Somerville's Force H
The Royal Navy's Gibraltar-based Fleet, June 1940 to March 1942
by Raymond Dannreuther
Aurum Pr Ltd, 2005, b/w photographic plates, photographs, maps, hardcover, dustjacket, ISBN 1845130200
Like New Condition, minor edge and shelf wear, missing title/publishers page, previous owners gift inscription in light pencil on half-title page
Between June 1940 and March 1942, the legendary Force H, based in Gibraltar under the command of Admiral Sir James Somerville, was almost constantly in action. Formed in haste after the fall of France, Force H began its history with the unpleasant but necessary task of disabling the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. The Force had two vital missions: to maintain a flow of supplies to Malta and carry the war to the Italian fleet, and to protect British shipping in the Atlantic. Its dual role was vividly demonstrated when its most famous ship, Ark Royal, flew off 48 Hurricanes to Malta from well inside the Mediterranean on 21 May 1941 and then, just six days later, played a critical part in the destruction of the Bismarck 450 miles out in the Atlantic. This fascinating and thoroughly researched history is the first book to be devoted to Force H. It is also a tribute to Somerville, one of the Royal Navy's most remarkable officers, who welded a hastily assembled collection of ships into a formidable fighting force.'