This is the first biography of Captain Robert Ryder V.C., Royal Navy (1908-1986), one of the greatest naval heroes of the Second World War. Ryder led the audacious raid on St Nazaire in March 1942 which completely destroyed the ports dry dock, depriving the Germans mighty pocket battleships of its use for the remainder of the war. The raid was one of the most brilliantly-executed combined operations of the war, much of the credit for which must go to Ryders outstanding planning and courageous leadership. He received one of five Victoria Crosses awarded for the operation.Although Ryders name will be forever linked with the raid on St Nazaire, the rest of his war service was no less distinguished. Torpedoed in a Q ship in 1940 he was rescued after clinging to a piece of wreckage for four days. After St Nazaire, he was heavily involved in the planning of combined operations and took part in the ill-fated raid on Dieppe. On D Day he lead a naval assault party in the first wave of the invasion. For the rest of the war Ryder commanded a destroyer on the Arctic convoys.Ryders naval career before the war was, as The Times put it on his death, unorthodox. In 1933-34 he, as captain, and four other young naval officers sailed the Tal-Mo-Shan, a 54 food ketch, from Hong Kong to England via the Panama Canal in a voyage lasting exactly a year, an outstanding achievement. Recently there has been press speculation that the voyage was a cover for naval espionage in Japanese waters. The Tal-Mo-Shan herself has now acquired international celebrity as a result of her sail-on part in the Abba film Mamma Mia. Between 1934 and 1937 Ryder served in the Antarctic as captain of the Penola, the base ship of the British Graham Lane Expedition. His formidable navigation and seamanship was largely responsible for the Penola, which was ill-adapted to polar conditions, surviving her ordeal intact. Ryder also took part in some of the earliest ocean yacht races, including the second Fastnet race in 1926.
Did You Know? There are over 400 shipwrecks in Cork Harbour, ranging from seventeenth-century galleons to twentieth-century submarines. The first confirmed sighting of the Antarctic continent was by a master mariner from Cork, Edward Bransfield. The oldest yacht club in the world, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, was established in 1720. Spike Island, Fort Davis and Camden Fort Meagher are internationally recognised as being three of the finest remaining examples of classical coastal artillery forts in the world. Cork Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world. It is a historical wonder, surrounded by villages, forts, towers and churches, all of which combine to tell the colourful story of Ireland?s largest county. A reliable reference book and a quirky guide, this book by author and historian Kieran McCarthy can be dipped into time and again to uncover new landmarks, people and stories from this stunning part of the world.