U Boat Alley Roy Stokes
Primary research on aspects of the First World war at sea in Irish waters is exceedingly rare. Roy’s first venture in the topic was his book on sinking of the Leinster (Death in the Irish Sea, Collins 1998). This latest book builds on the more general submarine situation in the Irish sea in the later part of the war. The Germans made an all out assault in the restricted sea lanes between Scotland and Wexford in 1917-1918. The importance of the Irish Sea traffic in transporting food, men and materials from Ireland to England has been understated. There is no folklore or folk memory of this epic battle and Roy has explored a completely new area of historical research by this significant work.
U Boat alley describes the ambiguous role of the lighthouse service resulting in the sinking of the Arklow light vessel. The loss of the Guinness owned Barkley is described in detail using memoirs from the Guinness archive. There are detailed accounts of the losses of several ships. A particularly unusual source of high grade research in Post office archives revealed a hitherto unknown secret cable laid out to Tuskar lighthouse for surveillance work.
Unlike several histories of the period he has not relied on contemporary newspapers but has trawled the original reports recently released into the public records even exploring the German and some Brazilian records with the help of translators. A complete list of sources is described as well as an up to date bibliography. Abundantly illustrated the publication is a credit to the publisher. The series of maps are particularly helpful in understanding the overall situation. There is extensive information on the extent and role of censorship as applied to Irish newspapers during the First World War. Altogether the amount of novel information in U boat Alley is a significant addition to eth naval history of the First World War.
Supported by the Heritage council, Published by Compuwreck and printed at the Central remedial clinic Clontarf. Dublin 2004, ISBN 09549186 0 6