Notes about the Author of the Book, "The Enemy Below"
By Simon Baddeley, Birmingham, England
The film 'The Enemy Below' starring the USS Whitehurst
‘playing’ the USS
Haynes was based on the novel by D.A.Rayner - a WW2 British naval officer
involved in submarine warfare and escort duties from 1939-1945. Denys Arthur
Rayner DSC & Bar, VRD, RNVR, (1908-1967) was a naval hero - a term with
which he would, like so many veterans, have been uncomfortable. See:
In the film Rayner’s fictional HMS Hecate becomes the fictional USS Haynes,
and pipe smoking chess-playing British Captain John Murrell becomes the US
Captain played by Robert Mitchum with Curd Jürgens as Rayner's Captain von
Stolberg. Rayner’s book, written within a decade of the war, had to be
approved by the Admiralty. He does not identify Hecate – beyond saying she
was “a Western Approaches destroyer” - Von Stolberg’s words on noting her
camouflage via periscope. We may conjecture that the vessel Rayner had in
mind and to which he gives us clues in the novel was a Captain Class frigate
of the type transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease. If this were the
case then the British ship of Rayner’s novel and the US ship of Dick
Powell’s film would have come from almost identical stables.
Posted by Simon Baddeley who tells us that he was taught how to take a small
boat to sea by Rayner who had, after the war, turned his talents to the design and
building of yachts as well as to writing.