It is thrilling to report that the HMS Hampshire book published by Orkney Heritage Society has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
The Mountbatten Maritime Award 2017 will be presented at a London dinner on Wednesday 8 November.
‘HMS Hampshire: a Century of Myths and Mysteries Unravelled’ is one of 13 books shortlisted for the award, from an original long-list of more than 40.
The book, edited by James Irvine and written with 11 local experts – Brian Budge, Jude Callister, Issy Grieve, Kevin Heath, Andrew Hollinrake, Keith Johnson, Neil Kermode, Michael Lowrey, Tom Muir, Emily Turton and Ben Wade – commemorates the 737 men who died and the 12 survivors when Hampshire was lost off Orkney on 5 June 1916.
The authors address Kitchener’s last voyage, Jellicoe’s routing instructions, the eye-witness accounts as Hampshire sank, the search and rescue efforts at sea and ashore and the outrage arising, the minelaying and sweeping operations, the censorship and consequential rumours and conspiracy theories, the Kitchener Memorial on Marwick Head, diving the wreck, the artefacts recovered, and the centenary events of 2016.
Meanwhile the book is attracting complimentary reviews, including these…
Dr Ray Fereday: “A magnificent historiography, bridging the gulf between local and national history.”
Sigurd Towrie: “Succeeds in its goal admirably, deserves a place on any bookshelf.”
Cdr John Bingeman RN: “An in-depth study and important contribution to naval history.”
Professor Tom Stevenson: “A darned good read.”
Living Orkney: “Without doubt – this is a Christmas present worth giving to anyone with even the slightest interest in Orkney and its wartime history.” John Ross Scott
Centenary News: “This is a meticulous, but nonetheless enthralling, new account of a naval disaster that shook Britain at the height of the First World War.”
The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology: “This is an interesting publication, covering many topics surrounding this most enigmatic of shipping losses, and it will appeal to a wide range of readers. There is even a chapter covering conspiracy theories. A worthy addition to any library covering Orcadian or broader naval history; recommended.”
Naval Review: “Buy it, borrow it, steal it if you must, – but read it! The people of the Hampshire and of Birsay deserve no less.” John Burgess, Rear Admiral, RN
(review in full – http://hmshampshire.org/hms-hampshire-a-century-of-myths-and-mysteries-unravelled-book-reviews/)
Stand To, the thrice-yearly journal of The Western Front Association: “The book, with its wealth of new information and copiously illustrated, is a fitting tribute to those who sailed that evening on HMS Hampshire and never returned.”
The book is £25 plus p&p from The Orcadian online bookshop or, if you live in Orkney, visit The Orcadian bookshop in Kirkwall. All proceeds, including authors’ royalties, go to the Orkney Heritage Society’s Kitchener Memorial Refurbishment Project.
So, fingers crossed for the awards dinner on 8 November – which James Irvine and Andrew Hollinrake will attend – but, whatever happens, it is wonderful news that the book is shortlisted for this award.
For now, I will leave you with some of the stories relating to HMS Hampshire from recent months, please see the links below.
The story of HMS Hampshire survivor Richard Simpson inspires a schools’ project in north-east England, hear more on this BBC Radio Orkney report (at 12min 10sec) – https://soundcloud.com/radio-orkney/around-orkney-thursday-21st-september-2017
More than £1million awarded to Lyness Museum renovation project (HMS Hampshire propeller is displayed outside) – https://www.orcadian.co.uk/1-million-awarded-lyness-museum-renovation-project/
Church windows honouring Ashby’s war dead go on public display (includes one of HMS Hampshire’s men) – http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/news/church-windows-honouring-ashbys-war-396095
Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) announces a collaborative maritime archaeology project surveying shipwrecks of the German High Seas Fleet and the war graves HMS Hampshire, HMS Vanguard and HMS Royal Oak – http://www.heritagedaily.com/2017/07/maritime-archaeology-project-underway-orkney/116134