The Last Cruise of the Majestic is a compelling addition Great War literature. It is a rare book both in terms of quantity printed and content. John George Cowie (b.1876) served twelve years in the Royal Navy 1891-1904, as an enlisted sailor then in the Coast Guards prior to being recalled to active duty in 1914. His log-books provide considerable detail into the key events of naval aspects of the ill-fated Dardanelles operation from the point of view of a senior enlisted man or Other Ranks in the peculiar terminology of the Royal Navy of the day. Cowie details the initial preparation for bombardment duty, the travails of the fleet assembled at the Dardanelles to include his eyewitness account of the loss of six battleships and the damages suffered to numerous others. No doubt adding to factual occurrences in Cowie's log-books is the vivid text provided by the amazing George Goodchild, who was at the nascent stage of his literary career. The source material is presented in a detailed and engrossing manner. Particularly when contrasting the pre-combat enthusiasm of the sailors being ground under as stress, death and defeat create an atmosphere of impending doom. A rarity in wartime naval literature, the text deals extensively, factually and sympathetically with cases of shellshock or stress induced conduct as we would describe it a century later. Also, unlike wartime literature which to the modern mind reads quaint or affected, the majority of the text still stands with today's vernacular.
Used availability for George Goodchild's The Last Cruise of the Majestic
July 2017 : USA Paperback