Brian Lavery returns with the second volume of his engaging social history of the Royal Navy's 'lower deck', exploring the world of the seamen (as opposed to the officers of the quarterdeck). In Rule Britannia the author addresses a range of issues central to the evolution of the seaman through 89 years of change, including 'Jacky' Fisher's sweeping reforms and the concept of the 'new seaman'; the rise of stokers, artificers and engineers and the traditional seaman's 'crisis of identity' as the navy moved from sail to steam, and from broadside batteries to sophisticated turrets and fire-control systems; the modernization and standardization of signals and telegraphy; the rise of 'small ships' as a destroyer fleet was created to fulfil new strategic requirements; the creation of the submarine service; the repercussions of the First World War and the grand fleet engagement at Jutland; expressions of discontent such as the infamous Invergordon mutiny; and the lead-up to the Second World War. Readable, engaging and authoritative, it chronicles an important stage in the history of the Royal Navy and illuminates the inherent adaptability of the lower deck, as new technologies demanded increased professionalism, specialization and training. The book also examines the changing social structure of the Navy, and the great demands made on the Service throughout the British Empire.
Author: Brian Lavery
Title: Able Seamen: The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy, 1850-1939
First Published by: Conway Maritime Press Ltd
Date: 20 September 2011