Antony Preston

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Antony Preston
Born Antony Martin Douglas Leslie William Calhoun Preston
26 February 1938
Salford, Lancashire
Died 25 December 2004
Battersea, London
Resting place Mortlake, London
Occupation Naval historian, editor, journalist and author
Nationality British
Education King Edward VII School, Johannesburg
University of Witwatersrand
Genre Naval History
Spouse Jennifer Preston
Children Four

Antony Preston (26 February 1938 – 25 December 2004) was an English naval historian and editor, specialising in the area of 19th and 20th-century naval history and warship design.

Life[edit]

Antony Preston was born in 1938 in Salford, Lancashire, the son of the 16th Viscount Gormanston and Miss Julia O'Mahony. After becoming a wartime evacuee, he was educated in South Africa at King Edward VII School, Johannesburg, and the University of Witwatersrand.[1] On his return to England he spent some years at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, before becoming Editor of the periodical "Defence".[2] During the 1970s he was employed by a specialist publisher, Conway Maritime Press, as editor of their Warship annual. He also produced the specialised newsletter Navint. In the early nineties he took over as chief-editor of the magazine Naval Forces at the German editorial group Mönch. He left to resume as editor of Warships in 1996. Antony Preston lived in London until his death in 2004. His son Matt Preston (born 1961 and the eldest of Preston's three children) has gained celebrity as a TV judge on MasterChef Australia and as a restaurant critic-columnist for the Melbourne Age & Herald-Sun newspapers.[1]

Work[edit]

Antony Preston was a prolific author both of books and articles, and published on subjects ranging from the American Revolution to modern seapower; the bibliography given below illustrates the breadth of his expertise. He wrote on general military history, as well as most aspects of naval history and modern-day naval matters. He was a pugnacious writer and was usually willing to take up one side of a controversy, even in a work of reference (see brief collection of quotes below).

Memorable quotes[edit]

  • Lion-class battlecruisers - "ton for ton, the least satisfactory ships built for the RN in modern times"[3]
  • French Duquesne class - "unfit for combat with any existing cruiser"[4]
  • Fast attack craft - "a fresh coat of paint and a display of flags can hide a multitude of shortcomings"[4]
  • German Panzerschiffe - "more of a political gesture than a significant contribution to the history of capital-ship design"[5]
  • Medina-class gunboats - "the most grotesque craft ever seen".[6]

World '​s Worst Warships[edit]

The World '​s Worst Warships is a book about warship design. While nobody sets out to design a bad warship, some ships turn out unsuitable for the tasks which they are asked to perform. Antony Preston regarded the following designs as particularly poor:

Bibliography[edit]

Only the four most recent Warship annuals are listed; other titles are listed in reverse order of publication.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Publisher's preface, The World's Worst Warships (Conway Maritime Press 2002) ISBN 0-85177-754-6
  2. ^ Publisher's preface, Sea Power: A Modern Illustrated Military History (Exeter Books 1980) ISBN 0-89673-011-5
  3. ^ Conway '​s All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906–1921 (1985) ISBN 0-85177-245-5
  4. ^ a b The World '​s Worst Warships (Conway Maritime Press 2002) ISBN 0-85177-754-6
  5. ^ Sea Power: A Modern Illustrated Military History (with Louis S Casey & John Batchelor). Exeter Books (September 1980). ISBN 0-89673-011-5
  6. ^ Preston, Anthony; Major, John (2007). Send a Gunboat: The Victorian Navy and Supremacy at Sea, 1854–1904 (2nd ed.). London: Conway. ISBN 978-0-85177-923-2.  p.167