Hearts of Steel – Jim Carter

Hearts of Steel - Jim Carter
WhenMonday 10th June 2024 at 19:00
WhereThe Library, Sturminster Newton
Bath Road
Sturminster Newton
DT10 1EE

Event TypeTalks

A unique and engaging biography of the ships HMS Effingham, Hawkins and Nubian, their crews, commanding officers and the development of the Royal Navy between 1918 and 1941 with the life of one man, Able Seaman Herbert Leeder, at its core.

In July 1918 Herbert Leeder joined the Royal Navy, beginning a naval career which spanned 2 World Wars and 16 ships. One hundred years later, his great-grandson, Jim Carter, was researching the lives of the men listed on his Berkshire village’s war memorial when his mother gave him Herbert’s S459 Record of Service and Carter, with a passion for military history, began to research Herbert’s life.
Hearts of Steel is the result: an unparalleled and unique exploration of life in the Royal Navy during a transformative period of naval history. Carter pieces together Herbert’s career utilizing a huge range of source material including logbooks, transcripts, enemy accounts and publications written first hand by the crews involved to vividly illustrate life aboard three ships: the cruisers Effingham and Hawkins and the Tribal-class destroyer HMS Nubian, during a rarely explored period of Royal Navy history from the end of World War 1 to the Battle of Crete in May 1941. It tells a tale of exotic foreign ports, trips ashore, fishing with dynamite and tragedy with Herbert Leeder at its heart.

Part 1 of the book examines how a sailor is accepted into the Senior Service before assignment to operations. It explores the roles of the Royal Navy shore establishments the advances in gunnery techniques, weaponry and radar detection demonstrating how technology shaped the way the Navy would fight in the next war during a time of developing tactics and a growing realisation that the day of the aircraft carrier was now, whilst the sun was setting on the era of the battleship.

Part 2 explores Herbert’s time amongst the handpicked crew of HMS Nubian and its role in the opening years of the Second World War. Herbert experienced 11 of her 13 Battle honours, including Norway, the battles of Calabria, Matapan and the destroyer action at SFAX, the destruction of an Italian convoy and the sinking of HMS Mohawk. Carter brings these to life with colour and passion.

Jim Carter was a successful flat race jockey in the 1980s and 90’s in the UK, France and New Zealand before joining the family business as a Director in 2000. He lives in Dorset

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