Mumford served in the British Merchant Marine during WWII. Joining up at age 17, he was shipwrecked twice: once by torpedo, once by mine. The Black Pit … and Beyond is his painfully honest story of those first few years.
The “black pit” was that swatch of ocean in which convoys could not be protected by aerial reconnaissance from either Iceland or the UK … and was therefore the playground of the U-boats and the most dangerous part of the voyage from Canada or the US to Great Britain.
When I met Gordon, I had to think of that proverb that when an old person dies, a library is destroyed – he’s definitely getting on, and signed the book in the spidery scrawl that people resort to when their fine motor skills are abandoning them. But at least in Gordon’s case, this and his four other autobiographical books will ensure that the library lives on.