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Sole Survivor

One Man's Journey
By Norma Hudson

Published by THE MEMOIR CLUB
Hardback, 160 pages with illustrations
RRP £20.00

Reviewed by Gerry Wright RNZN (Rtd)

When HMS NEPTUNE sank in a Mediterranean minefield on 19 December, 1942, 150 young New Zealanders died with her. John Walton was the sole survivor and lived tormented through the rest of his life.

When he died in 2005 his daughter found his diaries and notes in his sailor’s ditty box hidden in the loft. This book is her story of what she found as she retraced her father’s life through World War II. Memories of family and friends, naval records and Norma’s own observations and discoveries tell a clear story of what one incident can do to a whole nation.

While the loss of the cruiser HMS NEPTUNE, is only part of this story many New Zealanders can relate to other aspects of John Walton’s story.

This is one of the best naval history books that I have read for some time. I congratulate Norma Hudson for a fine piece of research and writing.



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