The Destruction of Convoy PQ 17

14th April 2010, 09:46
I found a free .pdf download of David Irving's book The Destruction of Convoy PQ 17 here ( It's a fantastic read.

Hugh Ferguson
14th April 2010, 12:48
That book, the author's first, had tremendous repercussions ending up with the Senior Officer Escorting, Commander Jack Broome, H.M.S.Keppel, sueing Irving for defamation of character; having made it, allegedly, appear in the book that Broome had, by abandoning the convoy to its fate, failed in his duty.
(I can't remember what the outcome was; does anyone know?)

Interestingly, Irving was once accused of being a "Holocaust" denier

14th April 2010, 13:02
The Destruction of Convoy PQ-17, in which he blamed the British escort group commander, Commander Jack Broome ( for the catastrophic losses of the Convoy PQ-17 ( Amid much publicity, Broome sued Irving for libel in October 1968, and in February 1970, after 17 days of deliberation before London's High Court, Broome won. Irving was forced to pay 40,000 in damages, and the book was withdrawn from circulation.

K urgess
14th April 2010, 13:25
Read -
"Convoy is to Scatter - The Story of PQ17" by Captain Jack Broome.
Futura paperback ISBN 0 8600 7053 0

14th April 2010, 18:18
The book I downloaded is the 2009 edition. As far as I know he hasn't been sued over it ...yet.

14th April 2010, 18:29
Interestingly it's still possible to download the 1968 edition. When I have time I'll compare the two.

14th April 2010, 23:06
I have no view of this book but think it would be as well to point out that the author is David John Caldwell Irving and not David Irving the infamous holocaust denier and Nazi apologist.

15th April 2010, 08:42
Surely they are one and the same? See Wiki biography.

15th April 2010, 13:26
Yes it is THE David Irving.

It would be wise to read some of his stuff before rushing to judgement. He never denied that X million Jewish people (and others)were murdered by the Nazis. It was the manner of their demise that was in question...and still is.

Below is some what was said about the PQ17 book at the time. In view of who the commentators were it might be wise not to dismiss Irvings work out of hand.

“David Irving specialises in the blunders of war. He also knows how to appraise the unassuming heroism of the ordinary man. From both points of view, his present book on the destruction of convoy PQ. is even better than the one which made his name on the bombing of Dresden. It is a melancholy story, with many separate strands leading to disaster.”
A. J. P. Taylor, The Observer

“David Irving is the forensic pathologist of modern military history. He dissects, analyses and describes with an unflinching, unsqueamish surgical skill. His knife exposes the tumours, the cancers and horrors of war. The reader becomes a spectator in an operating theatre. Coolly detached himself, Mr. Irving spares him nothing.”
The Economist

“One of the finest histories of a convoy operation ever written.”
Vice-Admiral Sir Norman Denning,
Director of Naval Intelligence

Andrew Craig-Bennett
15th April 2010, 13:32
Conceivably Irving needs some dosh and Broome, whom he libelled, is dead, and cannot sue him again.

15th April 2010, 14:54
There is another famous book on PQ17 written by Godfrey Winn.

Hugh Ferguson
15th April 2010, 20:40
I have the original edition of Irving's, The Destruction of PQ17: I did not know that it had been banned as a result of his losing the defamation court case. I must read it again to try and find out how it came to that sorry conclusion.
Godfrey Winn was in H.M.S. Pozarica (an anti-aircraft sloop), a graphic account but I much prefer Irving's.
The attachment is taken from Godfey Winn's book and shows the shell-case strewn deck after a lot of action.

15th April 2010, 20:49
Irving has posted an account of The PQ.17 Libel Case here. (

Hugh Ferguson
15th April 2010, 22:21
Many thanks, NoR, for that link: fascinating!

15th April 2010, 23:57
Apologies for my mistake and thanks for pointing it out Lancastrian!

It is indeed the old Nazi fan after all.

Hugh Ferguson
17th April 2010, 12:13
Since reading this thread it occurred to me to have have another run through the superb documentary Channel 4 did on the epic Pedestal Convoy. I had recalled that one of the destroyers escorting that convoy had also been on PQ17.

So it had, she was H.M.S.Ledbury under the command of Roger Hill. He was interviewed for the film and amonst his several comments was his account of rescueing survivors from the Shaw Savill, Waimarama, and how he felt that his action, taking his destroyer into the flames and saving the lives of several of her crew, redeemed him from the disgrace (his very words) of leaving the PQ17 merchant ships to their fate.

He said that the abandonment of those ships by the escorting destroyers had haunted him all of his life and he had sworn that he would never again be a party to such an action: to use his words again, "to hell with any orders" to so do!!

Not much doubt about how he felt about it-feelings, apparently, not shared by Captain Broome. I think it was a pity David Irving lost the libel case, there should never have been one.

Incidentally, the Pedestal Convoy documentary is a truly superb record of that historic event (containing German and Italian footage). Are there any means by which it could be transferred into an SN video??

17th April 2010, 20:50

How can I get hold of the Pedestel Convoy video?

Roger Hill wrote a great book called 'Destroyer Captain' about his experiences in command of destroyers during WW2.

Hugh Ferguson
17th April 2010, 21:28

How can I get hold of the Pedestel Convoy video?

Roger Hill wrote a great book called 'Destroyer Captain' about his experiences in command of destroyers during WW2.

I still have the video of Pedestal Convoy that I taped off of Channel 4 some 15, or so, years ago. It was only about a year ago that a film producer, desperate to get hold of a copy, joined SN in the hope that somebody may point him in the right direction.
He was lucky-by doing a search-to find a mention I had made about it on some thread or other. As I had only one copy at the time I was somewhat reluctant to let it go to a complete stranger. However, I could not resist his offer to get it transferred onto DVD. He was as good as his word and duly returned the tape and two DVD copies by registered post!! (Yet another proof of what a wonderful site SN is.).
I don't know you,NoR, either, but if you would send me a PM with some details I'll see what can be done.

I too have Roger Hill's book and also a copy of his obituary (he died in New Zealand not so long ago). In the book he made mention of the ward-room piano. I managed to trace the origins of that piano: it was given to the destroyer by one of the two Lesleys (Leslie Sarony and Leslie Holmes, entertainers) The latter had bought it for his son in the hope that he may follow in his father's foot-steps, but as he, the son, was not inclined to learn to play the piano, daddy gave it away to the destroyer. Sonny boy did not know-until I told him-that H.M.S.Ledbury survived the war and was eventually broken up: what became of the piano, the record is silent.

17th April 2010, 21:50
I have a copy of the Pedestal Convoy documentary on tape, together with many others including an excellent one about the loss of HMS Glorious and her escorts with some interesting revelations, recorded over more than 20 years, although some tapes have probably deteriorated by now. I no longer have a working video recorder, but neither do I know how or where to get them copied on to DVD's. I believe that I may also have a taped copy of a programme about PQ17 or one in which mention and some footage of it is covered - but ................ without the technology I am rather stuck and I am loathe to part with them.

Hugh Ferguson
18th April 2010, 12:35
I have, just this last year, had a fifty year old 8mm home movie film, and a video taped documentary recorded onto DVD. Both were done by people who simply wished to view the film and the video for their own purposes. I'm delighted with the results and would advise anyone with similar material to find a technician and get it transferred into DVD format as soon as possible.

18th April 2010, 14:11
I wouldnt know about 8mm but transferring tapes from a VCR to a DVD recorder is simple enough.

18th April 2010, 15:10
One of the merchant marine veterans I know on the SS JOHN W BROWN was in PQ-17... "Blackie" Blockston... the first time I sat down and listened to his story.. I was stunned... here's a link to his profile on the Project Liberty Ship site -

Hugh Ferguson
21st April 2010, 20:23
I wouldnt know about 8mm but transferring tapes from a VCR to a DVD recorder is simple enough.

Nothing simple about it for me-how IS it done?

K urgess
21st April 2010, 20:49
Relatively simple, Hugh.
Some sort of USB video capture device. I use EasyCAP (Google will find it) which was not too expensive.
A VCR that gives a direct video and sound feed output either via scart or phono plug.
A few cables/adaptors.
I have a lot of expensive and complicated video capture and editing software that doesn't work unless you've got a lot of memory and can shut everything down except the relevent software.
I've started using Microsoft Movie Maker (Google again) which works extremely well.
Mostly self-explanatory when you have all the bits to hand. (Thumb)


21st April 2010, 21:43
If anyone wants help I can transfer material from a standard video cassette to DVD. As long as it is shipping related of course. If you are interested contact me by PM.

22nd April 2010, 08:06
Courtesy of Hugh I've got the Pedestal Convoy program in mp4 format. It's 750ish megabytes. Send me a big enough blank disc and a stamped addressed return envelope and I'll copy it.

Hugh Ferguson
24th April 2010, 09:22
Many takers?

24th April 2010, 09:26
One so far. I guess one could email it, but it's big file.

24th April 2010, 15:16
I was the taker Hugh and will be sending NoR a disk etc. when I get home!

Emailing wouldn't work for anything much larger than about 3Mb as most email systems have an in-built limit and reject anything larger. Even my company system which is quite generous would baulk at a CD-full of stuff.