by John H Marsh

Hot News - December 2014

Since 1978 readers have been asking for copies
of the book which had been out of print.
In 2006 the book was reprinted.
Now we can announce that the 2006 reprint is sold out as well as its 2008 successor. In December 2014 the 14th reprint of the book was run!. The new reprint(2014)
of the book is available in English from the Namibian Scientific Society
and can be ordered via the internet!!
Alterntively Send email for information

2014 edition - Multiple reprint - Still available in 2020

Cover page THIS is a re-issue, up-dated and much more fully illustrated, of the book first published in 1944 that released the hitherto top secret story of what is surely the most dramatic and inspiring shipwreck and rescue drama of all time.
The story is true in every particular, incredulous as many a reader is likely to find the amazing series of events related. There were some who labelled it "the wildest fiction" when first they read it. But it has stood the test of time. The incident that led to the participation in the drama of the Merchant Marines of several countries, the British and South African Navies, the South African Air Force, the South African Army, the South African Police and the South African Railways and Harbours Administration,demanding from each of the men their utmost resources of courage, endurance, persistence, ingenuity, compassion and humanity, as well as intelligence and muscle, took place midway through World War 2 off the coast of South West Africa that is scheduled soon to become the independent country of Namibia.
That particular part of the S.W.A./Namibia coast has been for centuries for all who knew it the most frightening piece of the Earth.
The story of the wrecking of the big British passenger liner Dunedin Star and the eventual rescue of her more than 100 passengers and crew, at the cost of other lives, another ship, a big aircraft, a number of army trucks, etc., has become known to millions since the book was first published, and is generally accepted to be the peer of true adventure stories so far to come out of Africa. Edition after edition of the original book came from the presses in English and in translations in Africa, England, the Continent of Europe and America, over a period of nearly a quarter of a century. However, the last edition was sold out more than a decade ago, so this up-dated and expanded and generously illustrated re-issue is certain to be eagerly received.
Naval and military censorship ruled when the earlier editions of Skeleton Coast were published, and only a handfull of approved photos were obtainable to illustrate the book. But for this expanded re-issue a remarkable collection of nearly 100 pictures, many of them history-making and of dramatic action, and most of them now published for the first time, has been assembled.

This internet version and the 2014 reprint is based on the last edition to be published by John H Marsh in November 1978 in which he added details about the fate of each participant as an Appendix to the end of the original book.

This is an internet publication of Skeleton Coast. Up to and including Chapter 2 is provided for readers to preview the contents, style and layout of the book. Should readers wish to acquire the book, they will need to send US$10-00 to the publishers. They will then be provided with the passwords to allow them to download the entire book and its accompanying images.To contact the publishers send an email to or see Payment Form

Getting a copy of the book

There are a number of different formats of this book available to you depending on where you are in the world.

  • The printed 2014 edition (hardcopy) is available from the publishers (Namibian Scientific Society - Namibia) or from Mike Marsh in South Africa. It can be bought and posted (registered mail) to readers all over the world and paid for by Paypal or Credit card.
  • An eBook version is available from Mike Marsh or on eBay which will be sent via email- all formats are supported
  • The internet version (this website)
  • About the Author - John Henry Marsh
    Article on the "Passion of John Marsh" published in the Cape Times

    Published by MIKE MARSH
    P.O. Box 59227,Kengray,2100
    South Africa
    Jacket illustrated by Melanie Pritchard
    History of reprints
    The naming of the "Skeleton Coast" in the Kaokoveld

    Table of contents
    Foreword Foreword by Rt Hon Field Marshal J Smuts
    Preface Author's Preface to re-issue
      List of Illustrations
    Chap 1 The Coast of Loneliness
    Chap 2 A Doomed Liner
    Chap 3 Playing a Game with Death
    Chap 4 Rescue on the Way
    Chap 5 A Mystery Wreck and a Skeleton Crew
    Chap 6 The Rescuers Arrive
    Chap 7 Braving the Breakers
    Chap 8 Food from the Sky
    Chap 9 Rafts
    Chap 10 Another Wreck
    Chap 11 Tragedy on the Tug
    Chap 12 The Liner Survivors' Camp
    Chap 13 Three Crews in Need
    Chap 14 A Hero Unto Death
    Chap 15 The Missing Convoy
    Chap 16 A Landing on the Dunes
    Chap 17 An unknown Land
    Chap 18 Tempting Fate
    Chap 19 The First Rescues
    Chap 20 Surfboat Expedition
    Chap 21 Bogged
    Chap 22 Homeward Bound
    Chap 23 Return
    Chap 24 Disaster Again
    Chap 25 The Curtain Falls
    Appendix A How Each Castaway was rescued
    Appendix B May 1978
    Appendix C Fate Steered their Courses
    Appendix D Skeleton Coast today
    Appendix E What happened to them after the adventure Feedback from descendants given after 2004

    First published in 1944 by
    London and Cape Town

    with subsequent editions or translations published by
    NASIONALE PERS, Cape Town, Bloemfontein & Port Elizabeth
    DODD MEAD & CO INC,New York
    WESTERMANN, Copenhagen
    PAN BOOKS LTD, London
    MARSHES BOOKS, Johannesburg

    Copyright Mike Marsh(2010)

    See also
    No Pathway Here by J.H.Marsh: the account of the annexation of Prince Edward and Marion Islands
    The John H Marsh Maritime Research Centre a repository of 18000 photographs of ships
    South Africa and the War at Sea by J H Marsh: booklet of interesting ships calling at Cape Town