Voices From The Deep, The Undertow Press, £25 + P&P
£20 if ordered before the end of February 2018 (includes P&P); £25 to USA/ROW
Contact Sean Kingsley directly or orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheques to: Maritime Heritage Foundation, Suite 7, 46 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1DA
The Battle of the Atlantic was raging when the SS Gairsoppa, a British India steamer, left Calcutta in December 1940 carrying goods for London desperately needed for the war effort. Alongside was a secret cargo of three million ounces of silver. Three days from home a German submarine struck. The Gairsoppa sank fast southwest of Ireland. After 70 years her remains were discovered 4,700 metres beneath the waves.
From deep in the hold 700 letters were recovered. The largest collection of lost mail from any shipwreck worldwide gives voice to the daily lives, fears and dreams of British soldiers, officers’ wives, businessmen and missionaries writing home to loved ones in England, Scotland and America as Christmas 1940 approached. Their words are a remarkable echo of World War II India and Britain from the frontline to the fireplace.
Voices From The Deep tells the story of British India, the Gairsoppa and the convoy war using the wreck’s wide-ranging finds. The cargo included tea and iron, while the small finds – tea and coffee pots, beer, medicine and liquor bottles, cups, coins, shoes and newspapers – are a vivid snapshot of life at sea for Britain’s merchant marine.