Book Review-‘Anglo-Australian Naval Relations, 1945–1975:A more independent service’ by M. Gjessing

By Mark Bailey, published December 2020


The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) grew from the Royal Navy and even today this influence in the RAN’s culture is plain. Naval personnel are different, living and working in manners alien to their society and form a distinct subculture understood by few. Naval personnel are long-term, technically orientated personnel who live and fight isolated aboard ship, having more in common with the personnel of other navies than with their own countrymen. This culture is not understood by those who might pay lip service to the requirements and utility of modern navies, from personnel to maritime strategy.

This well-researched and penetrating book breaks new ground in examining this subject; exploring how new navies develop and mature over time and in changing strategic circumstances. Use of the Anglo-Australian case study is advantageous as the RAN started as a navy formed within the RN in 1913. In this insightful work Mark Gjessing addresses the questions around how a new nation grows a navy, and how it develops to reflect the culture of its society. These are issues intimately linked to the changing strategic circumstances of each nation, a complex, little understood subject. Gjessing builds on earlier pioneering work by Alastair Cooper, and Gjessing’s work will be reinforced when recent scholarship by David Shackleton appears…

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Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Navies

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