Notes: ‘Noble-minded friends and comrades’: Statistical and personal network analysis of Royal Navy officers between 1840 and 1889

By Jorit Wintjes and Isabell Bachmann, published August 2019


The decades between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the Naval Defence Act of 1889  were a significant period of transformation in British in naval history.  Did officers recruited during this period form networks of ‘progressive’ adopters of technology who were at odds with ‘reactionary’ keepers of tradition, and did the ready, or reluctant, adoption of modern technology have an impact on the careers of the respective officers? The purpose of this research note is to sketch out some possible approaches to answering these questions by taking a closer look at the Royal Navy’s officers’ corps of the 1840 to 1889 period. Information about the careers of more than 1,500 officers has been analysed by means of statistical and personal network analysis. This approach offers considerable potential for gaining new insights into how Royal Navy officers reacted to technological progress and the changes it brought with it.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

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