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Author Name:    McKEE, Alexander

Title:   Coal-Scuttle Brigade. First Edition in dustjacket

Publisher:    Souvenir Press, London, 1957, 

Seller ID:   105834

McKEE, Alexander. The Coal-Scuttle Brigade. London : Souvenir Press, 1957. First Edition. Pp (8),9-223,(1) + 8 pages of photos. 8vo, blue cloth, gilt lettering to spine. Law, The Royal Navy in World War Two: An Annotated Bibliography 0430. "When, in the middle of the war, the fast, heavily-armed German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau escaped through the English Channel, that narrow strip of water which served as a hunting-ground for bothsides, there was uproar. But one ordinary seaman from an old collier was h eard to remark : "That's nothingówe do it twice a week." And it was true. For although, following the fall of France in 1940, the Channel was closed to British shipping, it was found that one vital commodity - coal - could not be diverted to rail and road, and must still come by sea. Twice a week, whatever the danger, the slow, rugged colliers from Newcastie had to pass through the most bitterly contested waterway of the war, taking their essential cargoes to the south-east ports of Dover, Newhaven, Shoreham Portsmouth and Southampton. To say that they were sitting targets is to put it mildly.With clockwork precision, as the ships prepared to enter the Straits of Do ver, heavy shore batteries would open up from the French coast. On moonlight nights, just beyond Dover, Stukas would stalk them until the right momentto come screaming down from above the cliffs. Those nerve-scattering attac ks over, the ships would enter the area of most risk. For, on the edge of the swept chanel, E-boats lav waiting in ambush. engines dead. In a few seconds the night would erupt into a chaos of gunfire, tracers and torpedo explosions; ships sinking or dodging frantically, sometimes steaming through seas covered with floating coke. On the "Coal-Scuttle" run, attack was certain. Alexander McKee, writer of BBC documentaries, has gathered for the firsttime the full story of the men and the ships who performed this remarkable service to the country. It is a story all the more impressive, and often m oving, because of the matter-of-fact attitude of men whose task was too prosaic to ever earn head-lines at the time, but which was in fact as dangerous and as important as any undertaken in the w ar. Now we learn how the whole operation was organised. We meet the collier masters, naval controlLllers, seamen, gunners, harbourmen involved; we sail with the ships on their runs and know what tragic mistakes were made, what splendndid successes were achieved. The German viewpoint is not overlooked and their own accounts of "The Coal-Scuttle Brigade" are complementary. The German "Gold Coast Brigade" (which carried iron ore from Sweden to Rotterdam and was so named becauseof the bonus money earned by its crews for running the gauntlet of British bombers and E-boats) forms an interesting comparison. Alexander McJcKee's book is the result of long research into a subject the more absorbing the more one knows about it. He has interviewed all the personalities he mentions, and his story is a brilliant example of crisp, factual documentation at its best, brought to life and tcld without exaggeration or heroics." (from the dj). Contents : 1. Black Thursday. 2. Action This Day. 3. Battle of theChannel. 4. Yachting in the Solent. 5. Hellfire Corner. 6. A Shelling a Mo nth. 7. The Channel Guard. 8. Soldiers at Sea. 9. Eagle Squadron Strikes. 10. Coal From Newcastle. 11. Solo to Shoreham. 12. E-Boat Alley. 13. Escortson Top. 14. Wheezing and Dodging. 15. Oddentification. 16. Normandy. 17. T he Gold Coast. Very good in nicked, unclipped dustjacket. A nice copy. 70.00


Price = 70.00 CDN
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