“Recollections of an Unsuccessful Seaman”

B O E K B E S P R E K I N G by : Frank NEYTS  

Recently Whittles Publishing released ‘Recollections of an Unsuccessful Seaman’, by Leonard Noake and edited by David Creamer. Born in 1887, George Leonard Noake joined the nautical training establishment, HMS Conway, in 1903. He then served an apprenticeship at sea until 1908 when his detailed memoirs commence, sailing as a second officer in the European/West African trade. Returning to the mercantile marine in 1915, he sailed in a number of ships and survived not only being torpedoed in the English Channel, but also making 112 trips between England and Europe on a ship carrying war materials. The narrative of this wartime experiences is both harrowing and humorous. On the verge of bankruptcy in 1923, he escaped his creditors by joining a ship bound for Australia as a quartermaster. Luck was on his side and upon his return home he became master of a converted ‘Glasgow Puffer’. He remained in the employ of the National Benzole Company but his seagoing career as a chief officer ended in 1927 when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Readers of poignant portrayal of life in the 1900s, not only at sea but also ashore, will be thoroughly entertained and moved by the author’s experiences and humour. Leonard Noake was undoubtedly a true character, one who enjoyed more than a tipple or two, a strong supporter of the fledgling unions and an unrelenting critic of shipping magnates and their shareholders. The last chapter of the book has been published without correction or editing allowing readers to make their own judgement of Len, his heartfelt style of writing and passionately-held beliefs.

“Recollections of an Unsuccessful Seaman” (ISBN 978-1-84995-393-1) is issued as a paperback. The book counts 177 pages and costs £18.99 or $24.95. The book can be ordered via every good book shop, or directly with the publisher, Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath Mill, Dunbeath, Cairness IKW6 6EG, Scotland (UK), e-mail: ,




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