New book chronicles how the cruel sea has claimed lives of sailors through the centuries

An author from North Beds has chronicled some of the worst shipwrecks in history in a new book.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 31st January 2016, 7:00 am
Author Peter C. Smith
Author Peter C. Smith

Renowned maritime writer Peter C. Smith has published Sailors On The Rocks - Famous Royal Navy Shipwrecks, which highlights the dangers of men facing the perils at sea. For three hundred years or more the Royal Navy really did ‘Rule the Waves’ and during the numerous wars with our overseas enemies, British fleets and individual ships more often than not emerged victorious from combat.

Peter’s latest work reveals how the waves were never ruled by any maritime power. Even as great fleets might wax and wane and ships became more complex and powerful, it was the eternally cruel sea that would always have the final say.

This book highlights a sample array of disasters, occurring when men-of-war faced the ultimate test of the elements and lost. Among such tragedies are the wrecking of the Coronation in 1691, the destruction of the Winchester in 1695 and the great storm of 1703, along with a host of shipwrecks on far-flung shores from New Zealand to Nova Scotia, and from Florida to South Africa.

Peter said: “More recently, steam power replaced the uncertainties of sail, but even so losses continued, from little destroyers in both World Wars, Narborough, Opal and Sturdy among them, through great battleships like Montagu.

“Even contemporary warships equipped with every modern navigational device come to grief; witness the strange affair of the frigate Nottingham, or the humiliating grounding of the nuclear ‘wonder’ submarine Astute on Skye in 2010.”

Peter C. Smith’s previous books have been principally concerned with wartime naval vessels, of which more than 20 have been published.

Visit the publisher’s website at