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British fishermen are among the unsung heroes of the First World War. The conflict with Germany had an immediate and enduring impact on their lives and livelihood. They were immediately caught up in the sea war against the Kaiser’s navy, confronting the threats presented by the submarines, minelayers, gunboats and capital ship of the High Seas Fleet. Often they found themselves thrust into strange, dangerous situations, which put their lives at risk and tested to the limit their bravery and skill as seamen. This is their fascinating story.
For the first time in this two-volume study Douglas d’Enno provides a comprehensive and lasting record of the services rendered by the fishermen and their vessels, both under naval control and on their own account. His pioneering history shows the full extent of their contribution to the British war effort, from minesweeping and submarine detection to patrol, escort and counter-attack duties. The areas of action were not limited to the home waters of the Channel, the North Sea and the Western Approaches but ranged as far as the Arctic and the Mediterranean’s Aegean and Adriatic seas.
Extraordinary stories are recounted here of the hazards of minesweeping, battles with U-boats, decoy missions, patrols, blockades, rescues and capture by the enemy. First-hand accounts make up the essence of the material. Reports from the leading trade journals, specialist literature and personal manuscripts vividly recall the fishermen’s experiences and the hardships and dangers they faced throughout the war.
Douglas d’Enno is a historian, linguist and journalist who has made an exhaustive study of the impact of the First World War on Britain’s fishermen and their vessels. After a career associated with publishing and – primarily - as a professional translator, he has devoted himself to writing and research. During his 20 years’ employment at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (now DEFRA), he had access to substantial material on the nation’s fisheries and to contacts within the industry.
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