Vast and brilliant white, P&O's flagship the SS Canberra was a final salute to a bygone era of opulence even as she embarked on her maiden voyage, For a decade she carried passengers between Britain and Australia, a 90-day voyage of pampering and decadence. But in March 1982, Britain went to war to defend the Falkland Islands and the SS Canberra found herself, surreally, requisitioned as a troop ship to carry the Marines and Paratroops into battle.
Against all odds she survived, playing a vital role as a hospital ship, At the end of the war she arrived back in Southampton to a heroes welcome, where she became fondly known as the Great White Whale.
This is the extraordinary and, as yet, untold story of how the crew of a luxury ocean liner: waiters, cooks, nurses and cleaners, found themselves suddenly thrust onto the front line. A Very Strange Way to Go to War is a candid and captivating story, drawing from first hand accounts and previously unpublished archives, of the heroic courage of ordinary British men and women in the face of great adversity, at the outpost of empire.