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A Sailors Odyssey

Pen and Sword

A Sailors Odyssey

Admiral Andrew Cunningham, best remembered for his courageous leadership in the Mediterranean in the Second World War, is often rated as our finest naval commander after Nelson, and indeed a bust of the Admiral was unveiled in Trafalgar Square close by his predecessor in 1967 by the Duke of Edinburgh. It was during the dark days of 1940–41, after the surrender of France and Italy’s entry into the War and when Britain was fighting single-handed, that Cunningham held the Eastern Mediterranean with a fleet greatly inferior to the Italian; his lack of ships and aircraft was more than made up for by his bold and vigorous command. Taranto, Matapan, Crete, North Africa – these are the critical battles and regions with which he is so closely associated. A Sailor’s Odyssey is the stirring autobiography of this great fighting seaman from his boyhood in Dublin and his early career in the Navy and his service in the First World War, through his commands in the inter-war years, to the great sea battles in the Mediterranean, and then his elevation to First Sea Lord in 1943 and his subsequent responsibility for the operational policy of the Royal Navy during the later stages of the War. He attended the conferences at Casablanca, Teheran, Quebec and Yalta, and gives revealing glimpses of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. His was, truly, a remarkable career. This is a beautifully written and absorbing naval memoir, and it made a significant contribution to the history of the Royal Navy in the Second World War when it was first published in 1951; this new paperback edition, with an introduction by his great nephew Admiral Jock Slater, will fascinate and delight a new generation of readers and bring into focus again a great British fighting admiral.

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