Adrian Holloway was only seventeen when he left the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth in 1940 and joined HMS Valiant as a Midshipman, sharing a gunroom with Midshipmen Terry Lewin and HRH Prince Philip. He arrived in the Mediterranean in time to witness the darkest days of the Mediterranean Fleet – providing cover for the Fleet Air Arm’s raid on Taranto, fighting at the Battle of Matapan and taking part in the evacuation of Crete – during which time the Royal Navy’s vessels were decimated. He also witnessed the sinking of HMS Barham, and after returning from an appointment to the Australian destroyer HMAS Nizam, was back on board Valiant when Italian frogmen mined her in Alexandria Harbour in 1941.
In From Dartmouth to War Adrian Holloway presents a fascinating first-hand account of the war at sea, vividly recalling what it was like to be in battle whilst still little more than a schoolboy. He describes the transition from the safety of Dartmouth to the terror and confusion of the open ocean, at a time when Britain stood alone against the Axis. Complete with personal photographs, track charts and naval signals, this book provides an invaluable insight into the wartime activities of a junior officer.