Alexander McKee (author)
25 July 1918|
|Died||22 July 1992
|Other names||Alexander Paul Charrier McKee|
|Occupation||Author and diver|
|Known for||Discovery of the Mary Rose shipwreck|
Alexander McKee OBE (1918 - 1992) was, most importantly, a British military historian who published nearly thirty books.
The most unusual thing he did in his youth was to fly solo at the age of fifteen years.
He was primarily educated by governesses, from whom he acquired an acute and critical eye for the quality of evidence but also a severe lack of paper qualifications that was to prove a serious hindrance later on.
He served in the British Army in World War II, wrote war poetry and articles for British Army on the Rhine (BAOR) newspaper Polar Bear News and became writer/producer for the British Forces Network (BFN) in Germany after the end of WWII. See Alexander McKee at BFN.
After demobilization he became the editor of the Conveyor magazine and wrote radio plays for the BBC. Specifically, some of these radio plays covered Trotsky's assassination, Dr Semmelweiss' difficult campaign to get up to date hygiene precautions adopted in hospitals across Europe and the "mad" Russian monk Rasputin's odd story and seemingly hypnotic influence with the Russian Royal Family.
Next, he decided to concentrate on documentary authorship, publishing some 27 or so books during his life.
In between researching and writing books Alexander (Paul Charrier) McKee OBE took up sub-aqua diving with the Southsea Branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club. His projects got it voted the most interesting branch in the United Kingdom three years running. Next he fired-up and drove forward the discussed but not actioned project to search for King Henry VIII's Mary Rose. He proposed an official search for the Mary Rose to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich Observatory but his proposal was humiliatingly rejected, perhaps owing to his lack of formal qualifications. He had no other option except to pay the Crown Estate Commissioners to rent the Mary Rose wreck site and thereby afford it protection from wanton pillage. Soon, from about 1965 onwards, he was concentrating most of his his efforts on the Mary Rose project. Preserving a Tudor "mud" ship for British posterity cost him more than time and effort: his earnings plummeted and he was compelled to down-size rather rapidly, somewhat to the dismay of his long suffering wife and older children!
Then later, as age and ill-health took their inevitable toll, he was side-lined from the project he had nurtured for over a decade.
He published King Henry VIII's Mary Rose in 1973. It was the first book about the Mary Rose project in recent history by nearly a decade, so it could be regarded as a seminal work. His vision already detailed most of what has actually come to pass, even just recently with the opening of the new Mary Rose Museum, and much of what he wrote is reiterated in publications by more contemporary authors. Oddly however, Alexander McKee's book King Henry VIII's Mary Rose is seldom referred to or referenced.
In contrast Alexander McKee's more frequently referenced book How We Found the Mary Rose was published as late as 1982, nearly a decade later. Although human interest, it includes many excerpts from the diving logs of his original diving teams from Project Solent Ships and MRSB0551: hence the "We" in the book title.
He targeted these two books specifically on the Mary Rose. He also provides summaries of his Mary Rose research in some of his other books.
See also Obituary: Alexander McKee, by Peter Marsden in The Independent 
- Against the Odds: Battles at Sea 1591-1949
- A Heritage of Ships
- A World Too Vast: the Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus
- Black Saturday
- Caen: Anvil of Victory (Last round against Rommel)
- Death Raft: the Wreck of the Medusa
- Dresden 1945: the Devil`s Tinderbox
- El Alamein: Ultra and the Three Battles
- Farming the Sea
- From Merciless Invaders
- Gordon of Khartoum (published under the pseudonym Paul Charrier)
- History under the Sea
- 1982: How We Found the Mary Rose
- H.M.S. Bounty
- Ice Crash
- Into the Blue (Great Mysteries of Aviation)
- King Henry VIII's Mary Rose
- Race for the Rhine Bridges
- Strike from the Sky
- Tarquin`s Ship: the Etruscan Wreck in Campese Bay
- The Coal Scuttle Brigade
- The Friendless Sky (the Flying Aces: Sagas of the Incredible War in the Air 1914 - 1918)
- 1961: The Golden Wreck: the tragedy of the "Royal Charter" (2nd ed.). Souvenir Press. 1986. ISBN 0-285-62745-7.
- The Mosquito Log
- The Queen`s Corsair
- Vimy Ridge