A great interest of the author is steam railway locomotives, in particular the powerful ‘Merchant Navy’ class built by Oliver Bulleid, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of Britain’s Southern Railway in the 1940s. Thirty such locomotives were produced, each named after a shipping line served by the Southern Railway. The first twenty entered service during the war, with the remainder following in 1948/49 after the railways had been nationalised and become British Railways.
It was whilst researching for another book on the histories of the eleven ‘Merchant Navy’ class locomotives rescued at the end of BR steam in the 1960s that details emerged of the particularly traumatic events the relevant shipping lines had encountered during the war.
It is some of the wartime stories of these eleven shipping lines which are the subject ofthis book.