The Autobiography of an R.A.N. Officer - 1934-1951
by W.H. ("John") Ross
ISBN 0 85905 203 6, (1994 new), Soft Cover, 140mm x 215mm, 288pp, illustrated, 400grams
$30.00 + POST
Lucky Ross covers the period from 1934 to 1951 and details the author's varied and unusual experiences as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy during that time.
W.H. Ross describes life in the Australian Squadron during the pre-War years, the four month voyage of the cruiser Australia to Britain late in 1934 with HRH the Duke of Gloucester aboard, the author's story of the cruiser Sydney (previously published during WWII as Stormy Petrel now revised and updated), the sinking of the Canberra during the Solomons' Campaign in 1942 and post war experiences in Darwin and Manus Island.
As appendices it has a précis of the Sydney/Kormoran action and the author's view of some aspects of that tragic events, the complete Sydney and Canberra casualty lists and a glossary of some naval slang of the period.
This book is a first hand account of some of the R.A.N.'s most interesting history, written with accuracy and a good eye for detail by one who had the good luck to be in the right place at the right time.
In 1934, at the age of 18 years 'John' Ross was one of two lads selected for entry into the Royal Australian Navy as a Cadet Midshipman in the Supply and Secretariat Department. He served until 1951 when he resigned his commission. During 1934/35 he served in the Australia in local waters, in Britain and in the Mediterranean. He was one of the Sydney's commissioning crew in September 1935, remaining with her for more than six years before being transferred to the Canberra just 19 days before the Sydney was lost with all hands. He was with the Canberra when she was sunk nine months later. In 1943, while serving ashore he wrote Stormy Petrel, the Sydney's life story.
With some justification he considers himself the luckiest man to have survived World War II, have escaped certain death twice by timely strokes of good fortune.