Keypoints: One man’s compelling account of the horrors of the wartime Atlantic convoys, the difficulties he faced afterwards, and his search for the truth about his own history back on the island of Tiree.
Categories: History, Maritime, Wartime, Memoir
Contents: Born in 1923, Alex C. Maclean enjoyed a tough but happy childhood with his mother on the island of Tiree, doing their best to eke out a living. At the age of fourteen he left home for good, travelling alone to Glasgow to take up a position as cabin-boy on a merchant ship.
After two years on colliers in British coastal waters Alex found himself embroiled in the Second World War, sailing ‘deep-sea’ across the Atlantic on fuel-laden tankers. Searingly honest, this is a rare first-hand account of the dangers and horrors of the wartime Atlantic convoys: of being stalked by German U-boats, of being shipwrecked and cast adrift in a lifeboat, of seeing at first hand the destruction and devastation of war. It also tells of the difficulties Alex, in common with many thousands of others, faced in the post-war period, in his attempts to build a decent life for himself and his family, and to come to terms with his own history back on the island of Tiree.
About the author: Alex C. Maclean was born in Tiree in 1923, and lived there with his mother until the age of fourteen, when he went to sea. Alex served with the Merchant Navy for nine years, sailing with the Atlantic convoys during the war. After the war he married and raised a family in Glasgow.
Foreword by Donald S. Murray.
Front cover image © Southend Museums Service