British Coastal Forces of WW2


Ian Sadler



The book under review is British Coastal Forces WW2 by Paul Kemp, published by ISO publications, 137 Westminster Bridge road, London, SE1 7HR. ISBN no 0-946784-52-3, price in the UK is 14-95, best to check for local price with your book dealer as price does vary country to country.

Published in A4 portrait format on very good quality gloss paper. All the photographs are in Black and White, with a small into text to each one in English.

The book is split into 10 sections each dealing with the following types of British Coastal types used in WW2.

MTB, Torpedo Armament, Motor Anti Submarine Boats, MGB, Gun Armament, MG, Fairmile D combined MTB/MGB, Harbour Defence launches, Propulsion, and lastly General Scenes on board.

Within its 112 pages it has 194 photographs of varying quality (see foot note), the vast majority are two per page with those on a more interesting subject printed one per page.

Comments: A subject, which is close to my heart as my father served on ML's in the cross channel force in 1940 running agents into Holland and France. He was on the very first training course set up in Scotland and had the letters SS for Special Service training on his papers. A great pity he did not live long enough to read this book.

This subject has been poorly covered in the past and the details scattered over several publications.

It is a welcome addition to the information about those Little Ships, as they were affectionately known in the service. I looked in vain for photos of my fathers own ML; it seems that only my mother has any taken at that time.

I can still remember the stores my father told me of the dark cold nights spent on patrol and lying in wait to drop off an agent or pick one up. The constant tension crammed into such a small space. He was trained as a gunner and stood watch as they aproached the coast. He was also a member of the small Elite Royal Naval Commando detachment. But that is an other story.

Conclusion for those who build Small ships this is a very welcome and informative book on the life and times of those Little Ships. The details in the photographs are truly staggering and will certainly help modelmakers to super detail their own models. Not only with camouflage and deck fittings but identifying were a particular ship served in which battle. Just to pick out one photograph in particular, just how does one lift a MGB out of the water? The photograph on page 46 shows it in full glory. What a diorama that would make.

The Author is to be congratulated on the selection of the photographs and with them the additional information they provided to the story of these fascinating Little Ships. They do in some way bring home the atmosphere of what it must have been to live and fight on these unsung heroes of the Royal Navy.

Highly recommended go and order your copy now.

Footnote, the quality of the photographs does vary from excellent to fairly good, but one has to remember the conditions and the times they were taken in and make allowances.

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