In the evening dusk of August 22, 1944, during an intense battle off the Norwegian coast, the HMS Nabob, one of the two Canadian-crewed aircraft carriers in the Second World War was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side. Among the souls on board was Dr. Charles Read Jr., a young flight surgeon who needed to draw upon every bit of his training and skills to fight against seemingly impossible odds to save the lives of his shipmates. These are his memoires.
Follow Dr. Read from his first, fresh-faced moments in Halifax as a newly minted Navy Medical Officer to a surprise appointment to be the flight surgeon on the much-lauded Nabob, the aircraft carrier thought of as the sign that Canada’s navy had arrived in the big leagues of world sea power. In vivid detail, Read recounts his training (including a hair-raising ride in a fighter jet), his friendships (from Chizy, the affable wine steward, to the legendary fighter pilot Bobby Bradshaw), to his wonder at the beauty of Europe (even in the midst of wartime destruction) to his memorable encounters with those he met along the way (including two beautiful movie stars).
Read presents war as he saw it, the gut-wrenching carnage, the endless monotony, the baffling absurdity, and, shamefully, the inevitable tragedies that happen under incompetent command.
These memoires present an exciting and never-before-seen view into a ship that has, until this book, been little more than a footnote in history.
Dr. Charles Herbert Read Jr. (1918–2016) began his medical career in the Royal Canadian Navy. After his discharge, he practiced medicine throughout the U.S. and Canada. These memoires, published posthumously, are his second book.