This autobiography recount the experiences of a pilot in the post-war Fleet Air Arm, a service very much in transition, and operating a mix of old wartime aircraft and new designs and even types of machine. Allen's flying career embraced both of these extremes, with periods flying the Fairey Firefly and Grumman Avenger, training on Vampire jets and Sea Hawks, and using the twin turbo-prop Fairey Gannet in service. He then moved on to fly helicopters, having some bad experiences in the unreliable Westland Whirlwind Mk.7 before moving on to the Helicopter Trials and Development Unit, where he flew in the Saunders Roe P.531, the prototype for the Wasp and Scout helicopters.
This wide range of experience means that Allen's book is full of incident, both on the air, and as the title implies, in the sea. This combines with an entertaining travelogue (especially during his visit to Hong Kong) to produce a very entertaining read, and one that gives us a view of a largely vanished world. We follow Allen from his wartime childhood, through his early training in the Royal Navy, which began with a cruise to Gibraltar, then across his various tours of duty, which included the British atomic bomb tests, and on to his time as a test pilot.
1 - Every Story has a Beginning
2 - Rise and Shine, Young Sirs!
3 - A Sailor's Life for Me
4 - 'I Have Control'
5 - Onwards and Upwards
6 - You are Commanded to Proceed
7 - Here Come the Big, Fat Faireys
8 - 825 Squadron - The First Commission
9 - 751 Squadron and HMS Warrior
10 - What are you doing at Christmas? Operation Grapple
11 - One Elderly Aircraft Carrier for Sale
12 - The Ups and Downs of a Rotary Wing Pilot
13 - Off Again - 815 Squadron
14 - Trials and Development - Whatever Next?
15 - A Tragic Conclusion
16 - Someone Has to Do It
Author: Lieutenant Brian R. Allen RN
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation