Author(s): Brian Lavery
As she lay in dry dock, devastatingly damaged by one of Hitler's newly deployed magnetic mines after barely two months in service, few could have predicted the illustrious career that lay ahead for the cruiser HMS Belfast. After three years of repairs to her broken keel, engine- and boiler-rooms, and extensive refitting, she would go on to play a critical role in the protection of the Arctic Convoys, would fire one of the opening shots at D-Day and continue supporting the Operation Overlord landings for five weeks. Her service continued beyond the Second World War both in Korea and in the Far East before she commenced her life as one of the world's most celebrated preserved visitor ships in the Pool of London. Her crowning glory however came in December 1943 when, equipped with the latest radar technology, she was to play the leading role in the Battle of the North Cape sinking the feared German battlecruiser Scharnhorst, the bete noir of the Royal Navy.
In doing so the ship's crew made a vital contribution to, what was to be, the final big-gun head-to-head action to be fought at sea In The Last Big Gun Brian Lavery, the foremost historian of the Royal Navy, employs his trademark wide-ranging narrative style and uses the microcosm of the ship to tell the wider story of the naval war at sea and vividly portray the realities for all of life aboard a Second World War battleship. The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs and illustrations and will appeal to all those with an interest in military history and life in the wartime Royal Navy.
Another stirring story of WWII that in days gone by would have been handled by someone like author Paul Brickhill. No student of WWII history should pass this one by... -- Paul Norman Books Monthly 17/02/2016 The author's informative, yet engaging style will grip the reader's attention ... Whether one is interested in the ship itself, life at sea or naval history, this is a brilliant and exhaustive chronicle of Belfast's varied service. -- Captain Peter Hore Warships International 17/02/2016 Brian Lavery's style is, as we have come to expect from his past work, succinct and very readable, even gripping when describing the ship in action. ... This is a thoroughly worthwhile volume for those interested both in the ship herself and in war at sea in the mid-20th century. -- Roger Marsh Ships in Scale 02/03/2016
Brian Lavery is one of Britain's leading naval historians and a prolific author. A Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and a renowned expert on the sailing navy and the Royal Navy, in 2007 he won the prestigious Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award. His naval writing was further honoured in 2008 with the Society of Nautical Research's Anderson Medal. His recent titles include Ship (2006), Royal Tars (2010), Conquest of the Ocean (2013), In Which They Served (2008), Churchill's Navy (2006), and the Sunday Times bestseller Empire of the Seas (2010).