S.O.S.: Men Against the Sea is a tribute to the outstanding courage of generations of seamen from the last days of sail, through the formative years of steam and the great exodus of emigrants from Europe at the turn of the century. It covers two World Wars and ends with a chapter on flags of convenience and the scandal of modern cruise ships. Edwards' authoritative and superbly dramatised book makes compelling reading. Most of the ships featured in the book are those that history has by and large passed by. Few have ever heard of the 205 naval seamen and the crew of 23 of HMS Iolaire who, after surviving a brutal and bloody war, lost their lives early in the morning of the first day of the new year when in sight of home on the Isle of Lewis. Or the steamer Utopia, which on a dark, stormy night in 1891 skewered itself on the ram-bow of a warship in Gibraltar Bay and sank in five minutes taking 500 souls down with it. The book tells of 29 ships lost or damaged, varying in size from the tiny, 75 ton paddle-steamer Rothesay Castle to the huge, 275,000 tonne tanker Olympic Bravery. A total of 5,683 people lost their lives when these ships went down. S.O.S.: Men Against the Sea is their epitaph.
Author: Bernard Edwards
Title: S.O.S.: Men Against the Sea
First Published by: Robert Hale
Date: 1 June 1994