Discovering the North-West Passage: The Four-Year Arctic Odyssey of H.M.S. Investigator and the McClure Expedition by Glenn M. Stein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an outstanding piece of work. Ignoring for one moment the incredible story of the crew of HMS Investigator, this 19th Century tale of exploration is superbly researched and documented; as a reference work for the serious student of the history of exploration in the Arctic and Antarctic it is a ‘must read’. The bibliography is extensive, the notes on the primary sources lend much weight to the author’s conclusions and the tale itself is well told, without hyperbole or flights of imagination. I ordered this from a library in order to study Stein’s history of the Polar Medal. Before beginning the book I read the notes on the sources and I’m glad that I did so first.
Although there is room for a lighter telling of this tale (which I think would please some of the reviewers of this book elsewhere) some events in history require a serious and scholarly study to be worthy of the efforts of those whom it describes and to sit as the definitive historical record. This is such a work and I highly recommend it.
View all my reviews
The Corps of Signals was established by Royal Warrant on 28 June 1920.
Six weeks later, the title ‘Royal Corps of Signals’ was conferred by King George V.
From its earliest days soldiers of the Royal Corps of Signals were engaged in operations across the Empire, most notably in Mesopotamia and on the North West Frontier, and they were duly recognised for their gallantry and valuable service. The majority of awards were made during the course of the Second World War but since then the officers and soldiers of the Corps have been decorated for their gallantry in most of the conflicts in which the British Army has been engaged. Continue reading
Stephen Taber, a contact made through the Western Front Association – East Coast Branch in the United States, has written this latest guest post about the diary of his second cousin, who served with the United States 42nd Division—The Rainbow Division. The edited diary has just been published by McFarland.
Second Lieutenant Christopher Timothy, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 168th Infantry. He died of wounds on July 28, 1918 having been hit by machine gun fire near the River Ourcq. He is buried in Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Belleau, France.
The ‘Rainbow’ Division, the 42nd, secured its name from a comment made by its future chief of staff—then Major Douglas MacArthur—that because of its composition of elements of National Guard units from 26 states it “would stretch over the whole country like a rainbow“.
One of the Division’s junior officer was Lieutenant John Taber, my second cousin. He had published a two-volume history of his regiment, the 168th (Iowa), in 1925 but he had related only a few accounts of his personal war experience to me before he died. One was that he could still smell over three hundred dead horses. Another was nearly bumping into President Wilson in a revolving door in Paris. Continue reading
A number of years ago, when I was putting together Blacker’s Boys, I began to share information with Phillip Tardif, an Australian whose grandfather, Frank McMahon, and my great-grandfather, William Neill, served together during the First World War. No-one knows more about the actions of the North Irish Horse or the men who served in its ranks and I am very pleased that Phillip has written this unique history of the Regiment. This short essay by Phillip is a super introduction to an excellent piece of work that will contribute much to the bibliography of work about Ireland in the Great War.
North Irish Horse Private, at Ballyshannon
In his account of the British Army’s role in the first months of the Great War, Sir John French, its former Commander-in-Chief, praised ‘the fine work done by the Oxfordshire Hussars and the London Scottish‘ as the first non-regular army units ‘to enter the line of battle‘ in the Great War. He added, by way of a footnote: ‘The North and South Irish Horse went to France much earlier than these troops but were employed as special escort to GHQ.’ In other words, these Irish units could not claim the distinction of being the first non-regulars involved in the fighting in the First World War. That would have been news to the families of North Irish Horsemen Private William Moore of Balteagh, County Londonderry, Private Henry St George Scott of Carndonagh, County Donegal, and Lieutenant Samuel Barbour Combe of Donaghcloney, County Down, whose deaths in September and October of 1914 were so far into the ‘line of battle’ that their bodies were never recovered. Continue reading
On the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the First World War, it is appropriate that my first guest post is by David Gregory, the author of the maritime trilogy ‘The Lion and The Eagle’. He has written a thought-provoking and heartfelt piece about the devastation wrought by the total destruction of a capital ship. This essay gives meaning to that simple and inadequate phrase ‘lost with all hands’.
The battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary
The bald accounts of battles cover events and statistics. Personal memoirs describe individual experiences. The death of a ship, involving, as it does, an entire community, is difficult to chronicle when there are often few, or even no, witnesses to its demise. Continue reading
Rosen Trevithick is a fabulous indie author who writes for adults (the ‘My Granny Writes Erotica’ series – very funny) and children (stuff about Trolls – also very funny). Her most recent book is about self-publishing. It is humorous and well-observed; it is a ‘must read’ for any aspiring or, indeed, established author thinking of self-publishing.
She very kindly let me appear as a guest on her blog about the book: How Not to Self-Publish – The Totally Splendid Hotshot Author’s Survival Guide