Book Review: Passport Not Required: U.S. Volunteers in the Royal Navy, 1939-1941


by Eric Dietrich-Berryman, Charlotte Hammond, & R. E. White

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010. Pp. xix, 186. Illus., appends., biblio., index. $27.95. ISBN: 1591142245

The Americans who volunteered to serve in the RAF before the United States entered World War II have received a lot of attention from both historians and film makers.  In Passport Not Required, the authors, respectively a German immigrant and long serving U.S. naval officer, a British attorney, and a former Royal Navy enlisted man and police officer (who died as the book was being completed), observe that in contrast to the Yanks who served with the Royal Air Force, the story of the Americans who served in the Royal Navy has never been told. 

The book is focused on 22 men. Largely from prosperous families, some of them were military men, but most were professionals.  The examines the reasons they offered their services and the process of joining the Royal Navy.  This, despite a favorable attitude by the President, was fraught with obstacles due to American and British law.  The book then follows the men through training and into their assignments.  Most of the men went into the fleet, some to command small warships, two dying in action, and some into administrative or intelligence operations. 

Both well-written and ground-breaking, Passport Not Required will be enjoyed by students of the American military experience in World War II, international military volunteerism, and the naval service in general.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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