THE SHIP WITH FIVE NAMES by Charles Gibson

THE SHIP WITH FIVE NAMES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Even more impressive than the war odyssey of the Speybank/Doggerbank of the title, is the unglamorous manliness of her German Captain and crew. The Speybank was a British merchant Ship bound from Southwest India to the United States in late 1941. She was captured without injury by the German warship Atlantis, then taken out to a reunion with some other German warships. The Germans recognized that in the Speybank they had a ship that was as British in appearance as Churchill's face. So they armed it with hidden ordnance, revamped its interior and sent it out with a German crew as a minelayer. By huff and by bluff, and by changing her name twice, she managed to inflict considerable damage. Later, she was transformed into a prison ship and carried nearly 200 British prisoners to Japanese prison camps in Java. Her fifth name was given her by the prisoners, in reference to her cuisine: Stewbank. Eventually, she was so British in her looks that she was sunk by a U-boat, with all hands lost but one. The story is told with willing application and no fancifulness.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1965
Publisher: Abelard-Schuman