Brook House Books

In 2006 Roy Martin and Lyle Craigie-Halkett wrote and self-published Risdon Beazley, Marine Salvor. When Roy Martin wrote Ebb and Flow, a forerunner of Merchantmen in Action, he chose Brook House Books as the publisher’s name. Brook House have republished Risdon Beazley, Marine Salvor.

In 2012 Fonthill Media accepted the revised Ebb and Flow for publication under the name Merchantmen in Action. A few copies of Ebb and Flow are still available at £10 plus £3 UK P&P, this softback book contains a number of ‘typos’ but it does include many tables listing ships that were involved in each of the operations that are described and many footnotes. For technical reasons these could not be reproduced in Merchantmen in Action.

Roy Martin joined the Merchant Navy as a Cadet in 1953, gaining his Masters Certificate in 1962. He signed on as Navigator of Risdon Beazley’s recovery ship Droxford in 1964. In 1969 he joined the staff of Risdon Beazley Ulrich Harms as Assistant Salvage Manager and Relief Master, one of his first tasks was to oversee the packing and dispatch of the salvage equipment for the Great Britain salvage. His colleague Lyle Craigie-Halkett was a salvage diver with in L J C O’Neill’s team.

Smit Tak acquired the company in 1973, through their purchase of Ulrich Harms. In 1975 Roy Martin became General Manager of the restyled Risdon Beazley Marine. Four years later Smit transferred him to Singapore to be Managing Director of their Asian subsidiary. The contract was to be for three years; after this he was to return to Risdon Beazley, but the company closed down in 1981 and he remained in Singapore for a further three year term.

In 1985 he declined a further extension, but remained until a successor could be found. Six months later the company’s main competitor failed, having assigned their salvage contracts to the banks. This was at the time of the Iran – Iraq war and both companies tugs had been fully employed saving tankers damaged by Exocet missiles. The assigned contracts included those where Smit was the main contractor, in the others they were sub-contractors. Roy Martin remained in Singapore for another eight months.

Since that time he has worked as a ship and project manager, also researching and writing. With Lyle Craigie-Halkett he undertook the environmental salvage of the four principal whaling stations in South Georgia. He is still trying to persuade Lyle to join him in writing that story.