The Battle of Jutland, Through a Looking-glass

The Mariner’s Mirror, October 2019

The German High Seas Fleet’s sorties in strength after the battle of Jutland were few and inconclusive, but as a ‘fleet in being’ it remained a powerful threat. Britain’s Admiralty, alive to the tactical issues thrown up by Jutland’s titanic clash, was anxious to learn what had gone wrong. Luckily for the British, German veterans of the battle were progressively posted to U-boats and other units. As they were sunk their survivors began to find their way into the hands of Intelligence Division’s interrogators and yield a view from the other side of the mirror. This article identifies the interrogators and their subjects. It examines the quality of their evidence and provides additional insights into the action in the First and Second Scouting Groups and the Third, First and Second Battle Squadrons.

Making Them Talk

Britain at War, August 2021

To glean as much intelligence from captured U-boat crews as possible, the Royal Navy’s interrogators employed almost every trick in the book – and added new techniques themselves. This lavishly illustrated article probes their methods.

“For you the war is over” … Or is it?

Warship World, September/October 2021

An overview of the development of prisoner interrogation as an element of naval intelligence, based on Castaways in Question and incorporating some later research.

Italian and German Submarine Passage of the Straits of Gibraltar in the Second World War

The Mariner’s Mirror, May 2023

Sixty-two German U-boats made the perilous passage into the Mediterranean during the Second World War, nine were sunk trying to pass the Straits of Gibraltar and another ten were forced to abandon the attempt.1 None of the successful boats ever left, either being destroyed by the Allies or scuttled by their crews. By contrast the 32 Italian submarines of the Betasom flotilla operating from Bordeaux ran the Straits routinely, if not easily. What was the difference?

Hugh de Cressingham


Treasurer of Scotland during the brief English rule of 1295-6, Hugh de Cressingham was, perhaps fittingly, killed at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Fittingly because he had done more than anyone else to lose the battle for the English.

Who was he, how did he rise to a position of such influence, and what does his career tell us about the developing professionalism of medieval English administration? This article explores his life before the fatal flash of fame that brought him to the modern scholars’ and film makers’ attention.