Ron Young is well known to the UK's diving fraternity as someone who enjoys answering questions posed by them about shipwrecks. It is usually hard for anyone else to add any further detail once Ron has given his definitive answer. I mention this because, as a fellow author, I have a great admiration for his wealth of knowledge which has never been found wanting. In this latest work, Mr Young has teamed up with Pamela Armstrong to provide us with a book which is clearly his best work to date.
As the full title of the book shows, this is the first part of the story of those submarines which failed to make it home and remain on the seabed in British waters - covering the East coast of England from Northumberland to Kent.
I began by reading both forewords (yes, there are two!) which give completely different viewpoints, yet both add a great deal to the expectation of what is to follow within the book itself. I was never disappointed. As the technology to find new shipwrecks on the seabed - and to reach those shipwrecks once found!, continues to advance and improve, so the world of the ordinary scuba diver is being drawn more and more into the realms of historical research. This book goes a long way towards bringing those two disciplines closer together.
The book itself is extremely well laid out. The authors begin with some much-needed explanatory notes on naval terms and ranks - both British and German. From then on we are taken, literally, on a submarine journey all the way down England's eastern coastline. Along the way we pause to discover wreck after wreck covered in splendid detail - with everything written in the most readable style to make this a book which becomes harder to put down as you look at your watch and decide to read about "just one more."
With all the technical information as well as an account of the loss of each vessel, this is a book from which expert and amateur - researcher and diver, will all learn much that they did not previously know. In addition the book is extremely well illustrated throughout with a thoughtfully chosen selection of black and white historic photographs plus the occasional map and schematic drawing.
Altogether an essential addition to the bookshelf of any British Diver plus any person with a serious interest in British and German maritime history.