Battling Onwards - The Brixham Fishing Fleet 1914-1918, by Samantha Little

Battling Onwards - The Brixham Fishing Fleet 1914-1918, by Samantha Little

Published by the Brixham Museum in 2016, 41 pages. Paperback - c.18.5cm by 23cm (N8149)

From the foreword: From the 19th Century the relationship that Brixham men and their families had with their fishing smacks was unbreakable. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 that bond was to be tested to the limit, often ending in destruction and sometimes death. For five years the fishermen ofBrixham had not only to contend with the continuing awesome ferocity of fickle seas and storm, but in addition the power of the Imperial German Navy, mostly in the form of the dreaded U-boat.

Samantha Little's 'Battling Onwards' provides a detailed, beautifully researched and yet intimate account of those fearful, costly years as far as the community of Brixham was concerned. Using first-hand accounts, such as from fisherman George Bridge; school boy of that era, Ralph Gardner; fisherman's daughter, Miss W.J. Gregory, the total involvement of the town's men and womenfolk is made abundantly clear. In addition, the words both of Leading Stoker Smithurst of HMS Formidable, whose torpedoed crew would be so dramatically saved by the crew of Provident, together with King George V in person, were heart felt. Their offering was of total admiration, praise and thanksgiving for the selfless bravery of Brixham fishermen and the support of their families. Samantha also catches to perfection the extraordinary stoicism of the trawler crews, more especially the skippers and often owners, who would have to observe the sinking of their defenceless vessels by German gunfire and see their way of life and family income slip below the waves. And yet within this personal adversity, always time and energy to help others in greater need, from the newly arrived Belgian families from Ostend to raising funds for a Red Cross motor ambulance for service on the Western Front...

The condition of the book is generally very good. The covers are clean and bright, the spine is intact, and all pages are clean, tidy, unblemished and tightly bound.