Merchantmen in Action

Author(s): Roy V. Martin 

ISBN: 9781781550458
£14.00 £20.00
The little known story of the essential support role provided by merchant ships in the Second World War.
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During the Second World War, the Merchant Navy’s main task was to run the German blockade, bringing essential food, fuel and materials to a besieged nation. The civilian crews came from all parts of the Empire and beyond – more than one in six were killed.

Even less is known about the part played by merchantmen in evacuations from countries that were overrun. They saved over 90,000 troops from Dunkirk and went on to rescue more than 200,000 troops and civilians from other parts of France. When Singapore fell, the Merchant Navy again helped many to escape. They moved men and materials for the landings of Madagascar, North Africa and the Mediterranean coast of Europe.

A British government press release reported that 50,000 volunteer British merchant seamen manned over 1,000 ships for D-Day. They also manned salvage ships, rescue tugs and other specialist craft. Merchantmen in Action tells the story of these other achievements.

Chapters include Singapore; the Norwegian campaign; Dunkirk; the Channel Islands; Greece and Crete; Sicily and Italy; the Normandy landings; the South of France, Gibraltar, etc, with detailed ship listing and human stories.

BOOK ISBN 9781781550458
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 208 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 32 black-and-white photographs



Roy V. Martin joined the Merchant Navy as an apprentice in 1953. He was promoted to Third, Second and Chief Officer with United Baltic Corporation, and gained a Master’s Certificate in 1962.

In 1964, Martin joined Risdon Beazley as a Chief Officer/Navigator, Relief Master/Assistant Salvage Manager in 1971, Operations Manager in 1975 and General Manager in 1979.

He was appointed Managing Director of Smit’s Asian Operation, leaving in 1986. Since then, Martin has been self-employed as a researcher/project manager.