Michael Bray, 1993. One Young Man’s War. Square One Publications.
Bray’s memoirs cover his service in the Royal Navy, beginning as a rating on destroyers and then, after his commission, in Coastal Forces. Initially on ML 145 he then served on a number of Motor Gun Boats: MGB 90, MGB 9, MGB 42, MGB 10, MGB 113 and MGB 121. Interestingly he served under Corny Burke, who went on to be Leonard Reynolds’s CO in Motor Gunboat 658 (in fact Reynolds dedicated his book to him). In 1943 he rejoined destroyers and ended the war in the Pacific.
Bray’s memoirs are fairly short and factual and without the detail or colouring that makes other accounts, such as Motor Gunboat 658 or Night Action so engrossing. But it is important that veterans recount their memories of the war in whatever way they see fit. It would be churlish to say that Bray should not have put pen to paper to give us the benefit of his experiences, simply because he is not a professional storyteller. These memoirs are equally as important as other accounts and no veteran should ever be discouraged from giving us the opportunity to learn more about the war.
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