The Sunday Times, London
London, October 6, 1968
I WOULD NOT have suggested in my book "The Destruction of Convoy PQ 17" (reviewed, September 15) that the escort commander [Captain Jack Broome] had disobeyed orders given him at one stage, had he not admitted precisely that ("disobedience") in his report to the authorities. But I also reproduced without comment his justification for having so acted. Equally, my description of the officer as a "broken man" afterwards was not my own subjective assessment, but a quotation from the Chief Petty Officer closest to him.
If your reviewer gathered the impression that I fastened on to every shortcoming in the merchant vessels' crews, I can only say I must have failed in my purpose. This was a more than usually disastrous operation, in which tragedy was very frequent: it could not have been depicted otherwise. I would like to emphasise the pride with which I narrated every one of the acts of individual heroism, particularly in the Merchant Navy. The background of tragedy and error, however regretted by the officers concerned, highlights this heroism.
© Focal Point 1998 write to David Irving