Salute from Cold War Warriors
During an event at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum (RNSM) I was presented with a Patronage Award, for my ‘affiliation, writing and promoting of all things HMS Warspite above and below water for many years’.
This has been primarily through the books ‘Warspite’ (about both WW1 and WW2 battleship of the name and the submarine) and ‘Hunter Killers’ (which tells the story of Royal Navy submarines and submariners in the Cold War, not least Warspite). The Warspite in all her forms has also been among the vessels that have featured in ‘WARSHIPS International Fleet Review’ magazine over the years.
The accolade came during a well-attended HMS Warspite/Buddies in Boats reunion. To be honoured in that way by the guys who were out there on the front line in the Cold War under means a huge amount to me.
Others who received an award at the RNSM event were: Rear Admiral David Cooke, Simone Rae, Steve Roberts, Steve Dean, Steve Thompson, Roger Jones and Mark Morris.
Event organizer Mike King felt the awards were a means to recognise the efforts of submariners deserving of recognition but whose professional careers had by their very nature required them to remain covert.
Mike’s son Jordan, a TV production student, provided a multimedia show that enhanced the evening, including footage of Warspite veterans recounting the highlights of their careers.
Maritime Media Nomination – 2014
I have been nominated again in the UK Maritime Media Awards. Not for the first time over the past 16 years, I am among a distinguished list of nominees for the Desmond Wettern Media Award.
It seeks to salute those who have contributed greatly to raising awareness of British maritime matters via their work, in my case for my on-going role as Editor of WARSHIPS International Fleet Review magazine.
The late Desmond Wettern was one of the finest naval affairs reporters the UK has produced, working for national newspapers and also producing books. To be on the list for the award named after him is, as ever, a real thrill.
‘Killing the Bismarck’
In 2010 I received a ‘Certificate of Merit’ from Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the President of the Maritime Foundation, during a glittering awards dinner held in the spectacular Nash Room of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Pall Mall, London.
As she presented me with the award Countess Mountbatten remarked that her late husband, Lord Brabourne, had produced the 1960s movie ‘Sink the Bismarck’. I told her that I had seen it as a lad and revisited ‘Sink the Bismarck!’ while researching my book.
A distinguished panel of judges paid fulsome tribute to my effort, their citation describing ‘Killing the Bismarck’ as ‘a book of intense drama, compiled with painstaking accuracy and vividly portrayed through the meticulous accumulation of first hand witness accounts.’
The ‘Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution Certificate of Merit’, to give the award its full title, also said ‘Killing the Bismarck’ is ‘authoritative and compelling description of the Bismarck’s last days, and how the loss of HMS Hood influenced the national mood, turning the pursuit and destruction of the Nazi battleship into a battle for survival.’
The recently published paperback edition, with some very slight tweaks to the original text, a section of new eyewitness material and better use of maps is even better. So, if you are going to buy an edition of ‘Killing the Bismarck’ that is the one to go for.
For Work Over the Course of my Career
In 2007 I received a Special Recognition Award from the British Maritime Charitable Foundation (BMCF) for ‘consistent and unwavering contribution to raising maritime awareness over the years.’
This reflected my work as the Defence Reporter of the Evening Herald newspaper in Plymouth (1990-95), Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent, UK News London Bureau (1995/96), founding and current Editor of ‘WARSHIPS IFR’ magazine (1998 – Present), ‘Guide to the Royal Navy’ (2003 – Present) and also, of course my various naval history books (2001 – Present) plus work for the London-based Grosvenor Film (on various projects related to maritime and naval matters, 2000 – 2009).
Nice to know somebody recognises what us foot soldiers in the trenches of raising maritime awareness do for the cause.
Since 2011 I have been represented by the top London authors’ agency Pollinger and you can find more details of my exploits over the years on their web site.