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- Ship histories and stories, WWII operations, History - WW2, Book reviews, History - Between the wars, Royal Navy
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- September 2010 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
A Hard Fought Ship, The Story of HMS Venomous.
By Robert J Moore and John A Rodgaard.
Published by Holywell House Publishing, Portsmouth, UK. RRP is UK£18.99.
It can be bought online post free from the Book Depository for UK£13.72
HMS Venomous was a destroyer in the V & W Class, the most advanced of its kind in the world when built, and arguably the most successful ever. Sixty-nine were built at the end of the Great War. By the end of WW II they had all been sunk or scrapped, but during those thirty years, thousands of men served in them. This book tells their story from ‘the forgotten war’ in the Baltic in 1919 to scrapping in 1948.
The book begins with a comparative survey of the world’s destroyers in 1919 and ends with a list of all the V & Ws, giving date built and ultimate fate.
The Royal Navy relied heavily on the ‘old warriors’ of the V & W Class in WW II. In 1940, Venomous and her sister ships rescued thousands of troops from Boulogne and Dunkirk, and guarded England against invasion. Convoy duty in the Atlantic kept Britain from starvation and Arctic convoys to north Russia supplied Russian forces fighting on the Eastern Front.
Deployment to relieve the besieged island of Malta (Operation Pedestal) was followed by ‘a night to remember’ when Venomous fought the U-boat which sank HMS Hecla, rescued its survivors, and then escorted the invasion force to Sicily in 1943. After limping home to Britain, her engine ‘shot’, she was converted to a FAA target for air-launched torpedoes, survived a hurricane and was sent to Norway to accept the surrender of German naval forces.
The story of HMS Venomous is told by its officers and crew and illustrated with 170 of their photographs taken at ‘action stations’, plus paintings, drawings and maps; it is set in context by the authors.
About the authors: Robert J Moore is the former CO of the Sea Cadet Unit which keeps the name of Venomous alive in the UK, and Captain John A Rodgaard, USN was Naval History ‘Author of the Year’, 2000, He took over the writing of this book when Bob Moore died.