The Terror of Tobermory

By Richard Baker

Format: Paperback

'Puggy' Stephenson, Vice-Admiral and Commodore of the Western Isles, was best known simply as 'The Terror of Tobermory'. Even today he remains a legend. This is the story of his life.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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Once the Commodore asked a Commanding Officer what he had heard about the base. 'Well, frankly, sir,' replied the CO, 'I've heard you're tortured until you're efficient. Then, if you've any strength left, you're allowed to go.' Without any preliminaries, he flung his gold-braided cap on the deck and said abruptly to the Quartermaster - 'That is a small unexploded bomb, dropped by an enemy plane. What are you going to do about it!!?' The sailor ...promptly took a step forward and kicked the cap into the sea ...the Commodore warmly commended the lad for his presence of mind, and then, pointing to the submerged cap, said: 'That's a man overboard! Jump in and save him!' This was the legend of 'Puggy' Stephenson, Vice-Admiral and Commodore of the Western Isles, best known simply as 'The Terror of Tobermory'. But Puggy was a terror for a purpose. Tobermory and the Western Isles were a theatre in the Battle of the Atlantic and Gilbert Stephenson knew well the responsibility he faced in training up raw and inexperienced crews into a trained and effective ship's company. His methods were directly responsible for the sinking of over 130 U-boats and the shooting down of 40 enemy aircraft.

Behind his ferocity lay a marvellous sense of humour and a deep humanity. 'Terror' he may have been but he was loved and respected by all who met him. Even today he remains a legend. This is the story of his life.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 6 Jul 2015
ISBN 9781780273020
Number of Pages 196

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Press Reviews

'... provides a fascinating insight into the RN during its imperial heyday' - Broadly Boats '... a superb story ... paints a new picture of Tobermory to anyone who knows the town and tells the story of a remarkable man who did much to help Britain's war effort in the most unlikely of settings - Forres Gazette

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