Hell or high water : New Zealand merchant seafarers remember the war / edited by Neill Atkinson ; foreward by the Right Hon. Helen Clark. - Auckland [N.Z.] : HarperCollins in association with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage , 2005. - 268 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm. - Oral history (Auckland, N.Z.) . - Oral history (Auckland, N.Z.) .

During WW2 thousands of New Zealanders served in NZ, British and other Allied merchant marines. Many braved the deadly German U-Boat threat during the Battle of the Atlantic - the longest campaign of the war - and sailed in perilous convoys to Arctic Russia, Malta and other high risk routes. Others manned transport and hospital ships and took part in the Allied landings in North Africa, Italy and Normandy. According to official statistics 105 Kiwi merchant seafarers were killed, with 128 taken prisoner, five of whom died in Japanese captivity, although these figures are artificially low, with many others listed as general British losses. While these figures are small in comparison to other services, no other civilian group faced such constant risk and the vital contribution of this 'fourth' service has never before received the recognition it deserves. Following the established quality format of the HCNZ oral history project, this book will include material from individuals who survived air and submarine attacks, sometimes enduring days adrift in open lifeboats, a seaman awarded the George Cross during the 1942 pedestal convoy to relieve Malta and another who spent three years in Changi prison, amongst many other stirring and poignant accounts of life at war. Includes index.

Introduction : New Zealand merchant seafarers at war, 1939-45 / Neill Atkinson -- Further reading -- You knew you were on the bull's eye / Lionel Hodgson -- The old Aquitania / John Montgomery -- Caught by the Japanese / Bill Hall -- Five hundred ships / Pat O'Shea -- The Santa Marija convoy / John Gregson -- Four days of hell / Les Watson -- It seemed like an eternity / Darcy Hoffman -- I don't like the look of tonight / Allan Wyllie -- Loch Ewe to Murmansk / Dan Bashall -- It was a most astounding thing / Dewi Browne -- We had to feed the troops / Cliff Turner -- I put my age up / Lou Barron -- A pierhead jump / Thor Larsen -- Up the Red Sea / Steve Carey -- Real true adventures / Jim Blundell. Includes index.

1869505190 (pbk.)

World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, New Zealand.
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations.
Merchant mariners--History.--New Zealand
Seafaring life--History.--New Zealand
Merchant marine.
World War, 1939-1945--Merchant marine.--Naval operations
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, New Zealand.