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Naval novel raises funds for war heroes

PUBLISHED: 15:13 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:42 07 July 2010

A sailing fan has launched a naval novel that is raising funds for wounded war heroes.

Some of the minesweeping action in Jim Crossley's debut thriller is based in and around a harbour in north Norfolk where he has fun in a dinghy.

A sailing fan has launched a naval novel that is raising funds for wounded war heroes.

Some of the minesweeping action in Jim Crossley's debut thriller is based in and around a harbour in north Norfolk where he has fun in a dinghy.

But Something Wrong With Our Ships also calls on his knowledge of naval history, which is also rooted in family connections with the nation's fleet from nearly a century ago.

The 71-year-old from Wiveton said he had always been fascinated by the first world war at sea, because his father Sir Julian Crossley served on the dreadnought battleship HMS Resolution as young deck officer.

His novel centres on a dilemma of Max von Pilzen - born to a German father and English mother, initially raised in a Prussian royal castle then switched to his grandparents dreary home in England where he joined the Royal Navy.

There he is snubbed, and, when called into action commanding a force of civilian fishermen helping with the minesweeping effort, is faced with the question of whose side he is really on.

“The idea had been gnawing inside me for a while, triggered by one of the British battleships at Jutland where one of the three survivors from its sinking was a German,” explained Mr Crossley, an engineer who was managing director of the FMC pea harvester company at Fakenham for 10 years.

His passion for sailing has also seen him involved as director of the Norfolk Boat charity which gives sail training experience to local youngsters. Mr Crossley is also a former member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club who still helps crew larger vessels off Ireland, Scotland and the Canaries.

Some of his more local sailing experience comes into play when describing how the minesweeper crew tackles a tricky entry into Wells with a damaged boat.

Mr Crossley, who is also currently writing a technical book about early British destroyers to be published this spring, has self-published the novel and is giving any profits to the Help for Heroes charity that helps servicemen wounded in modern day conflicts.

The book, which takes it title from a remark made by Admiral Beatty while watching a British battle cruiser explode in the 1916 Battle of Jutland, is available for £10 through the website www.fjcbooks.com or at Holt Bookshop, the Big Blue Sky at Wells and Waterstones at King's Lynn.


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