- Book reviewer
- History - general, Book reviews
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 1998 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Many of our readers will be familiar with Vic Cassells as the author of “For Those in Peril“, which chronicled the loss of RAN ships and men in past conflicts.
His latest book, “Shipmates“, provides a salve for the grim details of his earlier work by recounting with great affection and humour the stories behind, as he says, “all the creatures of whatever kind, who have eased the sailors’ burden“.
The range of his research has been astonishing, and all the contributions reinforce the boost to morale which many mascots and pets provided.
Fittingly, the author opens with the story of `Trim’ which was the ship’s cat beloved by that great explorer Captain Matthew Flinders, Royal Navy, and which followed his master into captivity by the French in 1803.
Thereafter there are well over 100 accounts of mascots and pets in RAN ships and establishments, ranging from a baby elephant (very briefly) to snakes, although dogs and cats predominate. One young “lass” deserves special mention.
A treasure trove of photographs is included in the book which is further embellished with the author’s captions and sketches.
The supplement near the end deals with some Royal Navy ships’ mascots which had a firm connection with Australia, but I believe there is much to stimulate an enlarged edition of this delightful work.