Hector Bywater

Hector Charles Bywater (1884-1940) was a British journalist and military writer who became a specialist in naval affairs at the beginning of the 20th century. Through his novel, 'The Great Pacific War', Mr. Bywater detailed a theoretical future Pacific war between Japan and the United States.

His family emigrated to the United States in 1901 and at age of 19 he started part time job writing naval articles for the New York Herald newspaper, including coverage of the Russian-Japanese war of 1904, and later was sent as foreign correspondent to London. It was here that he became a naval spy for Britain. Naturally gifted with languages, he was proficient to the point that he could pass for a native German. In 1915, he was sent back to America to investigate suspicious activity on New York's docks and averted a WWI German bombing attempt in New York. Years later, he returned to London to analyze naval data and documents.

In his 1921 book 'Sea-power in the Pacific : a study of the American-Japanese naval problem', he predicted naval conflict between Imperial Japan and the United States and expanded the topic further in his 1925 book 'The Great Pacific War'. Here Bywater correctly predicted many actions taken by both the Japanese and the Americans, including the Japanese drive to win the "Decisive Battle" and the US island-hopping campaign. Contrary to popular belief, neither book predicted an aerial attack on Pearl Harbor. Instead he predicted that the aerial attack would occur in US colonized Philippines, at the time having the largest concentration of US naval vessels in the Pacific.

H.C. Bywater died just over a year before WWII broke out in the Pacific with the attack on Pearl Harbor. He died of "undetermined causes" on the hospital coroner's report, but no autopsy was ever performed and his body was hastily cremated. Conspiracy theorists believe that Imperial Japan had him assassinated to deny the Allied Powers with a potentially important military adviser and strategist during WWII.

Following the end of WWII many military leaders in both the Allied Powers and Imperial Japan confirmed that his novel was a key resource book in planning military strategy during the war. To this day WWII first edition printings of the book in either English and Japanese are highly sought after amongst rare and naval book collectors.

Modern Era Naval Fiction

Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
  The Great Pacific War The story of a 1931-33 war between the United States and Japan which proved to be prophetic

Modern Era Naval Non Fiction

Series: n/a
Year  Book  Comment
  Cruisers in Battle Naval 'Light Cavalry' Under Fire 1914-1918

© 2008-2024 David Hayes (Astrodene)