Always at Sea

Always at Sea

Mary Wardle

Print edition: £16.95
240 × 170mm
204 pages

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Written from her father's diaries, Always at Sea recounts the exploits of William Donald who went to sea as a boy in 1912 and stayed in the Merchant Navy for almost fifty years! Over the years he proved himself a very able and entirely reliable mariner - in fact he made an outstanding master. In the course of his career he dealt with most incidents with aplomb: eccentric captains and crews, a pile-up in Cardiff docks, a crazy baboon and a submarine chase and subsequent grounding. All are described with a keen sense of observation and humour.

The years between the wars were full of incidents including a cargo of bones containing human remains, a collapsing pier, a steadily expanding fireman and the sinking of a tanker, while the Second World War brought endless convoys, gun watches and sleepless nights.

It really becomes apparent that Donald, and other seamen like him, were owed much by their employers, the shipping lines, for their professionalism and dedication. There is much of interest for anyone who likes the sea or just wants an entertaining read.

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