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The Sea, War and Barbed Wire


A Story of Merchant Naval Men
by Philip Algar

This is the fascinating story of oil tanker master, Captain Stanley Algar, who, together with his colleagues, was captured in the Atlantic and spent four years behind barbed wire. Drawing on his diaries, hidden from the Germans, we discover how the prisoners survived in brutal conditions. Their story is also put into a broader context of what was happening in the war. The role of the U boats and the merchant raider vessels and their commanders is discussed and the appalling human cost of the war is considered. This is, by no means, a comprehensive account of the war, but it focuses around a small number of people and their personal experiences in extraordinary circumstances. Without the contribution of these officially unrecognised Merchant Navy seamen, Britain might well have lost a war, the details of which are accelerating fast into history as the last survivors leave us. An excellent read that comes highly recommended.

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Philip Algar




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