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Deadly Inferno

Thomas E. Lightburn

In late December 1943 HMS Zimba escorting a convoy is sent too Bari, a port in Italy. Here, the ship’s captain, Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Pendleton is reunited with Nadine, a navy nurse he met in Portsmouth.


Almost immediately Bari is attacked and they are caught up in one of the most devastating and unexpected air raids of World War Two. Merchant ships carrying ammunition, aviation fuel, oil and deadly mustard gas explode, setting the harbour alight. 


Bodies, bloated and yellow litter the water. Thousands of service personnel and civilians are killed. This meticulously researched novel, based on fact, contains drama at sea, danger and death plus a poignant love story of two people caught up in the uncertainty of war.   

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Thomas E. Lightburn served twenty-two years in the medical branch of the Royal Navy, reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He left the service in 1974 and obtained a Bachelors (Hons) degree at Liverpool University. After teaching for sixteen years, he volunteered for early retirement. He then began writing for The Wirral Journal and The Sea Breezes, a worldwide nautical magazine. He interviewed the late Ian Fraser, VC, ex-Lieutenant RN, and wrote an account of how he and his crew crippled the Japanese cruiser, Takao, in Singapore.

Thomas is a widower and lives in Mersyside pursuing his favourite hobbies of soccer, naval and military history, the theatre, art and travel.