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Book Title: Three Corvettes|
The author of the book: Nicholas Monsarrat
ISBN 13: 9780304354443
Date of issue: June 30th 2001
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.74 MB
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Nicholas Monsarrat, unquestionably the best writer on sea warfare during World War II, saw the horror firsthand as a frigate captain in the British Navy. In dramatic, vivid language, this unforgettable collection records the terrible years between 1940 and 1943. It includes the autobiographical It Was Cruel; A Ship to Remember, about the sinking of the Lancastria in 1940 (3,000 men lost their lives); and I Was There, HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour, and The Ship That Died of Shame--three short fictional pieces.
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Read information about the authorBorn on Rodney Street in Liverpool, Monsarrat was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge. He intended to practise law. The law failed to inspire him, however, and he turned instead to writing, moving to London and supporting himself as a freelance writer for newspapers while writing four novels and a play in the space of five years (1934–1939). He later commented in his autobiography that the 1931 Invergordon Naval Mutiny influenced his interest in politics and social and economic issues after college.
Though a pacifist, Monsarrat served in World War II, first as a member of an ambulance brigade and then as a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). His lifelong love of sailing made him a capable naval officer, and he served with distinction in a series of small warships assigned to escort convoys and protect them from enemy attack. Monsarrat ended the war as commander of a frigate, and drew on his wartime experience in his postwar sea stories. During his wartime service, Monsarrat claimed to have seen the ghost ship Flying Dutchman while sailing the Pacific, near the location where the young King George V had seen her in 1881.
Resigning his wartime commission in 1946, Monsarrat entered the diplomatic service. He was posted at first to Johannesburg, South Africa and then, in 1953, to Ottawa, Canada. He turned to writing full-time in 1959, settling first on Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, and later on the Mediterranean island of Gozo (Malta).
Monsarrat's first three novels, published in 1934–1937 and now out of print, were realistic treatments of modern social problems informed by his leftist politics. His fourth novel and first major work, This Is The Schoolroom, took a different approach. The story of a young, idealistic, aspiring writer coming to grips with the "real world" for the first time, it is at least partly autobiographical.
The Cruel Sea (1951), Monsarrat's first postwar novel, is widely regarded as his finest work, and is the only one of his novels that is still widely read. Based on his own wartime service, it followed the young naval officer Keith Lockhart through a series of postings in corvettes and frigates. It was one of the first novels to depict life aboard the vital, but unglamorous, "small ships" of World War II—ships for which the sea was as much a threat as the Germans. Monsarrat's short-story collections H.M.S. Marlborough Will Enter Harbour (1949), and The Ship That Died of Shame (1959) mined the same literary vein, and gained popularity by association with The Cruel Sea.
The similar Three Corvettes (1945 and 1953) comprising H.M. Corvette (set aboard a Flower class corvette in the North Atlantic), East Coast Corvette (as First Lieutenant of HMS Guillemot) and Corvette Command (as Commanding Officer of HMS Shearwater) is actually an anthology of three true-experience stories he published during the war years and shows appropriate care for what the Censor might say. Thus Guillemot appears under the pseudonym Dipper and Shearwater under the pseudonym Winger in the book. H.M. Frigate is similar but deals with his time in command of two frigates. His use of the name Dipper could allude to his formative years when summer holidays were spent with his family at Trearddur Bay. They were members of the famous sailing club based there, and he recounted much of this part of his life in a book My brother Denys. Denys Monserrat was killed in Egypt during the middle part of the war whilst his brother was serving with the Royal Navy. Another tale recounts his bringing his ship into Trearddur Bay during the war for old times' sake.
Monsarrat's more famous novels, notably The Tribe That Lost Its Head (1956) and its sequel Richer Than All His Tribe (1968), drew on his experience in the diplomatic service and make important reference to the colonial experience of Britain in Africa.
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