Douglas Reeman

Douglas Edward Reeman (15 October 1924 – 23 January 2017[1][2]), who also used the pseudonym Alexander Kent, was a British author who wrote many historical novels about the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars. He wrote a total of 68 novels, selling 34 million copies in twenty languages.[3]

Reeman was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, son of Charles "Percy" and Ada Reeman.[2]

At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy's boys' training establishment HMS Ganges. In 1940 Reeman was appointed Midshipman, at the age of 16. His initial service was in destroyers on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. During this time his ship was sunk and Reeman was injured by exploding depth charges. Later he transferred to Motor Torpedo Boats and subsequently was present at D-Day in a landing craft. It was then that he was badly injured when his landing craft was hit by shellfire. He finished the war in Kiel repairing damage to bring the port back into use, with the rank of Lieutenant.[2]

After the war, Reeman joined the Metropolitan Police, serving as a beat officer and later in CID. At the outbreak of the Korean War he rejoined the Navy. At the end of the war he joined London County Council as a child welfare officer, but remained a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve.[3]

Reeman's debut novel, A Prayer for the Ship, was published in 1958. Reeman is most famous for his series of Napoleonic naval stories, whose central character is Richard Bolitho, and, later, his nephew, Adam Bolitho. Reeman also wrote a series of novels about several generations of the fictional Blackwood family who served in the Royal Marines from the 1850s to the 1970s, and a non-fiction account of his own Second World War experiences, D-Day: A Personal Reminiscence (1984). He used the pseudonym Alexander Kent (the real name of a friend and naval officer who died during the Second World War) for his Bolitho novels and his real name for his other novels and non-fiction.

In addition to being an author, Reeman also taught the art of navigation for yachting and served as a technical advisor for films.

Reeman was married twice; first to Winifred Melville and later, after he was widowed, to Canadian author Kimberley Jordan in 1985.[2]

Bibliography (with publication dates)

World War II novels

Title Original publication Reference
A Prayer for the Ship1958ISBN 0-515-05783-5
Dive in the Sun1961ISBN 0-09-111300-8
The Hostile Shore1962ISBN 0-09-907880-5
With Blood and Iron1964ISBN 0-09-105660-8
HMS Saracen1965ISBN 0-09-906260-7
The Pride and the Anguish1968ISBN 0-09-087440-4
To Risks Unknown1969ISBN 0-09-097520-0
Rendezvous – South Atlantic1972ISBN 0-09-109270-1
His Majesty's U-Boat
(also named Go in and Sink!)
1973ISBN 0-399-11195-6
ISBN 0-09-114620-8
The Destroyers1974ISBN 0-09-119940-9
Winged Escort1975ISBN 0-09-124740-3
Surface with Daring1976ISBN 0-09-127630-6
Strike from the Sea1978ISBN 0-09-918780-9
A Ship Must Die1979ISBN 0-09-138150-9
Torpedo Run1981ISBN 0-688-00133-5
The Volunteers1985ISBN 0-09-160070-7
The Iron Pirate1986ISBN 0-7737-2105-3
In Danger's Hour1988ISBN 0-434-62632-5
The White Guns1989ISBN 0-434-62634-1
Killing Ground1991ISBN 0-434-62638-4
Sunset1994ISBN 0-434-62635-X
A Dawn Like Thunder1996ISBN 0-434-00215-1
Battlecruiser1997ISBN 0-434-00291-7
For Valour2000ISBN 0-434-00719-6
Twelve Seconds to Live2002ISBN 0-434-00874-5
The Glory Boys2008ISBN 978-0-434-01352-4

The Blackwood Saga

aka The Royal Marines Saga

  • Badge of Glory(1982) (1st in plot sequence)
  • The First to Land (1984) (2nd)
  • The Horizon (1993) (3rd)
  • Dust on the Sea (1999) (4th)
  • Knife Edge (2004) (5th)

Other settings

  • High Water (1959)
  • Send a Gunboat (1960)
  • The Hostile Shore (1962)
  • The Last Raider (1963)
  • Path of the Storm (1966)
  • The Deep Silence (1967)
  • The Greatest Enemy (1970)

Richard Bolitho novels

(written under the name Alexander Kent)

  • Richard Bolitho, Midshipman (1975)
  • Midshipman Bolitho and the 'Avenger' (1978)
  • Band of Brothers (2005)
  • Stand into Danger (1980)
  • In Gallant Company (1977)
  • Sloop of War (1972)
  • To Glory We Steer (1968)
  • Command a King's Ship (1973)
  • Passage To Mutiny (1976)
  • With All Despatch (1988)
  • Form Line of Battle! (1969)
  • Enemy in Sight! (1970)
  • Flag Captain (1971)
  • Signal – Close Action! (1974)
  • The Inshore Squadron (1977)
  • A Tradition of Victory (1981)
  • Success to the Brave (1983)
  • Colours Aloft (1986)
  • Honour This Day (1987)
  • The Only Victor (1990)
  • Beyond The Reef (1992)
  • The Darkening Sea (1993)
  • For My Country's Freedom (1995)
  • Cross of St. George (1996)
  • Sword of Honour (1998)
  • Second to None (1999)
  • Relentless Pursuit (2001)
  • Man of War (2003)
  • Heart of Oak (2007)
  • In the King's Name (2011)


  2. "Douglas Reeman, author – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. Cowdrey, Katherine (30 January 2017). "Novelist Douglas Edward Reeman dies". The Bookseller. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
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