St Albans publisher celebrates landmark book launch

Holywell House Publishing launched their first book - Veteran Frank Witton attended

Holywell House Publishing launched their first book - Veteran Frank Witton attended - Credit: Archant

An independent St Albans based publisher has celebrated their first book launch of the newest edition of the HMS Venomous biography, with a St Albans veteran in attendance.

Holywell House Publishing, manned by William Forster, has published the third edition of A Hard Ship Fought: The Story of HMS Venomous.

A book launch was hosted on May 9, coinciding with Russia’s Victory Day, at the Royal College of Defence Studies, Belgravia, with many special guests in attendance.

St Albans’ HMS Venomous veteran, 94 year old Frank Witton, and the author, Capt John Rodgaard were both present to celebrate the commemorative biography.

Initially inspired by his father’s service onboard the Destroyer, William compiled stories and photographs taken from veterans and their families to create an interactive experience of the V&W Class Destroyer.

You may also want to watch:

William said: “HMS Venomous saved more lives than she took, bringing refugees from the Netherlands and France to England as the Germany advance swept across Europe in 1940.”

Co-authored by Robert Moore, a TS Venomous officer, and John Rodgaard, a USN officer, the unexpected distribution and popularity of the previous editions prompted a third edition to complete the collection. With five new chapters and 258 photographs the latest from Holywell House Publishing is a time capsule of moments captured and shared aboard HMS Venomous.

Most Read

William described the publication as: “A fitting memorial to the V&Ws and the thousands of men who served in them.”

Though the third edition will be the last, he added: “The V&Ws will continue to sail through time and space on the Association’s website and are brought back to life in the pages of this book.”

With support from Prince Philip, first lieutenant on HMS Wallace and the Association’s patron, St Albans’ self-made publisher, William Forster, has developed the V&W Destroyer Association website.

In a letter addressed to William, Prince Philip wrote: “Just imagine if the veterans of that awesome battle [Battle of Waterloo] had had a website on which they could post their stories and experiences.”

The third edition of A Hard Ship Fought: The Story of HMS Venomous is available here.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter