Mrs Ferguson’s Tea-set, Japan and the Second World War
The saga of the sinking of the Blue Funnel Line’s ill-fated SS Automedon in November 1940 by the German commerce raider Atlantis is well documented, but in this new work the author argues that he is not just setting the history right in terms of the inaccuracies so far reported, but is also offering significant new information based on direct contact with surviving members of the Automedon’s crew and their families, together with access to new primary sources. Offering a Japanese perspective for the first time, the book tracks the role of the Japanese navy as a silent partner and active participant in the war at sea against Britain and her allies prior to Japan’s flagrant formal entry into the Second World War at Pearl Harbor. The author argues that the cooperation between the German and Japanese navies led to Japan’s final defeat when Admiral Yamamoto was misled by the intelligence obtained from the confidential Cabinet papers recovered from the Automedon. One of the most significant conclusions to be drawn from this fascinating story, that is ‘relived’ here, is how chance impacts on the outcome of conflict: had not Mrs Violet Ferguson who was on board the Automedon at the time of its capture asked for the trunk containing her precious tea-set to be saved, the German crew would never have found the Automedon’s secret strong-room containing the ‘Most Secret’ papers.