Boekverslag: Zr. Ms. Ulysses
Titel of auteur
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Zr. Ms. Ulysses
Voor scholieren, door scholieren
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Vice-Admiral Starr sat behind his desk and talked to the four men in his office. He had flown from London this morning. The four men were Rear-Admiral Tyndall (better known as Farmer Giles), Captain Vallery, Surgeon-Commander Brooks (Old Socrates) and Commander Turner. He talked about the mutiny of the ship?s crew yesterday which was set up by stoker Riley, a real troublemaker. The four men listened quietly to Starr but Brooks didn?t agree and started to insulate him. He wanted to leave Brooks at home for the next mission but Vallery insisted on Starr to let him go along, because he was indispensable.
The next mission of the H.M.S. Ulysses was Convoy FR77 to Murmansk. They had to sail at 6.00 from Scapa Flow and meet the convoy from Halifax at Wednesday 10.30. In total it were 32 ships.
They sailed away at 6.00. They were accompanied by the 14th Aircraft Carrier Squadron. The Ulysses had been on the Arctic Patrols and the Russian Convoys all its life. She was extremely fast and was equipped with one of the world?s best radars.
The whole squadron steamed NNW all day long. The wind was blowing Force 8 (on the Beaufort scale) from the NNW and the mercury was creeping down and everywhere was snow and ice. At 17.30 the Captain broadcast to the crew. The crew consisted of 730 men. After Vallery had spoken, there was silence, terrible silence.
Soon after the broadcast, radar reported a contact, closing. It was an enemy plane, but it just, like always, reported the position of the convoy to its base. That night they had been disturbed by enemy U-boats six times. At 8.00 the Invader was making water. Tyndall thought it was torpedoed by a U-boat but the ?Kapok Kid? (Pilot Carpenter) said that couldn?t have happened and he was right; it was a mine. Tyndall sent the Invader back to the base, escorted by the Baliol and the Nairn.
The wind was now blowing Force 9 and later even Force 10. It was a really bad storm. They discovered that there was something wrong with the aerial. Ralston, the LTO (Leading Torpedo Officer), volunteered to fix it. But Sub-Lieutenant Carslake, who didn?t like Ralston at all, turned the power on too early and Ralston was almost killed. Ralston hit Carslake and Ralston was put in cells by MAA (Master-At-Arms) Hastings. Tyndall ordered radio silence and at 20.30 the Ulysses and the Sirrus left the squadron and went ahead to the meeting point with the convoy from Halifax. At 21.00 they moved out into the Denmark Strait.
It was the worst storm of the war. The Ulysses rolled over 45? arc. If it wasn?t for ?the Dude? (Engineer-Commander Dodson) the Ulysses had been dead. But they survived and at 10.30 they rendezvoused with the Halifax convoy.
The 14th ACS was now only two miles away. Tyndall saw there were two ships missing. The Wrestler was hurt bad through the storm and the minesweeper Eager was with it. Tyndall sent them back to ?Scapa?. At 7.02 the Blue Ranger was torpedoed by a U-boat.
All eyes on the bridge were focussed at the sea now. Suddenly the eighteen-year-old Chrysler gave a warning. He saw two flashes on the sea, but the radar didn?t spot anything. Everybody was looking to the spot now. Nobody saw anything. Chrysler said he saw it again. Tyndall believed him and Bentley rang the alarm. It was a U-boat. A lot of ships were struck by torpedoes; the Stirling, Vectra, Viking and some merchantships. The convoy now consists of seventeen ships of which three had been damaged.
Tyndall just went outside when they were fired at. Radar spotted no enemy. The only solution they could think of was that the enemy also had a radar at least as good as theirs. But that, they thought, was impossible. They went after the enemy with the Stirling, the Viking and the Sirrus at their side. They had been hit aft. The After Control Tower was gone. Tyndall was wounded. Davies saved Tyndall?s life from the falling mast, but Davies was dead. The Vectra signalled they picked up three contacts. The Ulysses was going to help her.
Brooks assistant, lieutenant Nicholls was ordered to join Captain Vallery. He wanted to make a tour of the ship.
Nicholls thought he would kill himself because he knew Vallery was terribly sick. Together with Chief Petty Officer Hartley they started. Vallery talked to all his man and gave them their courage and faith back. Petersen, a big silent always smiling stoker, helped Vallery with walking. Vallery was becoming weaker and weaker and he needed Petersen more and more.
They arrived at the bridge. They saw the tanker Vytura. She had a big hole in its side and it was on fire. It was endangering the entire convoy now. It had to be torpedoed. Ralston get the order to do it. He refused but he did it anyway. The ship sunk and his father, Captain Ralston with it.
There were 14 ships, left in all now. They got a message from the Vectra that she was going to investigate a radar signal and then they heard an explosion. The Electra was torpedoed and the Sirrus wanted to go alongside. The Vectra was depth charging the U-boat. It came above water but it went under again. But then it came up and stayed up. All men died. Tyndall died too at 12.00.
The Sirrus signalled to The Ulysses that they had 25-30 injured men aboard and badly needed a doctor. Surgeon-lieutenant Nicholls was the ?lucky one?. Suddenly Chrysler heard something. Ten planes he said, but nobody else heard it. Then the rest of the men heard it too. Chrysler was right again. It were Condors. In the beginning the Ulysses was lucky, but their luck ran out later. She was hit by several bombs and a Condor crashed at the deck.
There was something wrong with the engine Dodson was going to fix it, so they had to slow down. Then suddenly they were attacked by Condors. Everybody was very surprised One ship was gone now and a second one slewing wildly and a third heavily damaged but still under command. All the Condors survived. They got a message from London. Captain Vallery was promoted to Rear-Admiral Vallery, now Tyndall was dead. A Condor was tailing them all the time. It become dark and the Condor released a flare He released a second one but higher now. There came another fifteen planes now. They bombed only two ships; the Stirling and the Ulysses. Vallery was hurt.
The Kapok Kid wanted to telephone Brooks but then he saw that their last defence against U-boats was dead. They got a message from London again. The Tirpitz, the most feared battleship was coming after them.
A stoker ran to the bridge with the message that the Transmitting Station was flooding with oil, and that the hatch-cover was jammed. The men inside were trapped. Stoker Petersen opened the hatch on his own and helped the men out. But now the hatch had to be shut for the rising oil. It didn?t work so Petersen jumped in the oil and closed the hatch from inside Captain Vallery died this same afternoon.
The Sirrus asked for a doctor another time, so it was time for Nicholls to change ship. The Kapok Kid asked Nicholls for, as he was dead, Nicholls should visit his girl. At 4.45 there came twelve Heinkel 111s. At 5.45 they had been attacked again and at 7.00 and just before dawn again.
The Stirling died at dawn. She was badly hurt by the last attacks. A Hipper cruiser was attacking now. The Ulysses was out of ammo and was going to ram her, to save the convoy.
Nicholls was wanted in London by Starr, He was accompanied by two Admirals. Nicholls told the story. He was given a leave so Nicholls went to Henley to see the Kapok Kid?s girl.
The title H.M.S. Ulysses is the name of the ship of what the book is about, so that?s why the author has chosen this title.
The story is built about the life on a warship on the Arctic seas in wartime. The aim of the book is entertainment and excitement.
The last day is in my opinion the climax, because that?s the moment that all the men on the ship died and that?s the most exciting moment. It was a very surprising end, because all the time they had been lucky and now the ship sunk and they all died. The writer doesn?t use many flashbacks, dreams, etc.
The most important characters are Captain Vallery, Rear-Admiral Tyndall, Surgeon-Commander Brooks, Surgeon-Lieutenant Nicholls, Pilot Carpenter and Commander Turner. They are all colleagues of each other. Rear-Admiral Tyndall is the Fleet-Commander. He?s got a lot of responsibility and has to take very hard decisions. He became very depressive of his job and he even died of the stress. Captain Vallery is very important at the Ulysses. Everybody on the ship loves him, but he?s very ill. When Tyndall died, he?s the most important men on the fleet. He died a day before the Ulysses sank. Pilot Carpenter is a men with an excellent sense of direction. He always knows where he is and what the Captain wants before the Captain asks him. After the Captain died he and Commander Turner are the most important men on the ship. Turner is a man with a lot of experience. When the rest of the crew feels worse and worse he becomes more and more important. Brooks is an old wise doctor He is called ?Old Socrates? because of his wisdom. He uses a lot of the oldest medicine; Whisky. Nicholls is someone who does the dirty work. He leads the rescue operations, like fire-patrol and the burial-parties on the ship. At the end he goes on the Sirrus to help over there and sees the Ulysses sink. We got to know these persons, because the writer tells us who they are, when they first play in the story.
The story plays on the Russian Convoys in the Second World War. The Russian Convoys are from Scapa Flow, Great Britain to Murmansk, Russia. This background is very important, because of the intense cold in that area and that?s a factor that returns a lot in the book.
The tone is serious, because the writer tells about their jobs and their adventures. It?s just a story that?s totally fiction, it involves no criticism.
8 Narrative technique
Some of the characters tell the story and sometimes the narrator (involved in the story) too. The story is mainly told by Vallery, Tyndall, Nicholls, Brooks, Carpenter and Turner but other characters like Petersen, Dodson, etc. tell the story too.
The book belongs to the genre adventure, because the book is about a ship?s crew that live a lot of adventures and the book is a bit overfictioned, there are too much things that happen on a trip of one week.
The book was very exciting and well written, but it was a bit hard to understand for someone who isn?t English, because he used too much abbreviations and English marine terms. The book was also a bit too long for someone who hasn?t read a lot of English literature, but if I had to give a note for it, it would be an 8-.
I?ve chosen this part of the book, because they had survived everything for a week long, U-boats, planes, ships and then you had of course the cold, the ice, the storm. The crew was up day and night, they hardly slept three hours a day and when they slept, they slept in hammocks in the ship in a storm. Now they were almost at the end of the trip, but there was no ammo left anymore and they were chased by a cruiser, so there was only one option to save the convoy with tanks, explosives and oil for Russia; to ram that cruiser and die for your country.
MacLean was de zoon van een predikant, en leerde Engels als tweede taal naast zijn moedertaal Schots-Gallisch. Hij werd geboren in Glasgow maar bracht zijn jeugd grotendeels door in Daviot, in de buurt van Inverness.
- Zr. Ms. Ulysses
- Alistair Stuart MacLean
- Meer boeken van:Ian Stuart