perth’ with much of its crew at the hands of the Imperial
Japanese Navy in the Sunda Strait.
Launched in 1927 and broken up in 1956, HMAS ‘Australia II’
led a long and very eventful life. She served in the Atlantic,
Indian and Pacific oceans and fought against the Nazis, Vichy
Fre nch, Italians and Japanese with great distinction.
She participated in many of the major battles of
World War II and survived even if some what battle scarred. She
was attacked more often than any other ship by Japanese
Kamikaze suicide bombers, one of which killed
her Captain, Emile Dechaineux. Many of her crew were also
killed and wounded in those battles.
There is much more to this fine history than that and many
ships, men and battles are described, even a murder that
occurred on board.
Available from Random House, North Sydney, Australia.
Web: www.penguin.com .au
THE INVASION OF FRANCE
History of United States Naval
Operations In World War II Volume II
1944 – 1945
By SAMUEL ELIOT MORISON
Closing the Euro-African part of the wa r, the
activity at sea and in the air became intense. Massive frontal
landings were being prepared and practiced for. They involved
thousands of vessels and aircraft and millions of troops and their
The planning was equally intense and was generally of the
highest standard as was borne out by events. Operation Neptune-
Overlord, the largest amphibious invasion in history, was deadly
effective. The Allies gained their foothold in Normandy and rapidly
swept through France, Belgium and the Netherlands and across the
Rhine, sometimes carried by naval landing craft, and on to Berlin.
Two months after Overlord, the next major invasion of German
held France took place in Operation Dragoon whereby another huge
Allied force came ashore in Provence. What started in June 1944 was
all over by May 1945. A military triumph of the most impressive kind
Of course, without the naval vessels to survey, infiltrate, bombard,
transport and protect, none of it could have happened. Morison, as
always, describes brilliantly the huge role played by the American,
British and other Allied navies.
Available from The Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, USA.
The Admiralty Manual of Navigation
Volume 2, 10th Edition 2011
Authored by THE ROYAL NAVY
Another very high quality co-publication from
the Royal Navy and the Nautical Institute this
book provides the wherewithal for modern
mariners to find their way around the globe when the GPS
system fails or is turned off.
After nearly three decades of convincing themselves that GPS was
failsafe, many of the world’s navies and merchant marine
organisations such as the Nautical Institute are now accepting that
the sun and the stars are even more so. There has thus been a
r esurgence in interest in learning astro navigation, even amo ng
This big and detailed book is rather more than just an update of
the British Admialty’s manuals that have been re-published
reasonably regularly for most of the past century. Looking back at the
1937 and 1954 editions, your reviewer found much that is in the
latest edition as well as much that is not. It has been thoroughly
updated and the idiom is modern.
Well worth having for anyone venturing beyond the sight of land
providing, of course, you have a sextant and tables to go with it.
Available from The Nautical Institute, London UK.
AROUND CAPE HORN ONCE MORE
The Story Of The French Clipper Ship
By PAUL W SIMPSON
An unusual little book describing some rather
dra matic voyages around the world via Cape
Horn at the very end of the age of sail. In this
case, the ships and their crews were French. That is a
However, the main story concerns the voyages of the Bounty
Clipper Montebello that was built in Nantes, on the Loire River, in
1900 and wrecked with no loss of life on Kangaroo Island, South
Australia, in 1906. A short but eventful life. It also concerns her
young captain, Alphonse Kervegan, a Breton from Lorient.
Interesting ships and a most interesting man with a great passion
for ships and the sea. Despite the sinking of four of his commands –
two torpedoed by German U boats, he lived a long and eventful life
and always on or beside the sea.
It is very satisfying that small, enthusiastic publishing houses
continue to produce such valuable maritime histories.
Available from Clippership Press, Adelaide, Australia.
38 October 2016 AUSMARINE
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