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   Books / eBook : Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of WWII Tell Their True Stories
Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of WWII Tell Their True Stories

Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of WWII Tell Their True Stories by Mac Johnston
English | April 28, 2008 | ISBN: 0470154292 | PDF | 272 pages | 82.4 MB

To the casual observer, World War II was won on land, but the war was actually decided by the Battle of the Atlantic. It was control of the seas that enabled the Allies to fight on land in Europe, and in the air.

The victory at sea was a dangerous and deadly six-year struggle to deliver the necessities of life and war from North America to the United Kingdom. On the one side were the hunted -merchant ships sailing in convoys protected by warships. On the other side were the hunters-German submarines determined to sever the Atlantic Supply line and strangle the United Kingdom into submission. Canada played a significant role in this struggle by producing and sending to sea more than a hundred small escort vessels known as corvettes.

In Corvettes Canada, Mac Johnston re-creates life aboard corvettes through the worlds of the veterans themselves. Within a framework of the basic events of the war, this book is an epic piece of oral history and is essentially the product of the memories of more than 250 men, collected by correspondence in a project that got underway with an initial personalized letter to several hundred corvette veterans in 1990. Hundreds of additional letters followed as more veterans were identified. The letter count rose to 1,400 and then 1,900 to flesh out the corvette story.

From the fall of 1940 until May 1945, Corvettes Canada follows these small warships as they shepherd convoys of merchant ships carrying weapons, food, oil, raw materials and manufactured goods from North America to the United Kingdom. On the return trip, the escorts bring back the empty vessels for reloading.

As told in the worlds of the veterans, the routines of life aboard a corvette are punctuated by sudden burst of fierce action-the life-and-death moments for warships, merchant ships and German submarines. This was but one enemy-the other was the North Atlantic itself, a powerful force that brought severe cold, icy storms and fierce gales.

In addition to the famous Newfie-Derry Run on the North Atlantic, corvettes also saw duty in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the triangle run to New York and Boston, in the Caribbean, in the Mediterranean and in the English Channel, as well as the Pacific Ocean.

Corvettes Canada is a remarkable achievement: an honest, engaging story of war told through first-hand experience and a celebration of the courage and resilience of young sailors whose efforts were critical to victory in Europe. The memories are accompanied by a treasure trove of photographs which bring that time to life. In total, the book is an achievement of a kind that will be an enduring legacy for generations of readers.

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