Douglas Reeman

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Douglas Edward Reeman (15 October 1924 – 23 January 2017[1][2]), who also used the pseudonym Alexander Kent, was a British author who wrote many historical novels about the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars. He wrote a total of 68 novels, selling 34 million copies in twenty languages.[3]


Reeman was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, son of Charles "Percy" and Ada Reeman.[2]

At the beginning of the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy's boys' training establishment HMS Ganges. In 1940 Reeman was appointed Midshipman, at the age of 16. His initial service was in destroyers on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. During this time his ship was sunk and Reeman was injured by exploding depth charges. Later he transferred to Motor Torpedo Boats and was present subsequently at D-Day in a landing craft. It was then that he was injured badly when his landing craft was hit by shellfire. He finished the war in Kiel repairing damage to make the port usable again, with the rank of Lieutenant.[2]

After the war, Reeman joined the Metropolitan Police, serving as a beat officer and later in the Criminal investigation department. At the beginning of the Korean War he rejoined the Navy. At the end of the war he joined London County Council as a child welfare officer, but remained a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve.[3]


Reeman's debut novel, A Prayer for the Ship, was published in 1958. Reeman is most famous for his series of Napoleonic naval stories, the main character of which is Richard Bolitho, and, later, his nephew, Adam Bolitho. Reeman also wrote a series of novels about several generations of the fictional Blackwood family who served in the Royal Marines from the 1850s to the 1970s, and a non-fiction account of his own Second World War experiences, D-Day: A Personal Reminiscence (1984). He used the pseudonym Alexander Kent (the real name of a friend and naval officer who died during the Second World War) for his Bolitho novels and his real name for his other novels and non-fiction.

Teacher and advisor[edit]

In addition to being an author, Reeman also taught navigation for yachting and served as a technical advisor for movies.

Personal life[edit]

Reeman was married twice; first to Winifred Melville, and later, after he was widowed, to Canadian author Kimberley Jordan in 1985.[2]

Bibliography (with publication dates)[edit]


  1. ^ "Douglas Reeman – Obituary".
  2. ^ a b c d "Douglas Reeman, author – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Cowdrey, Katherine (30 January 2017). "Novelist Douglas Edward Reeman dies". The Bookseller. Retrieved 8 November 2017.

External links[edit]