Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, launched Professor John Hattendorf’s book, ‘Putting cargoes through: The US Navy at Gibraltar during the First World War 1917-1919’ at the John Mackintosh Hall last Friday.
The book, published by Calpe Press, is the memoir of Rear Admiral Albert Niblack of his time as the Commander of the US Navy ships that were based in Gibraltar at that time.
Professor Hattendorf is a Ernest J King Professor Emeritus of Maritime History at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and he is also a member of the Gibraltar-American Council.
He discovered the manuscript in the archives in the United States “it was totally forgotten, he had given it to a magazine for publication but it was too long for the magazine. They kept it for a decade or so before they finally gave it to the US Navy’s historical office which in the end passed it to the national archives, where it lay forgotten until I was to find it,” he said.
Upon finding it, he decided to bring it to light as most people in the US did not know about the countries involvement in Gibraltar during World War I.
Professor Hattendorf edited the manuscript and added an introduction.
Dr Garcia called the Professor, “a distinguished historian in his own rights, particularly in military and naval history.”
“It is very fitting that we are launching the book at this particular moment in time, the timing could not be better as it is a book on a World War I theme and a Gibraltar theme.”
“So it is fitting it is happening here in Gibraltar and it is relevant that it is two days before Armistice Day on Sunday,” he added.
Dr Garcia described the book as a “fascinating account” of the US Navy in Gibraltar during the first World War and admitted it was not something he was aware of while noting the US presence on the Rock during World War II is well documented.
The US involvement in Gibraltar during the first World War was greater in terms of numbers of personnel and assets than in the second World War.
Professor Hattendorf will be discussing his book during the Literary Festival on Thursday at 10am at the University of Gibraltar and Dr Garcia encouraged locals to attend to “gain a better understanding of the history of Gibraltar in general but particularly of the role of the US Navy in Gibraltar during the conflict.”
Professor Hattendorf is currently working on editing the diaries of Admiral George Rooke.
Pic by Johnny Bugeja