by Hats off Gentlemen It's Adequate

Released 2019
Glass Castle Recordings
Released 2019
Glass Castle Recordings
Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate's EP 'Ark' has three tracks -

1) Ark (A-side) - progressive rock instrumental
2) Chasing Neon (B-side) - retrofuturistic electronic instrumental
3) She Moved Through The Fair - Traditional Irish folk song (bonus track)
When my dad, David Galloway, died recently, I inherited his father, Richard Galloway’s Second World War flight logs. He had been a telegraphist air-gunner (TAG) in the Fleet Air Arm. TAGs were responsible for communications via Morse code, and manning the rear gun. Almost one in six of the TAGs trained in the Fleet Air Arm died in action or accidents. I didn’t know Richard well; I was young when he died. Although he survived the war, he died in his 50’s of the bowel cancer that would also kill his son.

His flight logs document with shocking economy both the mundane and the world-changing events in which he had participated. The attack on the Bismark, a major victory for Allied forces, is noted with the same concision as a training mission.

The Ark Royal (one of several British ships of the same name) on which he served was an aircraft carrier. At the time of its design in 1934, there were weight restrictions due to international naval treaties designed to minimise the developing naval arms race. It was built by Camell Laird at Birkenhead and launched in 1938. It played important roles in several naval theatres of war. The Ark Royal was involved in the first aerial U-boat sinking, took part in providing air cover in the coast off Norway, in the sinking of the Bismark, and in the protection of the convoys providing a life-line to Malta (which was vital for keeping Allied troops in Africa supplied).

The Ark Royal narrowly avoided sinking on several occasions and was considered by many to be a ‘lucky ship’. Eventually her luck ran out. A German U-boat torpedo hit her on 13 November 1941, and she sank the following day. All but one of the 1,488 crew survived.

Before war was officially declared, German U-boats had taken up position around Britain, and within hours of the declaration of war, began torpedoing shipping. In September 1939 the Ark Royal was part of a ‘hunter-killer group’ searching for U-boats. On 14 September 1939 she went to the aid of The SS Fanad Head, a cargo ship under U-boat attack. The Ark Royal was spotted by U-boat U39, which launched two torpedoes at the Ark Royal, which managed to turn in time for the attack to narrowly miss. Accompanying destroyers depth charged U39, leading to the first U-boat loss of the war.

After coming close to losing the Ark Royal, the use of aircraft carriers at the centre of Royal Navy hunter-killer groups was discontinued.

In 1939 the Ark Royal successfully contributed to locating the German ship, the Graf Spree. Due to a combination of Naval power and counter-intelligence misdirection, the commander of the Graf Spree ordered it to be scuttled, thinking it was at risk of being captured by the Allies.

Between April and June 1940 the Ark Royal provided air cover from the sea off Norway.

Following the evacuation of troops from Norway, the Ark Royal was sent to Gibraltar, from where it took part in actions against the Vichy fleet, and subsequently provided vital support to convoys to Malta.

The Ark Royal contributed to the sinking of the battleship Bismark on 27 May 1941

On 10 November 1941, while returning to Gibraltar from delivering aircraft to Malta, the Ark Royal was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat, resulting in an approximately 40x9m hole below the waterline. The ship sank on 14 November.

Our piece ‘Ark’ follows the story of the Ark Royal. The first section represents the building of the ship, with the launch coming at about 1:30. The guitar comes in as the ship takes off into open waters. At 3:00 the music becomes more cautious, as the pagentry of the launch is replaced by the nervous anticipation of imminent war. German U-boats take up position around Britain in preparation for their attempted blockade. At 5:00 the Ark Royal first encounters the enemy. The Ark Royal was part of a ‘hunter-killer’ group searching for U-boats, summoned to defend the cargo ship HMS Fanad. Although the Ark Royal comes under attack, the ship was rapidly turned and the torpedos narrowly missed. The attacking U-boat was sunk by an accompanying Royal Navy destroyer, however it was clear how vulnerable the aircraft carrier was to U-boat attack. The section from 6:20 follows the Ark hunting of, and eventual sinking of the Bismark, the most powerful ship in the German navy. The piece ends with the sinking of the Ark Royal.

There is a music video for this piece at

The piece is dedicated to Richard Galloway, the Fleet Air Arm, and all those who risked everything to stand up against the Nazis.

Chasing Neon is a pulsating retro-futuristic electronic contrast to the preceding track. Youtube video -

She Moved Through The Fair is an old Irish folksong, arranged by Malcolm Galloway.

Malcolm Galloway, 2019

Reviews -

"Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate “Ark” is nothing short of a brilliant masterpiece that depicts a truly remarkable piece of World War 2 history. I am in awe of its magnitude and of its glory. The epic splendor and tragedy of war is depicted here through the musicianship and the storytelling of Malcolm Galloway, Mark Gatland, and company. A lot went into this 3 song EP. The story behind it is fact based and documented from the flight logs of Richard Galloway, the grandfather of Malcolm Galloway. The Ark Royal, a British ship, is the focal piece of this 3 song EP, and it was an aircraft carrier pivotal in its contributions to sinking the battleship Bismark, the most powerful ship in the German Navy on May 27, 1941.

The soundtrack is absolutely stunning and the 11 minute, 47 second track that kicks things off, “Ark”, has some of the best music I have ever heard. It takes you upon the journey of The Ark Royal from its first inception to its ill fated sinking. I have to say that the passion in the bands playing has never been more heartfelt. The second track, “Chasing Neon”, picks up where the first leaves off with some of the most eloquent and beautiful melodies.

The sheer musicianship of these extremely talented individuals shines on all three of the tracks on this sure to be masterpiece! “She Moved Through The Fairway” is a wonderfully fitting piece and concludes the EP. I was left feeling as if I had been to a powerful and thought provoking movie after finishing “Ark”. And I felt so close to this band whom I’ve reviewed twice before. Closer to them than I’ve felt before. After all, this was something near and dear to them, not just a part of history.
Immediately afterward, I watched the video for “Ark” and was touched even more as the music took to vision and the spirit to journey. In a word, “Ark” is breathtaking in every sense of the word. Once again, my hat is off to the band for creating something that is truly special and for sharing a part of history that will forever be remembered in this moving musical testament! God Bless Richard Galloway, his family, his memory, and the families and memories of all who served on The Ark Royal!" - Lee Miller, Bandwagon Network Radio


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