Privately Funded & Other Publications

Co-written by TCA Member Rob Hoole

Home Waters – Book Review

This book, a joint effort between TCA member Lt Cdr Rob Hoole RN and Cdr David Bruhn USN, achieves the distinction of being both a jolly good read and a very useful work of reference, with excellent details of the sources used.

It describes the work of the fishing vessels of three nations: Britain Canada and the Unites States of America, in combating the menace of German mines and submarines in the First World War. Various aspects of this story have been related before, notably from an RN perspective, “Trawlers Go To War”, the story of the RN Patrol Service in both world wars, by Paul Lund and Harry Ludlam [New England Library 1971] but authors Hoole and Bruhn take on the challenge of a much wider perspective, covering the reasons for the outbreak of war, factors affecting the navies of both sides, lack of preparedness for underwater warfare by both sides, the technologies involved and capabilities of the vessels engaged, as well as the conduct of operations, large and small.

The book contains considerable statistical data about the number of mines deployed in various fields by both sides (over a quarter of a million in total), the vessels involved in laying and sweeping operations and also details of vessels lost. Much of the general story will be known to TCA members and others with a background in MCM, but there is a wealth of material new to this reviewer, not least of which is the chequered history of the formation of the Royal Canadian Navy and scale of resources deployed by the USN during their 17-months of involvement in the conflict.

The book of 428 pages, with softback cover, is lavishly illustrated with photographs and maps. Some of the photographs are new to your reviewer and, a mild criticism, the quality of reproduction and size of many could be improved.

No better summary of this work can be given than the words of Admiral Lord Jellicoe “The Royal Navy saved the Empire but it was the fishermen in their boats who saved the Royal Navy”. This book is their story.

The book is written in “English English” with some translations for its US audience. Perhaps in deference to that audience, there are explanations of historical background and geography which may already be familiar to the ex-RN reader.

Home Waters – RN, RCN & USN Mine Forces Battling U-Boats in World War 1 is available from Rob Hoole phone: 023 9236 7651 at a special introductory price of £30, of which £10 will be donated to the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument. ISBN 978-0-7884-5798-2 Review supplied by Peter Down TCA Hon. Sec. & Ton Talk editor.



Scuppers to Skipper

Author is Lt Cdr Walter Edney, edited by his son Jonathan Edney ISBN-13: 978-1508548669

Lt Cdr Edney was the CO of HMS FENTON and Half Leader of the 108 Squadron based in Malta but carrying out anti gun running and anti terrorist patrols round Cyprus during 1957-58.

He tells of his life in the RN from 1934 to 1958 from junior seaman to the commanding officer of a Ton Class Minesweeper. He was my ‘Skipper’ on the Fenton and a fairer commanding officer you couldn’t wish to meet especially as he commanded a crew of pirates by & large who were kept in place to a degree by the 1st Lt Jeremy Stewart, Vice President & Founder Member of the TCA.



HMS ILLUSTRIOUS (V) 1982 – 2014

Published by Royal Navy Decommissioning/Commissioning Books.

On Monday 21st September 2015 I had the pleasure of attending, at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth , the launch of the book commemorating the life of HMS Illustrious from pre-launch to the final decommissioning of the ship.

Also present at the launch were: –

Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB DL

Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVD DL

Captain M K Utley RN

Mr Richard Johnstone-Bryden (Author)

Illustious Captains

 A superb record of this fine ship and available from the museum. ISBN 978-0-9932984-0-0

Go to


Eventful Voyage

Arlanza & Pestalozzif

Leading Signalman Jerry Driscoll
and Peter Down

A fast refrigerated cargo liner, iconic of the South American trade, requisitioned by the Royal Navy for the blockade of Germany, detached on a secret diplomatic mission to Russia, then mined and frozen in thick ice for several months.

Repaired thanks to the ingenuity of her officers and crew, with unparalleled co-operation from the Imperial Russian Navy. Returned to Britain under her own steam and back to her war duties within six months.

A heroic true tale of adventure in the First World War, told in the words of an eye witness and brought up to date by his grandson, himself a former Royal Navy officer who served in minesweepers.
88 pages, 55 Illustrations of which 19 are in colour

[PRICE £ 9.95] – Special price for TCA £8.50 (inc.P&P)
Includes a donation of £1 to the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust.

Contact Peter Down
Phone: 01449 721 235 e-mail:

RNBT Registered Charity No. 206243


Far From The Breaking Waves


Brad Vincent (Brad is a member of the TCA but using a Nom de Plume for this publication)

This is the true narrative of a military diver and bomb disposal operator who, after a dynamic career being one of the select few British Royal Navy Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving (MCD) specialists, finds himself Far From Breaking Waves in the land locked country of Afghanistan serving as a member of the Royal Australian Navy. The book chronicles his time based in the dangerous war torn city of Kabul as ISAF’s Chief of Counter Improvised Explosive Device Exploitation, and his voyage through an exciting adventure packed career to get there.

Forgive the pun, but this is an Explosive Book that should not be missed !

TCA member Lt Cdr David Ince RAN, writing under the nom de guerre Bradley Vincent, interweaves two stories; his 27 year career in the RN and transfer to the RAN, with an account of his six month deployment to Kabul in 2008/09 as part of the Counter – Improvised Explosive Device unit of ISAF.

Starting out as an AB (MW) in GAVINTON on the deployment where they discovered that new Russian influence mine in the Red Sea and also returned to base assisted by sail (see TON Talk edition 165), Dave describes his progression through Dartmouth to qualifying in Minewarfare and Clearance Diving, with some hair-raising adventures along the way; real Boys Own Paper stuff with bomb and mine disposal round British coasts and experiences with the SBS.

This is a hard man who tells it as it is: straight from the shoulder, with no punches pulled. At times he is critical of attitudes and practices in the RN, but it is the chapters detailing life on the ground in Counter IED that are the most sobering.

A senior Australian General has described Afghanistan as a basket case of corruption, ignorance and feudal tribal traditions, fuelled by religious extremism and murky external influences. The book relates a number of incidents that demonstrate the truth of that assessment.

Editorial policy of TON Talk is to steer clear of political comment, so this review will not spoil your enjoyment of reading the author’s observations for yourselves. The book brings an inside view of a particular and new dimension of the conflict in Afghanistan. It ranks alongside the stories from the infantry and Royal Marines in the Forward Operating Bases, the surgical precision of the Apache pilots and the life-saving heroism of the medical crews in the Chinooks.

This book should be required reading for all politicians before they next succumb to hubris and commit our forces to more unwinnable bloodletting, with zero chance of improving our international reputation, yet importing even more terrorist activity to our own shores.

Published in paperback in Australia [ISBN 978-1-742842-75-2], signed copies of the book can be obtained from Project Vernon. Contact  Also through Divers Gifts and Collectables at for £12.06 or in E format for Kindle at / iBooks in iTunes for £6.63 (pictures in colour in these formats).  Review by TT Editor P Down


Operation Musketeer

Operation Musketteer

Operation Musketeer

Some three years ago I became concerned that the memories and the photos of those who were involved in the Suez Canal crisis were being lost to posterity with our being of the age that we are.

I put out an appeal in the newspapers to those who were there in any capacity to tell me their stories and loan me their photos.

This A4-size book with 371 pages, 96 contributors, and 1,000 photographs is the outcome. Most of the photos, taken by the lads themselves from all the services, have never seen the light of day before so the book has served its purpose.

Although a limited edition book I have managed to keep its cost down to £17, and delivery for £4.20, a total of £21. 20.

Would you please make cheques or postal orders payable to:

Eric Pegg

8 Kinross Crescent, Marton, Blackpool, FY4 4PE.


War & Peas

By TCA President Rear Admiral John Lippiett CB MBE

War & Peas

War & Peas

Letters backwards and forwards across the 8000 miles separating  families during the Falklands War were the only, and frustratingly sporadic, form of communication.This is a book that will appeal not only to those who were there in the war, and their families back home, but  also to today’s servicemen and women.  They, and their loved ones waiting anxiously at home,  will  recognise the sentiments in the letters.  Little has changed in this respect.

It will, however, also appeal to anyone who wonders exactly what it is like to be in a war, how it is organised, and what it means to be in the midst of a conflict that could end in death.  Additionally, it is a fascinating record of what life in the Royal Navy is really like, and what goes on in the daily routine of a warship.

The book paints a vivid picture of naval operations 25 years ago

 There are not that many copies left and the joint authors are now the only suppliers. Contact

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