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Years of Endurance - Life aboard the Battlecruiser Endurance, 1914-16

Years of Endurance - Life aboard the Battlecruiser Endurance, 1914-16

John R Muir
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
I’m most definitely not an expert in naval matters, and other than a teenaged passion for the works of Douglas Reeman (PBUH) and some potluck reading over the years, it’s not an area of military history that has held much fascination for me. As you may imagine I was not exactly thrumming with excitement when I received the above title, recording the experiences of a Royal Navy ship’s doctor on a WW1 Battlecruiser, HMS Tiger. I can only say that I was severely mistaken in my lack of enthusiasm; to find a book this interesting and engaging is a rarity.

The book covers the period from outbreak of war to the end of 1916, centred on the author’s service with the ship. This copy is a hardback 202 pages long with a selection of relevant black and white photographic plates, and at a cover price of £12.99 is very reasonably priced.

John Muir was a career Royal Naval Officer and doctor who at the Great War’s outbreak was stationed at Chatham Naval Barracks as the Senior Medical Officer. His pacy description of expanding the facilities there to receive reservists and his part in it will ring true today for anyone who’s been involved in an emergency expansion of capability (military or otherwise). Muir requested a posting to a warship, and was sent to join Tiger in the final stage of her construction at Glasgow. HMS Tiger was a new design of Battlecruiser, the most modern of the dreadnoughts trading armour for speed whilst retaining firepower. His depiction of getting her and the crew ready for operations once again should chime with more modern experiences of pre-op training, and the joys of breaking in new kit! In between his truly evocative description of life on a Royal Navy warship serving in the North Sea he recounts excellent descriptions of Tiger’s involvement in sea battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland.


I am usually no fan of the writing style of the Victorian or Edwardian periods, finding the language used impenetrably dull (apart from Kipling). This book definitely doesn’t fall into that category; Muir writes in an engaging and accessible way, and his story is a page turner from start to end. Indeed, I can’t find anything to detract from this book.

Five mushrooms out of five!

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