On 10 December 1941, the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese bombers in the South China Sea. Amongst the several hundred men who went down with her was her Captain, John Leach, who had fought against frightful odds and to the very end made the best of an impossible situation with courage and calmness. He embodied the best of the service, and truly was in 'the highest traditions of the Royal Navy'. Matthew B. Wills tells the story of John Leach, and analyses the influences that shaped him and led him ultimately to his heroic end. He traces his life from his time at Royal Naval College Osborne and Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, his relationship with his loyal wife Evelyn, his baptism of fire in the service when he survived a direct shell hit to the bridge where he was standing, and his time as Captain of the Prince of Wales. He describes Leach's role in command in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, during which the Prince of Wales inflicted damage on the Bismarck that contributed to the latter's ultimate destruction, and later off the coast of Malaya during Prince of Wales's ill-fated attempt to intercept Japanese landings. In the Highest Traditions of the Royal Navy presents an authoritative portrait of one of the service's finest, using new research on how failures in navy intelligence were a major factor in the loss of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, and will be of great interest to the general reader and students of the period.