An attack by a British destroyer on a German U-boat in the Eastern Mediterranean in October 1942 altered the course of the entire war. The capture of secret coding material from U-559, at the cost of two of HMS Petard's crew, enabled Bletchley Park's codebreakers to successfully crack the U-boat cypher
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(178mm x 110mm x 10mm)
Sutton Publishing Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Billed as one of the Second World War's last great untold stories, this tale of how the first Enigma materials were captured was first published in 1999. Now reissued in the wake of the successful film and BBC series on the subject, it tells of the role of HMS Petard during that monumental conflict. The full facts about the destroyer's involvement in the events of that October night in 1942 were never previously available due to an 'extended intelligence blackout' spanning four decades. It was only recently that the actions of the two young crew members who died that night rescuing codebooks from a sinking U-boat were finally allowed to be revealed, and their enormous effect on the course of the war could be recognized and analysed. Unique in that she was the only Royal Navy destroyer to sink submarines belonging to all three enemy navies, the Petard attacked and captured U-559 in the Mediterranean, and the subsequent discovery of coding material for the infamous German Enigma system allowed the statisticians, mathematicians and intellectuals at Bletchley Park to get to work on breaking the new code that would reveal details of a planned massive underwater offensive. It's crucial to remember how the German navy dominated the Atlantic waters during those years - at one stage twice as many Allied ships were being destroyed as were coming into service - and Churchill himself described the Battle of the Atlantic as 'the dominating factor throughout the war'. Harper served on the HMS Petard himself, and his obvious affection and respect for the vessel and her crew adds a touching personal note to this exciting and well-written story. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper served in the Royal Navy during World War II as a coder on "HMS Petard "on her second commission, from 1945 to 1946. After the war he followed a career as a journalist and was Foreign Correspondent for the "Daily Express "for more than 20 years, and later Chief Foreign Correspondent. He is the author of "Last Sunset," "Miracle of Deliverance," and two novels.