Destroyer

Battle Picture Weekly
15th November 1975 – 27th February 1976
Writer: Ron Carpenter
Artist: Jim Watson

The destroyer of the title is the HMS Sword, a new-pin ship with a new commander. Captain Jordan Knight (nothing to do with New Kids on the Block) is young and keen, and wants to run a tight and tidy ship, although the text of the story says “tiddley”, which was naval slang. His crew are full of apprehension, considering him to lack experience, but Knight soon proves himself, downing a lone JU-88 as soon as he steps aboard, then berating his crew for their lack of attention in allowing it to approach. Knight shows he has what it takes to command when at sea, sinking a German cruiser only a few moments into his first convoy escort. Despite receiving heavy damage to the Sword, Knight manages to return to port with the German survivors as his prisoners. Ordering his men to clean up the Sword as soon as they return to Westport, Knight earns the nickname ‘Shiny’ and the respect of his men.

Like many naval tails, Destroyer struggled to find an audience who appreciated the story. Ron Carpenter’s scripts were some of his average fair, a little similar to his writing on The Coffin Sub in Action, which was running at around the time Destroyer was finishing. Despite many attempts, Battle never really managed to sell the war at sea to its readers. The naval section of Charley’s War was cited as a lull in the series. One possible exception was HMS Nightshade, which was popular enough to be reprinted. Jim Watson’s art was grim and gritty, and something of a departure from his normal style. The work looked darker than usual because of a decision to add deep shaded areas using half-tone. This added an almost photo-realistic element to many of the pages.

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