Antony Francis Trew (1906-1996) was born in Pretoria, South Africa.
He left school at 16 to go to sea as an officer cadet with the Union Castle Line and then served as a commission officer in the South African Naval Service followed, from 1926 to 1929. During the Depression he took a series of civilian jobs, and in 1933 became the Transvaal Secretary of the fledgling Automobile Association of South Africa.
During the Second World War he commanded various mine-sweeping and patrol vessels, then, from December 1940, served for a year as Lieutenant-Commander in the 22nd A/S Group, the first South African armed forces unit to enter the Mediterranean theatre.
After two years were spent in a staff job, overseeing the repair of naval vessels in Cape Town, he asked to be seconded to the Royal Navy and after another spell in the Mediterranean he attended the Senior Officers' Staff Course at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Destroyer experience on HMS Versatile led to his own command, HMS Walker, based on the Clyde, which between October 1944 and May 1945 he commanded on four convoy missions and on escort duties to Iceland and the Western Approaches. From May to July 1945 he commanded the six-gun Bird class sloop HMS Cygnet. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for commanding a South African Naval Forces whaler carrying supplies to Tobruk, and a Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Walker, principally employed in protecting Russian convoys in the Arctic.
After the war he rejoined the Automobile Association of South Africa as Secretary-, and later Director-General and his career as a writer of naval adventures and thrillers began late, three years before his retirement in 1966, with the publication of Two Hours to Darkness which was a best-seller, with 3.5 million copies in print in 16 languages. He then settled in Surrey, UK and died at Chertsey in 1996.