Gunboat Command: The Biography of Lieutenant Commander Robert Hichens Dso* Dsc** Rnvr (Paperback)
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This biography draws heavily on the personal diaries of the subject, Robert Hichens (or Hitch as he was universally known).
After a brief description of his early life, time at Oxford, his motor racing achievements (including trophies at Le Mans in his Aston Martin) and RN training, the book focuses on his exceptional wartime experiences. Hitch was the most highly decorated RNVR officer of the war with two DSOs, three DSCs and three Mentions in Despatches. He was recommended for a posthumous VC. We read of his early days in vulnerable minesweepers and the Dunkirk Dynamo operation, (his first DSC).
In late 1940 he joined Coastal Forces serving in the very fast MGBs, soon earning his own command and shortly after command of his Flotilla. He was the first to capture an E-Boat. His successful leadership led to many more successes and his reputation as a fearless and dynamic leader remains a legend today.
The book contains detailed and graphic accounts of running battles against the more heavily armed E-boats. Tragically he was killed in action in April 1943, having refused promotion and a job ashore.