Salt Horse

Salt Horse

Memoir of a Maverick Admiral, Claude Lionel Cumberlege

Robin Knight

Foreword by Rear Admiral Mike Harris

  • A vivid memoir recalling a lost world in peace and war, on land and sea
  • The autobiography of an individualistic, larger-than-life sailor who lived by his wits
  • Easy to read, colourful, full of scarcely believable anecdotes, vignettes and pen pictures highlighting a long life well lived
  • An insightful and unusual look at the development of two navies – the Royal Navy 1889–1913, and the Royal Australian Navy 1913–22


Print edition: £18.99
234 x 156mm
c 240 pages
c.100 b/w photographs
January 2024

Written originally in 1936–38 by Admiral Cumberlege as a record of his life, Salt Horse was never published. The original manuscript has been expertly edited and made readable in terms of language to a modern audience.  It now comprises chapters on Cumberlege’s naval career in the RN and Royal Australian Navy and also on the 1922–38 period when he lived year-round on two large sailing craft, cruising the coasts of France and Spain. 

Cumberlege writes with some verve. He has strong views, made numerous friends wherever he and his second wife Nora went, and lived a spirited, irreverent and fortunate existence in peace and war. Some of his stories (for instance, about WW1 in New Guinea, or about his 1905 lunch in Gibraltar as a young officer with Kaiser Wilhelm II) are historic and eye-catching. In many ways, the book describes a world, and a way of life, that has disappeared for ever.

Salt Horse is complemented with a timeline, family tree and Introduction which trace Cumberlege’s background. An Afterword takes his life story from 1938–63 when he died. The numerous black-and-white images and short footnotes bring many of the people mentioned in the text to life.


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