John Lambert was a naval writer with a background as a naval draughtsman and nine years of service in the post-war Royal Navy. He went on to write a series of books on warships, produced detailed plans for modellers and illustrations for other books, while at the same time working as a police officer. Towards the end of his life he began work on a massive series of drawings which were meant to form the heart of a series of books on every British naval weapon used on destroyers and smaller ships, but sadly the project was incomplete when he died in 2016. Luckily the drawings survived, and are now being used as the basis of a series of books. This volume looks at the massive fleets of escort ships and minesweepers and the many weapons they carried, a key part of the British war effort.
This book falls into two unequal halves. The first fifty pages or so consist of a history of the escort and minesweeping ships – their design, production, service and weaponry, written by the renowned naval historian Norman Friedman. The remaining two hundred pages contain Lambert’s detailed plans, which range from full scale plans of individual warships to the tiniest details of the weapons they carried. The ship drawings are each given a single page, avoiding the problem of attempting to split them across two pages, while the weapons have been spread over two pages, but with a gap added in the centre to make sure that no details disappear into the fold. This approach works well, and the benefits can be seen on those occasions when part of a drawing crosses the middle of the spread.
Some of the plans, in particular the full ship layouts, are very finely detailed, and benefit from the use of a magnifying glass. The level of detail revealed is very impressive, and the print quality more than good enough to take full advantage of it. The original drawings were drawn on paper 34in by 24in – about twice the size of this book, itself just larger than A4 in size!
This book will be of great value to anyone trying to model these ships, providing an impressive level of detail for the many weapons used during the war. I’m also finding it rather useful in my efforts to identify particular aspects of pictures of these ships.
Ships: S Series
Weapons: W Series
Equipment: E Series
Appendix: A Series (weapons on larger warships)
Author: John Lambert
Editor: Norman Friedman