Title WHO SANK SURCOUF? THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE PRIDE OF THE FRENCH NAVY.
Publisher Century, London, 1991.
Seller ID 23438
209 pp, large 8vo (9 1/2" H), hard cover in dust jacket. ISBN 0712639756 B&w illustrations. "At 3pm on the afternoon of 12 February 1942, the French Submarine 'Surcouf', then the largest submarine in service with any navy, sailed from Bermuda bou nd for Tahiti via the Panama Canal. On board were 129 French officers and men, and three members of a Royal Navy liaison team. From the moment she left Bermuda, 'Surcouf' was never seen again. Not a single scrap of wreckage, body, or anyth i n g r e m otely connected with this giant vessel was ever found. (She) simply disappeared. On the night of 2 July, 1941 'Surcouf', docked in Devenport, was forcibly taken over by the Royal Navy in an operation that resulted in three deaths and ma ny i n ju ri es . A motley collection of Breton fishermen were press-ganged into geting 'Surcouf' seaworthy again. Too slow and cumbersome to serve in home waters, (she) was sent off to Canada to escort convoys across the Atlantic, but almost im med iat el y r epo rts circulated that 'Surcouf' had sunk some of the ships in the first convoy she was guarding. When the British liaison officer warned his superiors 'Surcouf' was a menace and should not be kept in service, he was accused of cow ardi ce a nd repl aced by Sub Lieutenant Roger Burney, a young, naive officer who had enjoyed a long homosexual relationship with the singer Peter Pears and the composer Benjamin Britten, and was later to have 'War Requiem' dedicated to his me mory. Aft er ta kin g par t in the unauthorised seizure of the Vichy-held islands of St Pierre and Miquelon in December 1941, which greatly angered Roosevelt and embarrassed Churchill, 'Surcouf' was ordered to sail for Tahiti. Burney warned the A dmiral ty tha t (her ) cr ew wer e unr elia ble, and that they were openly talking about mutinying and defecting either to France or Martinique. However, the Admiralty insisted 'Surcouf' sail - it was never seen again. The vanishing of 'Surcouf' b ecame o ne of t he most cont roversi al aff airs to sour relations between the Allies with accusations that it had been deliberately sunk by the British or American navy." Light browning to pages, browning to edges of text block, light wrinkling a t bottom of spin e. Dust jacke t has mi nor edg e wri nkling at op/bottom of spine and flap-folds. Very Good/Very Good