Being endorsed by royalty is a good start for any author. HRH Princess Anne has done just that with this wonderful book which tells a tale of human endeavor which is rarely seen today.
Captain Tom Woodfield made 20 seasonal voyages to the Antarctic on three research ships between 1955 and 1974 and he played a major role in the slow change of using under-powered and poorly-equipped ships to the professionally-managed and sophisticated vessels he commanded on his last voyage.
Starting out as a junior deck officer, he worked for The Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and his life’s work was packed with danger, excitement and incredible achievements.
The book tells dramatic tales, such as the near loss of a ship in pack ice, the stranding of another in hurricane force winds and the collapse of an ice-cliff onto the vessel.
Over the years, Woodfield rose through the ranks and at just 25 he transferred to the RRS John Biscoe as Chief Officer and then became the commander of the RRS Bransfield, where he recounts her maiden voyage, when it was feared she would split into two.
The battle saw a horrendous storm at the end and this is also described in the book, along with his last sentimental journey to The Falklands.
Polar Mariner, Beyond the Limits in Antarctica by Captain Tom Woodfield, £18.99, published by www.whittlespublishing.com