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The Ambush of SS Persia: Voices from a Lost Liner

By Alan Wren

Alan Wren's 'The Ambush of the SS Persia' is impeccably researched, well-written and richly sprinkled with noteworthy insights - fascinating, highly informative, and a pleasurable read.

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Nicholas C Jellicoe - 'Jutland - The Unfinished Battle' Passengers boarding P&O liner SS Persia on 18th December 1915 may have wondered 'Why am I doing this?' The sinking of RMS Lusitania by U20 had undermined the Cruiser Rules that previously protected passenger ships. Sea-travel had become more dangerous. So, why embark one week before Christmas, fully aware of the U-boat danger? Was it for love or duty? Love? Posts in India meant extended periods alone; month-old mail, outdated news, missed celebrations and embraces - absence from loved ones. SS Persia could span this divide. Duty? Engineers, miners, railway builders, jute merchants, clergy, missionaries, nuns, doctors, lawyers, a few healed soldiers, and the ship's crew. Both love and duty beckoned across perilous seas. Elsewhere, Max Valentiner and U-38 departed the rocky port of Bardia, Libya, after unloading guns and money to support overland attacks on the Suez Canal. Valentiner had detested the use of his U-boat as a freighter, but now sailed to rearm with torpedoes and shells, stores of diesel, water, and food, at last free to resume his hunt for enemy ships.

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