Senan announced privately last year that, with his second child due in 2003, he was 'retiring' from writing for a while on maritime subjects. How fortunate we are that although the enchanting Millie has been born, he has done nothing of the sort - and from conversations with him, it seems this article is merely the beginning of the new material we'll be seeing from this most talented and lyrical of maritime author/historians.
I've long admired the Sphere art as some of the most evocative work produced regarding that night - very much of its era and yet in many ways transcending it - and Sen's article confirms my views. The range of emotion and the touches of realism amidst the more stylised elements make it a very workmanlike narrative piece - it tells a story in an accessible way.
I'd never thought to identify the painting with Boat 16, but had often wondered about the image of one of the officers - not the one Sen identifies as Moody, but the other figure with a haunted, darting glance. I had assumed that these were generic images of officers and crew rather than specific portraits, but Sen's work suggests the former as a possibility.
Here's hoping we see more of Senan's high calibre work in the ET Gallery - he combines in rare degree both quality and quantity in his writing. He has the sense of narrative and the kernal of a story that comes as a journalist, the eye of an artist and the lyricism of a poet. With these, he combines the historian's unquenchable thirst to get to the whys and wherefores as well as the bare facts of events and human motivation, as well as the research skills to find the data itself.