In 1868 the first ironclad battleship was launched. In 1918 the German Fleet surrendered at Scapa Flow. In the intervening fifty years the Royal Navy, which had remained unchanged for more than half a century, was completely revolutionised in ships, guns and fighting technique.
Sir William Jameson has chosen to tell this dramatic and complex story in terms of the men responsible for the revolution in the fleet and the war leaders who fought with it.
Henry Keppel took the mid-nineteenth century navy as he found it and happily fought Victoria's little wars with it. 'Tug' Wilson taught the navy that her ships were for fighting and not for show. Charlie Beresford, a fine leader in war and peace, ruined himself by his excursions into politics and his disastrous quarrel with Fisher. And Jacky Fisher himself, the reforming genius, built the new navy and got his own way by the sheer force of his personality and prophetic power of language. Scott antagonised everyone but made sure that his guns hit the target.
Then there were the war-leaders, Jellicoe, Beatty, Tyrwhitt and Keyes, who took the fleet that Fisher built and tested its strength and exposed its weaknesses. The book not only provides biographies on nine great admirals, each complete in itself, but at the same time it links them together so skilfully that it is a fascinating piece of naval history.
"A warm and understanding study in naval leadership, by a sailor endowed with...an intense and intelligent love for the Service of his choice. Add to this a clear mind and a lucid pen, and the resulting book makes most attractive reading" The Listener
ISBN no 1904381286
by William Jameson