Lt Joshua Woodhouse A Mother's Experience of Military Justice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Very interesting read. It’s not usually my type of genre. But it’s a topic I’m interested in. The book was well written and flowed very well. Learned a lot. Lots of interesting information in here
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The reader can feel the family's anguish throughout this narrative. The workings of the UK military is something I am familiar with which is partially why I was keen to give this a go thanks to NetGalley. I have not yet got to the end of this work but I did get the feeling that at the end of the day maybe the author did just not believe the chain of events and she wanted the verdict to be changed - we all know that this does not always happen in real life. Sadly there seemed to be not concrete evidence to alter the original findings of the military departments. Such a sad tale.
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Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book at all. I love real stories but I felt it was a bit long winded at times. Dealt with subject matter admirably hence my rating.
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This is a remarkable – and deeply disturbing – story. In it, Polly Woodhouse explores the circumstances of her son’s death. Young and successful naval officer Lt Joshua Woodhouse fell to his death whilst serving aboard HMS Ocean. The official Navy Investigation concluded that it was a tragic accident. Polly Woodhouse couldn’t accept this and in spite of opposition, delays and obfuscation on the part of the naval authorities, painstakingly pieced together an account of what actually happened, and in spite of strenuous denials that there could have been any foul play insisted that the matter hadn’t been properly investigated. I see no reason to mistrust or disbelieve her conclusions – but indeed if only some of her account were true that that in itself would be enough to damn the Navy authorities for their cover-up. As it is, the book sheds a shameful light on a cynical and uncaring service. 
The book is heartfelt and moving, but should not be judged by any literary criteria. Its aim is to uncover the truth and this it does supremely well. Yes, at times it is repetitious, and yes, sometimes the technical details are difficult to follow, but all credit to Mrs Woodhouse for her detailed account, and I hope that one day justice will be done.
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This book is obviously a very personal view of an horrific incident that lost a mother her son.  I acknowledge that and do not wish to disrespect that in any way, but this book was not for me.

I read many fact or fact based books and where addressing such a major issue as the military potentially covering-up a murder, I thought that I would find this an inciteful read.

I think the issue may have been better described had a professional writer been engaged to deliver it and, in my opinion, a more balanced view would have kept my interest and engagement.  As it was, I gave up after about 15% of the way in.  

I found the tone to be very preachy and one sided and, although it must be comforting for the mother to find solace in her God, I felt the biblical references weakened any valid points she may have had.

Was justice served by this incident? I will never know, as I found myself unable to continue reading the book.

Conspiracy theorists and military historians may find the book full of useful information and engage fully with it, but it was not for me.  Sorry.
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Lt Joshua Woodhouse, a young, highly successful officer, died in August 2010 under suspicious circumstances whilst serving his country on board HMS Ocean. His family demanded justice. However, the Royal Navy SIB Military Police did not investigate the possibility of foul play and refused to interview three independent US Navy witnesses as part of their criminal investigation. The Coroner in charge and other officers also tried to cover up any crime or suspicious circumstances of Lt Woodhouse's death. 
Joshua's mother Polly, determined to see justice, tells her son’s story in this book. While the account of his death and the inquest is long and repetitive in places, her love for her son shines through. 
I appreciated the element of faith in the book. Polly's determination gives me the courage to continue fighting on behalf of my children. 
I would recommend this book to parents and readers who are interested in military justice or the military legal system in the UK.
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This is not a book for general consumption.  This reads like a coroner's report, not a book.  I would not recommend it for a general reader.
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The author wrote a great account of the personal journey they embarked on.  The honest and detailed writing made it easy for the reader to feel invested in their journey.
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The tragedy of a son’s death while deployed is likely on of the toughest tragedies for a family, especially a Mother.  Ms Woodhouse writes the story in short snippets of information while she and her family investigated her son’s death aboard a Royal Navy ship while import a US Navy Base in Florida.  The bureaucracy of the Royal Navy’s handling of the death of a Sailor while in a foreign country leaves the reader with a the appearance of a cover-up. 

While the book painstakingly draws out the tedious process of the family’s investigation it does not tell the story in a way to hold the attention of the average reader.
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