‘A pale moon rose above the horizon
Shedding an iridescent light
Across the se
Shadows of ships
Upon dark sombre waters’– R. K
The North Atlantic is perhaps the most dangerous ocean in the world. Over many years, ships have crossed and endured her belligerent moods. Some in luxury, others through the hell of two world wars.
At the turn of the twentieth century transatlantic liners crossed this turbulent ocean at a time when liners were renowned for their illustrious names – Lusitania, Mauritania and the Aquitania, to name but a few. Each liner had its own selective personality among passengers. Millionaires travelled first class in luxurious staterooms. In contrast, below decks, you would find immigrants fleeing poverty across European countries hoping to find a better quality of life for their families in the burgeoning United States of America.
The first book of the trilogy, Quartermaster, illustrates the creation and building of such giants of the Atlantic. We see the liner built from keel to her launch on the busy shipbuilding yards located on the industrial banks of the River Clyde in 1905. Later in the book we see her face the ravages of fire in the clutches of a typical Atlantic storm on her maiden voyage.
As the Edwardian age fades, hostilities in Europe culminate into the horrors of the First World War and the first Battle of the Atlantic. We see the great loss and sacrifice made by our Royal and Merchant navies. Again, twenty-one years later, we see the same decimation of shipping steadfastly fighting to maintain a lifeline of food, fuel and weapons of war, sail across the hostile Atlantic to Britain and Russia.
I have tried to encapsulate these events through the eyes of an Anglo-American family, the Creswells, who live in Highland Heights, New York. The trilogy begins in 1905 and closes shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Creswells endure the capricious nature of the ocean through peace and the torment and savagery of two world wars.
My background helped me greatly with technical matters during the course of writing this story, having served on passenger and cargo ships in the Merchant Navy and qualifying as a master mariner. I was also commissioned in the Royal Naval Reserve.
Why did I write this trilogy? Firstly, because I enjoy writing. More importantly, in my small way, it’s a tribute to those sailors in both wars who served their country but never returned home to their families.
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