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)Edit

World War II novelsEdit

Title Original publication Reference
A Prayer for the Ship 1958 ISBN 0-515-05783-5
Dive in the Sun 1961 ISBN 0-09-111300-8
The Hostile Shore 1962 ISBN 0-09-907880-5
With Blood and Iron 1964 ISBN 0-09-105660-8
HMS Saracen 1965 ISBN 0-09-906260-7
The Pride and the Anguish 1968 ISBN 0-09-087440-4
To Risks Unknown 1969 ISBN 0-09-097520-0
Rendezvous – South Atlantic 1972 ISBN 0-09-109270-1
His Majesty's U-Boat
(also named Go in and Sink!)
1973 ISBN 0-399-11195-6
ISBN 0-09-114620-8
The Destroyers 1974 ISBN 0-09-119940-9
Winged Escort 1975 ISBN 0-09-124740-3
Surface with Daring 1976 ISBN 0-09-127630-6
Strike from the Sea 1978 ISBN 0-09-918780-9
A Ship Must Die 1979 ISBN 0-09-138150-9
Torpedo Run 1981 ISBN 0-688-00133-5
The Volunteers 1985 ISBN 0-09-160070-7
The Iron Pirate 1986 ISBN 0-7737-2105-3
In Danger's Hour 1988 ISBN 0-434-62632-5
The White Guns 1989 ISBN 0-434-62634-1
Killing Ground 1991 ISBN 0-434-62638-4
Sunset 1994 ISBN 0-434-62635-X
A Dawn Like Thunder 1996 ISBN 0-434-00215-1
Battlecruiser 1997 ISBN 0-434-00291-7
For Valour 2000 ISBN 0-434-00719-6
Twelve Seconds to Live 2002 ISBN 0-434-00874-5
The Glory Boys 2008 ISBN 978-0-434-01352-4

The Blackwood SagaEdit

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 settingsEdit

  • 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 novelsEdit

(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)


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d "Douglas Reeman, author – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Cowdrey, Katherine (30 January 2017). "Novelist Douglas Edward Reeman dies". The Bookseller. Retrieved 8 November 2017.

External linksEdit