Churchill's Pirates: The Royal Naval Patrol Service in World War II

Churchill's Pirates: The Royal Naval Patrol Service in World War II

by Jonathan Sutherland, Diane Canwell


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The Royal Naval Patrol Service, or Harry Tate's Navy as it was commonly known, was a unique service with its own rules and regulations. The officers and seamen were mainly ex-fishermen who had manned trawlers in Icelandic waters. The service was armed mostly with obsolete weaponry and suffered heavy casualties in the early stages of the war. The service was not confined to the seas around Britain and their small trawlers, drifters, paddle steamers, yachts and tugs saw service as far away as the Mediterranean and Newfoundland coast. Their main tasks included convoy escort duties, mine sweeping and antisubmarine work. Many awards for bravery were won including a VC. This book looks at the Service personnel, the boats, equipment and includes many firsthand accounts from crew. Lengthy Appendices include vessels names, numbers and fate.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526796516
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 12/28/2020
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jon Sutherland has written extensively on military history and warfare. Much of his previous work has concerned the American involvement in the European in World War I and the European theatre of World Wars I & II.

Diane Canwell has written widely on historical subjects, in particular on military and aviation history, and has long been fascinated by the history of Norfolk and its military heritage. Among her many books are 'The RAF Air Sea Rescue Service 1918-1986', 'The Battle of Jutland' and 'Air War Malta'.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Royal Naval Reserve 4

2 HMS Europa 28

3 The Ships 43

4 Norway, Dunkirk and the VC 54

5 Churchill's Pirates 66

6 Lady Shirley et al 80

7 The Turning Tide in 1943 92

8 Up to Full Strength 103

9 New Men, New Experiences 117

10 Did glory Pass Them By? 131


1 Trawler Losses 1939-1945 138

2 Report of Lt. Stannard to the Admiralty on the events at Namsos and VC Citation 188

3 Selected RNPS Second World War Awards for Minesweeping 201

4 The Royal Naval Patrol Service Association 233

Bibliography 235

Index 238

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