- Smith, John, Cmdr, RAN (RTD)
- History - general, Ship histories and stories, Book reviews
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2011 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Australia’s Fighting Ships – A Century of War & Peace by Ross Gillett. Published by Topmill Pty Ltd, Sydney, 2011. Available in both a limited edition hard cover at $49.95 and soft cover at $19.95 but only the former features the many pages of coloured photographs.
This volume was launched in March 2011 as a tribute to 100 years of the Royal Australian Navy which celebrates a centenary of service since the granting of the Royal prefix by King George V on 10 July 1911. For completeness the scope of the book takes the reader back to 1901 when the Commonwealth Naval Forces were formed.
Ross Gillett is a well know authority on naval ships and has put his expertise to good account in providing a wealth of information covering the first century of the RAN in one slim but easy to read publication. He has skilfully assembled a mass of information using numerous tables to clarify the text and assist the reader in readily finding information. Most other authors would have shied away from this approach and used much more text but in keeping with the modern era of greater use of graphical display the book remains agreeably readable. The story is supported by many photographs and readers should not be distracted by the first page where the quality of reproduction taken from early grainy pictures is below that in the remainder of the book and indeed most photographs are of excellent quality.
There is a forward by Rear Admiral Allan du Toit, AM, RAN. After this there is a comprehensive overview of the RAN and then separate chapters describing the four 25 year eras of development of naval forces. There is a description of the current state of Fleet and a final chapter devoted to future construction bringing the book right up to date. This book forms a good reference guide which most interested in Australian naval history will find a useful companion.