Author Results for

Note: Eight Weeks in the Bristol Channel, 1947

By Peter Thompson

The following account of the fortunes of the Braunton trading ketch Agnes in the brutal winter of 1947 complements the overview, published in The Mariner’s Mirror, of how the Bristol Channel coastwise trade worked through the 15 years that followed the end of the second world war.1 It was compiled by the then mate of […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note:The Etymology of Keelson and Some Fourteenth-century British Evidence for Tacking Gear

By William Sayers

This note examines two entries from royal shipyard account books from the reigns of Edward I and Henry VI that throw light on the use of keels and related timbers, and of wooden sail-trimming gear on ships identified with the Anglo-French term escomer, ‘skimmer’, judged to have been light patrol boats. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Taranto and Naval Air Warfare in the Mediterranean, 1940–1945’ by D. Hobbs

By David Bowen

During the Second World War the Mediterranean remained a strategic lifeline between Britain and the Suez Canal, and thence the oil fields of the Middle East and the resources and manpower of the British Empire. Yet in 1940 it presented a formidable obstacle; from the British base at Gibraltar to its base in Malta was […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘Warship Builders: An industrial history of naval shipbuilding, 1922–1945’ by T. Heinrich

By Evan Mawdsley

This wide-ranging book straddles a range of topics. It will be useful to informed general readers interested in warships and shipbuilding, as well as to economic historians considering the role of the state in wartime. The title (and subtitle) might have been more specific, as much the largest part of the book is about American […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Book Review-‘Warships After London: The end of the treaty era in the five major fleets, 1930–1936’ by J. Jordan

By Christopher W. Miller

Warships After London, John Jordan’s follow-up to 2011’s excellent Warships After Washington, aims to continue the story of naval fleet developments into the 1930s, and more specifically to cover the crucial years of the London Treaty of April 1930. This book, perhaps even more so than its predecessor, captures a period of rapid technological change. […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Churchill’s Admiral in Two World Wars: Admiral of the Fleet Lord Keyes of Zeebrugge and Dover GCB KCVO CMG DSO’ by J. Crossley

By Derek Law

This is the first biography of Roger Keyes for some decades and fills a surprising gap in the literature. Keyes had a hugely successful career and was an archetypal son of the British Empire. Born in India in 1872, where his father was commander of the Punjab Frontier Force, he was one of nine children. […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘The Russian Baltic Fleet in the Time of War and Revolution 1914–1918’ by S. N. Timirev (trs S. Ellis)

By Paul Brown

The First World War was a turbulent time for the Russian navy, rebuilding after the humiliation of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904–5, engaging with the German navy which was supporting the advance of troops into the imperial Russian territories of Lithuania and Latvia, and finally being debilitated by the effects of the 1917 revolution. A […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | WW1
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

Book Review-‘The Kaiser’s U-Boat Assault on America: Germany’s great war gamble in the First World War, by H. J. Koerver

By Innes McCartney

This book by Hans Joachim Koerver is a welcome new addition to histories of the first U-boat war. This is the author’s fifth book to examine aspects of this period. His first three were edited reprints of key Room 40/ NID (Naval Intelligence Division) documents housed at the National Archives, Kew. This included publication in […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

Book Review-‘One of Howard’s: The life and times of John Howard, Maldon shipwright 1849–1915 and a history of shipbuilding in Maldon, by D. Patient,

By Bill Jones

On 30 April 1859, the Illustrated London News commented that ‘there is not much room for the exhibition of naval architecture in a sailing barge’. This was a common perception of vessels which were built as load-carrying workhorses for short sea and river transport, and which were an everyday sight, often in large numbers, in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Britain and the Ocean Road: Shipwrecks and people, 1297–1825’ by I. Friel, Pen

By Jack Pink

Britain’s maritime history is often studied by looking at events on the large scale. Friel’s book does something different. This book tells the individual stories of eight different ships, through which we can get a snapshot of events spanning just over 500 years. This is the first of two volumes employing this approach, with the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘The History of Celestial Navigation: Rise of the Royal Observatory and nautical almanacs’ by P. K. Seidelmann and C. Y. Hohenkerk (eds

By Wolfgang Köberer

Celestial navigation appeared to be dead more than two decades ago with the advent of satellite navigation. The decision of the US government to make GPS available to civilian users and the appearance of affordable GPS receivers rendered celestial methods as obsolete as the lunar distance method that more than a hundred years ago was […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Captain James Cook and the Search for Antarctica’ by J. C. Hamilton

By Frank Scott

James Cook Hamilton is a long-standing member of the Captain Cook Society, has published regularly in their journal and has made great use of the online Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks resource (CORRAL) to inspire this work. The voyages of Captain James Cook have generated a mountain of work, so any new author must […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Antarctic
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘The Company Fortress: Military engineering and the Dutch East India Company in South Asia, 1638–1795, by E. Odegard

By Andrew Lambert

Dutch rule in Asia in the era of the Dutch East India Company (VoC) was sustained by fortified ports and strategic locations, supported with small armies moved by sea to enhance the defences. The failure of any one element in this strategy would bring down the rest. The VoC was a major economic and political […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Eighty Years War: From revolt to regular war, 1568–1648’ by P. Groen (lead ed.), O. van Nimwegen, R. Prud’homme van Reine, L. Sicking and A. van Vliet

By Andrew Lambert

This outstanding contribution integrates scholarship across many fields to address an obvious question: how did the Dutch rebels create the most dynamic state in western Europe while waging a war of independence against the Spanish empire, the military colossus of the age, and what role did war play in that process? It launches a six-volume […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

‘One Torpedo, One Ship’: An appraisal of Otto Kretschmer’s U-boat tactics, 1939–1941

By Michele Magnozzi

Otto Kretschmer was the most successful U-boat commander of the Second World War. While his wartime actions have been narrated several times, his tactics, summarized by the famous motto ‘one torpedo, one ship’, have never been systematically analysed. In this work, Kretschmer’s success is appraised through the analysis of the key characteristics of his attacks, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

British Responses to the US Steam Frigate Fulton the First

By Andrew J. B. Fagal

The launch of the world’s first steam-powered warship in 1814, Fulton the First, heralded the gradual transition from the age of sail to the age of steam. The United States Navy hoped that this ship would break the Royal Navy’s crippling blockade of New York City, but the conflict ended before it ever saw action. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

A Restoration Yacht’s Design Secrets Unveiled: An examination of a ship model with reference to the works of William Sutherland

By Effie Moneypenny & Effie Moneypenny

The design methods for many vessels during the Restoration period (1660–88) are only partially understood. Charles II’s 23 yachts represent the pinnacle of design and construction for small, fast vessels of this era but there are no extant design treatises or draughts relating to any of them. The only primary archaeological data comes from contemporary […] Read More

Filed under: English Civil War
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ship Models & Figureheads

The Fishing Sector in the Atlantic Oceanic Islands and its Role in the Economy of the Canarian Archipelago under the Ancien Régime

By Juan Manuel Santana-Pérez & Germán Santana-Pérez

Commercial fishing has played a critical role in the economy of the different islands of the Atlantic Ocean and those in the Canarian Archipelago in particular. In fact, one of the motives behind the European colonization of the Canaries was to exploit the fishing grounds of the Saharan Bank to satisfy part of the nutritional […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

The Liberty and the London: Fishing for guns, 1650–1665

By David Cressey

Little has been written about the history of English underwater salvage in the mid-seventeenth century. The navy of the 1650s and the 1660s needed divers and salvagers for their expanded operations, especially during wars against the Dutch. Ships sunk deep at sea were irretrievable, but vessels lost near shore in tidal waters could yield recoverable […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘ Mastermind of Dunkirk and D-Day: The vision of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay’ by B. Izzard,

By Richard Harding

Writing a biography of Bertram Ramsay is never going to be easy. Ramsay played a vital role in the most significant amphibious operations in the European theatre during the Second World War. From Dunkirk in 1940 to the opening of the Scheldt in November 1944 Ramsay was a key directing and co-ordinating figure. At the […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘ Warship 2020’ by J. Jordan (ed.),

By Aidan Dodson

Had formal numbering not been dropped in 2016, this would be volume 42 of the annual Warship. It has long since become the premier English-language periodical for the history of warships of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, having long since implicitly shed its original remit of also embracing the fighting ships of the age of […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘ The Modern Cruiser: The evolution of the ships that fought the Second World War’ by R. C. Stern,

By Derek G. Law

he first and very positive thing one notices about this book is the sheer quality of the production. Sumptuous is perhaps too strong a description, but there is a good strong dust jacket which will not fray or tear with shelf wear; the pages are of strong durable near- photographic- quality paper, and the images […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Weapons

Book Review-‘ Silver State Dreadnought: The remarkable story of battleship ‘Nevada’’ by S. M. Younger

By Eric Grove

USS Nevada was one of the first of a new generation of American dreadnoughts. She and her half-sister Oklahoma pioneered ‘all or nothing’ protection and oil burning as designed. She had turbines, but the US Navy was still worried about potential range disadvantages of these power plants and thus made Oklahoma a reciprocating engined vessel, […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Great Britain, International Law, and the Evolution of Maritime Strategic Thought, 1856–1914’ by G. A. Frei

By Matthew S. Seligmann

Until relatively recently the vast majority of studies of the laws of war at sea in the run up to 1914 have focused principally on the question of belligerent rights and the extent to which the future combatants in this conflict, mindful of their expectations of prospective hostilities, had sought to enhance or limit these […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘A Man for All Oceans: Captain Joshua Slocum and the first solo voyage around the world’ by S. Grayson

By Frank Scott

Like many a schoolboy who was mad about sailing, I devoured Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World. Over half a century later this book has come along to show how cleverly he constructed his own legend, and how much of the man himself has remained an enigma. Stan Grayson is a fellow sailor, and […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Robert J. Walker: The history and archaeology of a U.S. Coast Survey steamship’ by J. P. Delgado and S. D. Nagiewicz

By Maddie Philips

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is generally known as an environmental monitoring agency which observes issues as diverse as fisheries manage- ment and severe weather. I will admit that before reading I was not familiar with the agency’s work in the preservation of shipwrecks and other historical maritime sites, nor its predecessor, and […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review- ‘Leith-built Ships, vol. 1, They Once Were Shipbuilders’ by R. O. Neish

By Martin Bellamy

I had high hopes for this book. The important shipbuilding industry of Leith has long needed a comprehensive history. There is a great heritage of distinguished shipbuilders such as Menzies & Co. who built the transatlantic pioneer Sirius, Ramage and Ferguson who built the ill-fated København, and Henry Robb who carried on the shipbuilding tradition […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review- ‘Stormflod 1825’ by B. Poulsen

By Martin Bellamy

The Limfjord is Denmark’s largest fjord and separates the northern tip of Jutland from the rest of the country. This shallow waterway is 180 kilometres long and prior to 1825 it had access to the open sea only through an outlet to the Kattegat on its eastern side. In February 1825, a major North Sea […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Chasing the ‘Bounty’: The voyages of the ‘Pandora’ and the ‘Matavy’’ by D. A. Maxton (ed.)

By James Walters

The story of the Bounty and its problematic ‘green grocery trip’ between 1787 and 1790, has long fascinated authors and historians. Over time, the truth behind the story has sadly become bogged down by a mixture of myth and fiction. The sheer number of plays, films, documentaries, radio programmes, books and news articles are almost […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘Kendall’s Longitude’ by J. Bendall

By Wolfgang Köberer

Chronometers were (and are) expensive instruments, which is the reason why so many of them are preserved and as such items that are one or even two centuries old can still be found in the market and at auctions. Many chronometers, therefore, took part in maritime activity from the third quarter of the eighteenth to […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review-‘ The Stirling Castle, a 70-gun Ship Lost in the Great Storm of 1703: Archaeological investigations 1979–2009 The Maritime Archaeology Monograph, series 4’ by J. Whitewright (ed.)

By Jack Pink

It is no small thing to cover 30 years of archaeological investigations in a single volume. The substantial changes to the management of shipwrecks and developments in archaeological methods make this feat all the more impressive. Despite that considerable time depth, this monograph collates all the relevant material from different field seasons and organisations to […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘ The Master Shipwright’s Secrets: How Charles II built the Restoration navy’ by R. Endsor Osprey

By Paul Brown

nspired by a treatise in Oxford University’s Bodleian Library giving detailed dimensions for a Fourth Rate ship by the Deptford master shipwright John Shish, this is a profusely illustrated history of Restoration ship design and building, focused on the Tyger which was launched at Deptford in 1681. It was nominally a rebuild of the 1647 […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘ Sovereign of the Seas 1637: A reconstruction of the most powerful warship of its day’ by J. McKay

By Andrew Lambert

This elegant book anatomizes a famous ship, combining original scholarship and expert draughting to provide unprecedented access to the structure, art and power of a Stuart icon that established a new standard type. King Charles I ordered the Sovereign of the Seas in 1634 to transcend existing prestige warships, including those of his uncle, King […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Notes:-New Research into the History, Theory and Practice of Naval Wargaming

By James W.E. Smith

It is largely overlooked today that naval war- gaming was a major contributing factor not only to the development of British naval thought but also to strategic theory. In academia and in government, naval wargaming has often been disregarded and its importance to the development of the art and theory of war neglected. It has […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Notes:-Whaler versus Steamer: The pursuit of the Ville de Bordeaux, 1841

By Ian Rodger

The Ville de Bordeaux  was built in Bordeaux in 1836–7 as a man of war for the Brazilian navy. When payment was not forth- coming, it was bought by a group of business- men headed by a M. David and fitted out as a whaler. On 21 February 1837 it embarked on a whaling trip […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Whaling & Fishing

Documents:-The Letters of Commander John Corbett, 1855–1857

By David Peretz

This is an account of two years in the life of (then) Commander John Corbett, constructed from his letters sent home, his sketches and paintings, and contemporary newspaper reports. It starts with the shipwreck of HMS Wolverene in the Caribbean in 1855 and his subsequent court martial in Bermuda. It continues with the commissioning of […] Read More

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

Portugal and the Spanish Civil War at Sea, 1936–1939

By Augusto Salgado

At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, Portugal was already monitoring the political situation in Spain very closely since left-leaning Republican governments were seen to pose a major threat to the regime of António Oliveira Salazar (1889–1970), the dictatorial ruler of Portugal. The ensuing conflict, which would set the standard for […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Interwar
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Bellingshausen in Britain: Supplying the Russian Antarctic expedition, 1819

By Rip Bulkeley

In August and September 1819 the first Russian Antarctic expedition, commanded by Captain Bellingshausen, visited Britain to purchase navigational and scientific instruments, charts and books. Using documents in the Russian Naval Archives, this article describes the visit in detail and reflects on what this information tells us about the framing of the expedition and the […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Antarctic
Subjects include: Logistics | Science & Exploration

Abolition, the West India Colonies and the Troubling Case of Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, 1807–1823

By S.A.Cavell

As commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands station in 1807, Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane became principal enforcer of the new Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. He was also a plantation and slave owner with much to lose from upholding the law. By manipulating distinctions between apprentices and enslaved labour, Cochrane served his own […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

Aboard a Rudderless Ship: Replacing stern rudders mid-voyage in the English and French navies, 1750–1850

By Anatauarii Leal-Tamarii & Emmanuel Nantet

The stern rudder presents a formidable challenge to the power of the sea. Already extant by the twelfth century in the Frisian region, it has long been compared with the quarter rudder of antiquity. Past scholarly studies have focused almost entirely on the reasons for its creation, ignoring the complex evolution of this steering system. […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘The New Coastal History: Cultural and environmental perspectives from Scotland and beyond’ by Jamin Wells

By Jamin Wells

Our coasts matter. They are among the most populated, sought after, contested, and dynamic landscapes in the world. They are also among the least understood, at least by historians. The 17 essays in David Worthington’s tightly edited volume, begin to fill this gap in the scholarship while making an impassioned case for readers to ‘accept […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Period | North Sea | Irish Sea | Eighteenth Century | Other (Twentieth C) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Combat at Close Quarters: An illustrated history of the US Navy in the Vietnam War’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

The Vietnam War is not normally seen as a maritime conflict. Yet it was in many ways. Not only was much of the air campaign against North Vietnam and the Communists in the south launched from aircraft carriers but there were huge efforts devoted to maritime interdiction operations, shore bombardment and a riverine campaign that […] Read More

Filed under: Location | Period | Post WW2 | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘U-boat Ace: The story of Wolfgang Lüth; Teddy Suhren Ace of Aces: Memoirs of a U-boat rebel; U-boat 977: The true story of the U-Boat that escaped to Argentina’ by David Bowen

By David Bowen

This is a small wolf pack of U-boat books which share a number of similarities. They all come from the Pen and Sword stable, share a high production quality and are new editions of works already published … Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Period | North Sea | WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Submarines

Book Review -‘Progressives in Navy Blue: Maritime strategy, American empire and the transformation of US naval identity 1873–1998’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the United States navy was transformed. The ‘old navy’ of wooden cruisers devoted to constabulary duties and monitors to be mobilized for coast defence was transformed into a steel navy primarily organized for war. Its capabilities were demonstrated against Spain in 1898. This has traditionally been seen […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Other (Twentieth C) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Review – ‘Britain and the Mine, 1900–1915: Culture, strategy and international law’ by Matthew S. Seligmann

By Matthew S. Seligmann

Underwater weapons – specifically, mines and torpedoes – have had a profound influence on twentieth-century naval warfare. Despite this, studies of them to date have not been all they might be. Richard Dunley seeks to rectify this in respect of the mine with a major evaluation of its place in Royal Navy thinking and planning […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Period | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Book Review – ‘French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626–1786: Design, construction, careers and fates’ by Benjamin W. D. Redding

By Benjamin W. D. Redding

In this new study on French warships, that covers the period from the appointment of Gaspard de Coligny, Cardinal de Richelieu to the post of grande maître de la navigation in 1626 to the revolutionary era, Rif Winfield and Stephen S. Roberts provide a detailed and desirable study of French naval strength. The book is the second […] Read More

Filed under: Period | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Review – ‘The Portuguese in the Creole Indian Ocean: Essays in historical cosmopolitanism’ by Markus Vink

By Markus Vink

Using the work of French Réunion historian Françoise Vergès, ‘Indian-Oceanic Creolizations: Processes and practices of creolization on Réunion Island’ (in C. Stewart, Creolization: History, ethnography, theory Walnut Creek ca, 2007, 133–52) as an entry point, Fernando Rosa, a research affiliate in the English department at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and self-described ‘displaced Brazilian scholar’ (p. 39), presents […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The Deptford Royal Dockyard and Manor of Sayes Court, London: Excavations 2000–12’ by Ann Coats

By Ann Coats

This large-format monograph melds historical narrative and specialist archaeological reports into a very readable account of the ‘largest- ever excavation of a British naval dockyard’ (p. xviii). It is fitting that a leading maritime history journal should review this, as the scope of its archaeological processes and breadth of its findings are indispensable to mainstream […] Read More

Filed under: Period | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Archaeology | Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review – ‘Navigation on Wood: Wooden navigational instruments 1590–1731: an analysis of early modern Western instruments for celestial navigation, their origins, mathematical concepts and accuracies’ by Wolfgang Köberer

By Wolfgang Köberer

Reviewing the literature one notices, though, that a certain class of instruments has not received the attention one would expect with regard to the fact that it was in wide use since the end of the sixteenth well into the eighteenth century: the wooden instruments developed from the cross-staff and its variants. They were, of […] Read More

Filed under: Period | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘Allan Sekula: Okeanos’ by Christiaan de Beukelaer

By Christiaan de Beukelaer

OKEANOS is a posthumous solo-exhibition of Allan Sekula’s maritime-themed œuvre. Allan Sekula (1951–2013), an American documentary photographer and theorist worked on an array of topics and themes. But one of the most significant foci of his work remains the political economy of seafaring. The book OKEANOS illustrates, documents, and discusses several projects that focus on shipping in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘US Naval Strategy and National Security: The Evolution of American Maritime Power’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

Dr Sebastian Bruns is head of the Center for Maritime Strategy and Security at the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel. Together with the American Center for Naval Analyses he founded the annual Kiel International Seapower Symposium and associated workshop during Kiel Week in June and was co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of […] Read More

Filed under: Period | Other (Twentieth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The US Navy: A concise history’ by Johan Francke

By Johan Francke

In this concise history, Craig L. Symonds describes, among other issues, the role played by political decisions and political debate in the formation of the US Navy and, similarly, the influence of technological innovation. For the supporters of maritime policy, the importance of the navy was a matter of projecting state power and self-confidence. Others […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | American Revolution | Post WW2 | American Civil War | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review – ‘Liverpool Docks: A short history’ by Martin Bellamy

By Martin Bellamy

Much has been written on Liverpool’s docks in recent years, particularly through the ground- breaking work of Adrian Jarvis. A welcome addition to this would be a short publicly accessible survey that provided non-specialist readers with a useful introduction. I think that was the intention of this new book (by David Paul). A recent trip […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Eighteenth Century | Other (Twentieth C) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review – ‘Blue Versus Purple: The US Naval War College, the Soviet Union, and the new enemy in the Pacific, 1946’ by Jonathan P. Klug

By Jonathan P. Klug

Most surveys of the Second World War mention pre-war planning efforts, especially the US planning efforts involving Orange, the American code name for Imperial Japan. While the various incarnations of War Plan Orange were important, the processes of planning and conducting war games were arguably even more important. For over 40 years US Naval War […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Battleship Holiday: The naval treaties and capital ship design’ by Robert J. C. Mowat

By Robert J. C. Mowat

This is a book which belies its title, and is much the better for doing so. The successive treaties that define the title enter the narrative late (p. 87) and leave it early (p. 188) but are discussed in commendable detail. The complex interplay of personalities, national objectives and priorities, economic limitations and developing technologies […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel | North Sea | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Destroyer at War: The fighting life and loss of HMS ‘Havock’ from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean 1939–1942’; ‘A Hard Fought Ship: The story of HMS ‘Venomous’’ by Derek Law

By Derek Law

These two excellent books relate the stories of two Second World War destroyers. Havock was at the centre of the action from her commissioning and was almost worked to death after only five years of very active service, literally bursting at the seams. Venomous was also an active ship, but also a lucky ship, with a near 30-year […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The Boat that Won the War: An illustrated history of the Higgins LCVP’ by John T. Kuehn

By John T. Kuehn

This book by Charles C. Roberts Jr. reminds one of a hard-copy, technical version of one of the Men-at-Arms series of books by Osprey, except that the hero here is not a man, but rather a small vessel, the Landing Craft Vehicle-Personnel, otherwise known to history as the ‘Higgins Boat’. This book is not an […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The Royal Navy in the Age of Austerity 1919–22: Naval and foreign policy under Lloyd George’ by Richard Dunley

By Richard Dunley

The historiography of the Royal Navy in the periods before and during the First World War has grown and developed in an extraordinary fashion over the past 10 to 15 years. This has fundamentally changed how we view the organization which fought the conflict from a political, social, technological and strategic perspective. This development tends […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Interwar | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Forty Years Master: A life in sail and steam’ by Frank Scott

By Frank Scott

The title of this autobiography, Forty Years Master, sums up the dominating theme in Killman’s recollections: being in command of a merchant ship for four decades. This is also its structure, ship by ship, and the style, ‘authoritative’. The autobiographical text occupies 250 pages, and the remaining 100 pages are taken up the editorial team, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines

Book Review – ‘We Die Like Brothers: The sinking of the SS ‘Mendi’’ by Clifford J. Pereira

By Clifford J. Pereira

The SS Mendi sank off the Isle of Wight in 1917, with the loss of over 600 South African passengers. The book underlines one of a number of instances where the courage and determination of men from the empire lost their lives through a mixture of incompetency and accident. However, it is the aspirations for […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review – ‘Coastal Patrol: Royal Navy Airship operations during the Great War 1914–1918’ by Frank Scott

By Frank Scott

This is a niche topic, but the author, Brian J. Turpin, has a solid grounding in aviation technology, and does an excellent job in detailing the rapid wartime development of the Royal Navy’s non-rigid airship types, from the earliest Submarine Scouts, through to the Sea Scout Zeros and Coastals, and ending with the well-regarded North […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel
Subjects include: Naval Aviation

Book Review – ‘Around Cape Horn Once More: The story of the French clipper ship ‘Montebello’’ by Frank Scott

By Frank Scott

This book centres on the life of the French barque Montebello (2,284 grt) from launch in October 1900 until it was wrecked in November 1906. The use of old postcards to illustrate places mentioned in the text works well, and the wreck photographs of the Montebello and Croisset are suitably poignant. However, the author, Paul Simpson, writes throughout […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Other (Twentieth C) | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘People, Place, and Power on the Nineteenth-Century Waterfront: Sailortown’ by Isaac Land

By Isaac Land

This book is the first serious effort to synthesize the disparate studies on this topic and relate it to larger interpretive frameworks. Readers will find rich, vivid accounts here of the costs and benefits of desertion, of boarding houses reputable and otherwise, and of efforts to investigate and reform the waterfront. Although Graeme J. Milne […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The First Atlantic Liner: Brunel’s Great Western steamship’ by W. Mark Hamilton

By W. Mark Hamilton

Helen Doe has written a marvellous new book on the early years of transatlantic passenger traffic, with special reference to the Great Western steamship. Her examination is from the perspective of the cultural and social historian and not the technical maritime specialist, but the reader is informed of the numerous technical challenges of early steamship travel. The Great […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘My Inestimable Friend: An account of the life of Rear-Admiral William Brown (1764–1814)’ by Thomas Malcomson

By Thomas Malcomson

The path of William Brown from captain’s servant to rear-admiral is the subject of this book, by retired surgeon Alastair R. Brown, William’s great-great grandson. This is a good story, fleshed out with an abundance of archival material. William Brown’s numerous interactions with some of the greatest naval officers of the era and his brushes […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

Book Review – ‘The Late Lord: The life of John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham’ by Richard Harding

By Richard Harding

John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham (1756–1835) has not come down to posterity as one of the great figures of British history. There is in Gibraltar still some evidence of his time as governor of the Rock (1821–5), but beyond this there is little to remind people of a man who hovered around the political […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Navies

Book Review – ‘The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker dwarf who became the first revolutionary abolitionist’ by Johan Francke

By Johan Francke

Marcus Rediker, Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh and Senior Research Fellow at the Collège d’études mondiales/Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris, encountered the remarkable story of the abolitionist Benjamin Lay while working on The Many Headed Hydra, reading Lay’s magnum opus All Slave-Keepers that Keep the Innocent in Bondage, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century | Other (Eighteenth C) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Biography | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570–1740’ by Johan Francke

By Johan Francke

The Navigation Act of 1696 made provision for more Vice-Admiralty Courts in America. This resulted simultaneously in the objection of local councils and mutual accusations of piracy amongst them. When Parliament introduced the Act for the More Effectual Suppression of Piracy in 1700, the tide definitively turned and what had been tolerated by officials for […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern) | Pirates | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review – ‘Pudding Pan: A Roman shipwreck and its cargo in context’ by Robert J. C. Mowat

By Robert J. C. Mowat

The ‘Pudding Pan wreck’ discovery is of extreme significance in the development of British archaeology, both general and maritime, but remains little understood. This comprehensive and authoritative re-publication of the scattered evidence by Michael Walsh is long overdue, but leaves its significance unclear. Essentially, the ‘discovery’ refers to the repeated recovery of intact vessels of […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | North Sea | Eighteenth Century | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review – ‘British Box Business: A history of OCL’ by René Taudal Poulsen

By René Taudal Poulsen

In the 1950s container shipping was pioneered by US and Australian companies in their domestic trades, and by the mid-1960s it diffused internationally. In order to ensure survival, European shipping lines with strongholds in most liner trades were forced to respond quickly. They became second movers in the process of innovation. British Box Business focuses on […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Naval Warfare: A global history’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

I have to admit to have been putting off reading and reviewing this book; I am grateful to the reviews editor for his forbearance. The reason is that I know, like and admire Professor Jeremy Black of Exeter University, one of the most prolific serious historical authors in the world with more than a hundred […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | WW2 | Post WW2 | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Submarines

Book Review -‘The Luckiest Thirteen: The forgotten story of the men of St Finbarr – a trawler crew’s battle in the Arctic’ by Frank Scott

By Frank Scott

Brian W. Lavery has followed up The Headscarf Revolutionaries, his account of the ‘Hull Triple-Trawler Tragedy’ of 1968, with this story of an earlier Hull trawler tragedy. This time the vessel involved was one of the most modern in the fleet, a stern trawler that had revolutionized British fishing by allowing the entire catch to be […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review – ‘RMS ‘Queen Mary’: The final voyage’ by David Bowen

By David Bowen

This book was published on the fiftieth anniversary of the retirement of the famous Cunard passenger liner Queen Mary. This ship was launched by Cunard to keep pace with fierce foreign competition on the transatlantic run, and started life in 1930 on the stocks at the Clydebank yard of John Brown and was known then prosaically […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘The Victoria Cross Wars: Battles, campaigns and conflicts of all the VC heroes’ by Adam Prime

By Adam Prime

This is not the first book to be concerned with the Victoria Cross nor will it be the last, the acts of bravery which are recognized by the award continue to captivate those interested in military history. What sets this book apart from the others is that it offers insight into every war in which […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | WW2 | Crimean War | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Navies

Book Review – ‘Wartime Standard Ships’ by Norman Friedman

By Norman Friedman

Standardized merchant ships, particularly the Liberties, contributed enormously both to Allied victory in the Second World War and to post-war recovery. This is the first book to gather together the emergency shipbuilding programmes of the major combatants, making it possible for the reader to contrast the different approaches taken. Author Nick Robins describes the First […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The War in the North Sea: The Royal Navy and the Imperial German Navy 1914–1918’ by Harold N. Boyer

By Harold N. Boyer

In addition to grand strategy, author Quintin Barry discusses the ships of both fleets as they existed in August 1914 and then throughout the war, as well as the state of officers and ratings. This book is heavily detailed, documented, and most interesting while bringing a four-year struggle under one cover. The only criticism offered […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Churchill and Fisher: Titans at the Admiralty’ by Thomas Malcomson

By Thomas Malcomson

Barry Gough’s latest book delves deeply into the dynamic and rollercoaster relationship between Sir Winston Churchill and Admiral Lord ‘Jacky’ Fisher, from the years leading up to and through the First World War. Gough’s goal is to present a thorough accounting of the British navy’s preparation for and endeavours during that conflict, without the ‘preference […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Seaforth World Naval Review 2020’ by C. Waters (ed.)

By Eric Grove

For over ten years Seaforth, the thriving maritime dimension of Pen and Sword of Barnsley, have published an annual review of naval developments. This is the latest edition published at the end of 2019. The book begins with an editor’s introduction, followed by regional reviews, of, respectively, North and South America; Asia and the Pacific; […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘Jimmy Reid: A Clyde-built man’ by W. W. J. Knox and A. McKinlay

By Fred M. Walker

n studying the history of the Clyde, one is amazed at the numbers of the ‘great and the good’ who enabled this river to produce more than 30,000 ships in a mere 200 years. This list encompasses naval architects, marine engineers and shipbuilders – most with academic training and some others who had worked their […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘British Town Class Cruisers: Design, development and performance, Southampton and Belfast classes’ by C. Waters

By Aidan Dodson

Between 1937 and 1939 the Royal Navy commissioned ten cruisers armed with a dozen 6-inch guns and named after British cities. Originally to be named after mythological beings and dubbed the Minotaur class, they then became the Southampton and ‘Improved Southampton’/Belfast classes but, especially after the loss of the name-ship, have regularly been dubbed the […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Anatomy of the Ship: The battleship USS ‘Iowa’’ by S. Draminski

By David Bowen

Commissioned in 1943, the United States Ship Iowa was the lead ship of a class of six that were destined to be the very last US battleships; indeed only four of the class were subsequently built. Formidably armed, well armoured and handsome, they were the fastest battleships ever built, with a maximum speed of 33 […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘The Longest Campaign: Britain’s maritime struggle in the Atlantic and northwest Europe, 1939–1945’ by B. E. Walter

By Derek Law

Brian Walter is a retired army officer and has researched military history for many years. His new history takes a rather different approach to the already huge literature on the Royal Navy’s war against Germany. It employs a conventional chronological structure but is rather more than a straightforward history of events. It is full of […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review-‘Black Swan Class Sloops: Detailed in the original builder’s plans’ by L. Brown

By David Andrews

This is a beautifully produced book, the sixth in the series by Seaforth Publishing of significant warships of the first half of the last century. All the earlier books by different authors could be said to be of major warships (from the famous HMS Warspite, of Jutland and Second World War fame, to the German […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Sighted Sub – Sank Same: The United States Navy’s air campaign against the U-boat’ by A. C. Care

By David Hobbs

The Battle of the Atlantic has been the focus of attention for many historians and the subject’s historiography is a wide and complex one. The International Naval Conference held in Liverpool in 1993 to mark the 50th anniversary of the battle’s turning point in favour of the Allies was probably the largest assembly of historians […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

Book Review-‘Hard Down! Hard Down! The life and times of Captain John Isbester from Shetland’ by J. Isbester

By Tom Muir

‘I suddenly heard a loud roaring sound of wind – the captain at the same moment, looked up . . . The next instant he made one bound out of the cabin, ran up on deck, and shouted “Hard down! Hard down!” ’ The life of a sailing ship master in the late nineteenth and […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘British Dockyards in the First World War: Transactions of the Naval Dockyards Society Volume 12’ by P. MacDougall (ed.)

By Andy Brockman

In his post-war study of the First World War, The World In Crisis (vol. 1, 1911–14) the former First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, observed drily that during the ‘naval scare’ of 1909, ‘The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight.’ This was a response to […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review-‘The Cod Hunters’ by J. Goodlad

By Tom Muir

This book tells an extraordinary tale of nineteenth-century social life in the North Atlantic, the hardships and triumphs of ordinary people. Cod fishing was seen as being a particularly hard job, and with good reason. It was not a hollow boast that the ‘cod hunters’ were dubbed ‘iron men in wooden boats’. The cod fisheries […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Soltando amarras: La costa noratlántica ibérica en la Edad Moderna’ by M. Garcia Hurtado

By Richard Harding

Over the last 70 years the decline of fishing and the heavy maritime industries has hit many of the coastal regions of Europe extremely hard. Some local and national governments, looking to stimulate new investment, have supported a wide range of cultural projects. One of the beneficiaries of this policy is maritime history. Those declining […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Catastrophe at Spithead: The sinking of the ‘Royal George’’ by H. L. Rubinstein

By John M. Bingeman

Hilary Rubinstein’s in-depth research has successfully collated all the relevant information to explain why the 100-gun Royal George should have foundered on 29 August 1782 while at anchor between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Certainly, to the many witnesses it was beyond belief that she could just disappear with only her mast visible in […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Neptune’s Laboratory: Fantasy, fear and science at sea’ by A. Adler

By Michael Roberts

In five comprehensively researched chapters, Neptune’s Laboratory manages to provide a detailed account on the development of ocean science as a unique and highly complex discipline, coupled with an intriguing and thought-provoking insight into humanity’s developing relationship with the marine environment. The book provides succinct yet detailed accounts on how individual pioneering research efforts, initially […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Roger of Lauria (c. 1250–1305), Admiral of Admirals’ by C. D. Stanton

By Susan Rose

Roger of Lauria, the commander of the galley fleets of the Kingdom of Aragon in the last years of the thirteenth century, was portrayed as a great hero by many contemporary chroniclers of his exploits. He has also been much lauded by modern historians writing on the naval aspects of the War of the Sicilian […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Whales’ Bones of Africa and Asia (with addenda to Whales’ Bones of the Nordic Countries, Central and Eastern Europe)’ by N. Redman

By Arthur G. Credland

This is the eighth and final volume in a series begun in 2004 with an account of bones from the British Isles, and completes a gazetteer of the seven continents, plus an additional publication recording the peregrinations of the Oostende whale (2015). These works comprise an invaluable record of surviving whalebone arches, furniture and a […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘War at Sea: A shipwrecked history from antiquity to the twentieth century’ by J. Delgado

By Innes McCartney

The author of this book has been a practising archaeologist for over 40 years. During that time he has been fortunate enough to have partaken in and reported on a very diverse range of maritime archaeology projects around the globe. He is an engaging fixture at conferences and has been for many years a long-standing […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review: ‘Squadron: Ending the African slave trade’ by Clifford J. Pereira

By Clifford J. Pereira

It is refreshing to read an abolitionary narrative that is not focused on the Atlantic, but instead on the much older and longer-lasting Indian Ocean trade in enslaved Africans. Author John Broich takes an interesting though challenging angle, preferring to anchor the narrative around four personalities: Leopold Heath, George Sulivan, Edward Meara and Philip Colomb. […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review: ‘British Shipping in the Mediterranean During the Napoleonic Wars: The untold story of a successful adaptation’ by Thomas Malcomson

By Thomas Malcomson

The fourth volume in Brill’s Studies in Maritime History is provided by Katerina Galani. Her study of British merchant shipping in the Mediterranean, between 1770 and 1815, pushes aside elements of our earlier understanding of the growth, organizational development, and the influence of war in this landlocked sea. Though focusing on British merchant trade, the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

Book Review: ‘Strange Vernaculars: How eighteenth-century slang, cant, provincial languages, and nautical jargon became English’ by Bill Jones

By Bill Jones

English in the eighteenth century was being invaded by ‘alien’ languages and dialects, and it is these which Janet Sorensen analyses in Strange Vernaculars. She focuses on three ‘languages’ in her study: the ‘cant’ of the criminal underworld, the provincial dialects of, especially, the labouring classes, and finally the ‘nautical jargon’ of sailors. It is […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review: ‘A Cromwellian Warship Wrecked Off Duart Castle, Mull Scotland, in 1653’ by Robert J. C. Mowat

By Robert J. C. Mowat

In recent years, Armada wrecks, East Indiamen and others of less clear historical context have been investigated by excavation alongside the (putative) Swan (1653) and the Dartmouth (1690) which stranded on opposite sides in the eastern entrance to the Sound of Mull. The principal credit for this major development in Scottish, maritime and post-medieval archaeology falls to the author […] Read More

Filed under: Location | English Civil War | Irish Sea | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies

Book Review: ‘The Sea in History: The early modern world’ by Benjamin W. D. Redding

By Benjamin W. D. Redding

In many regards, Océanides, from which this text is a product, is a leading programme that ensures that maritime history has a prominent role in the popular discipline of spatial studies. Its main objective, developed in 2010, has anthropological under-pinnings by seeking to determine the sea’s role in the ‘diversification and development of populations’. This […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review: ‘The Other Norfolk Admirals: Myngs, Narbrough and Shovell’ by Sam McLean

By Sam McLean

In this book retired consultant anaesthetist Simon Harris discusses the careers of three important Royal Navy flag officers in the period 1660 to 1707: Christopher Myngs, John Narborough (or Narbrough) and Cloudesley Shovell. The book begins with a short description of the lives of the three admirals before they joined the Royal Navy; however it […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Period | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Biography | Navies

Book Review-‘The Battle of Tsushima’ by P. Carradice,

By Andrew Choong Han Lin

This book aims to offer a fresh perspective on the famous naval battle which took place between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Imperial Russian Navy in May 1905. However, for various reasons the book falls short of this goal and unfortunately adds little, if anything, to the existing body of published literature on the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘From Hunter to Hunted: The U-Boat war in the Atlantic, 1939–1943’ by B. Edwards

By https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00253359.2020.1780799?needAccess=true

Battle of the Atlantic literature is mature, or perhaps to borrow a term from obstetrics, post-mature. In the beginning were the staff and official histories, written by those with expert knowledge and, sometimes, direct experience: staff histories did not see the general light of day for several decades and the key official history from the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Submarines | Weapons

Book Review-‘Spoils of War: The fate of enemy fleets after the two World Wars’ by A. Dodson and S. Cant

By Innes McCartney

This most interesting new publication by Aidan Dodson and Serena Cant has been aimed at filling a long-noted gap in the histories of the fleets of the defeated nations of the First and Second World Wars after hostilities had ceased, describing the ultimate fates of the surrendered vessels by destruction and accident. It serves as […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Post WW2
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘Ships of the Chester River: Shipbuilding on the Dee from Chester to the Point of Ayr 1800–1942’ by R. Martin

By Fred M. Walker

This is a detailed and well-researched analysis of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century shipbuilding on the River Dee at Chester and at small ports on the western bank of the Dee Estuary. These ports are all in the former Welsh county of Flintshire, now merged into Clwyd. Ship construction flourished here in six or seven different […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Pearls, People, and Power: Pearling and Indian Ocean worlds’ by P. Machado, S. Mullins, and J. Christensen (eds)

By Markus Vink

Although the history of pearling goes back at least 7,000 years, it was not until the late eighteenth century that the fishery began to exert a stronger formative role through the interplay of local and regional political conditions and increasing engagement with the world’s markets and rising pearl prices. The transformative period of the global […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘A Furious Sky: The five-hundred-year history of America’s hurricanes’ by E. J. Dolin

By Ian R. Stone

This book is exactly what it purports to be: a straightforward and popular account of the effects of the various large hurricanes that have impacted on the United States over the last 500 years and of the various characters, often seeming to be somewhat larger than life, who were involved in actions during them, in […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Britain’s Island Fortresses: Defence of the empire 1756–1956’ by [W.] Clements

By Andy Brockman

The so called ‘castle doctrine’ was put perhaps most famously by the great English jurist Sir Edward Coke when he wrote in a legal opinion of 1604, ‘the house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose.’ Coke’s comment […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Other (Twentieth C) | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Archaeology | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Tussen honger en zwaard. Nederlands Atlantische rijk in de zeventiende eeuw ‘ by W. Klooster

By Gijs Rommelse

In the Netherlands, in common with other Western countries, the colonial past has during the last ten years become the subject of an emotionally charged and strongly polarizing debate. More than the historical facts and developments themselves, their significance for present and future generations has become the most important element of the discussions. This has […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Boundless Sea: A human history of the oceans’ by D. Abulafia

By Richard Channon

t was announced as this review was being written that The Boundless Sea has won the 2020 Wolfson Prize, which is regarded as the United Kingdom’s most prestigious history prize, for ‘excellence in research with readability’. The Wolfson judges have summarized this book as ‘history on the grandest scale, and from a bracingly different perspective’. […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Human Spatial Navigation’ by A. D. Ekstrom,H. J. Spiers, V. D. Bohbot, and R. S.Rosenbaum

By Lawrrence Rosen

How good are you at navigating? Not with a compass or sextant, but just with your own sense of direction and clues from your surround. Do we, like many other animal species – whether as a dominant trait in some individuals or as a vestigial whisper in others – have an innate directional finder that […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Red Crew: Fighting the war on drugs with Reagan’s Coast Guard’ by J. Howe

By Richard Harding

In the early 1980s the Reagan administration was faced by a problem of border control on its south-eastern maritime frontier. Drug smuggling was causing serious concern as seizures rose dramatically in the late 1970s, indicating a rising trend in the traffic. People smuggling, particularly from Haiti, was also ringing alarm bells. In 1981 a permanent […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard

Book Review-‘Bloody Sixteen: The USS ‘Oriskany’ and the Air Wing 16 during the Vietnam War’ by P. Fey

By Ben Jones

This book is a first-class addition to the historiography of the role played by naval aviation during the Vietnam War. Peter Fey has catalogued the operations of the USS Oriskany and Carrier Air Wing 16 in meticulous detail throughout their three tours between 1965 and 1968. Not only is the reader drawn into a gripping […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘Seven at Santa Cruz’ by T. Edwards

By Eric Grove

A book with the subtitle ‘The Life of Fighter Ace Stanley ‘Swede’ Vejtasa’ might seem an odd one for The Mariner’s Mirror but nothing can be further from the truth. During the twentieth century, the air dimension of maritime operations grew to be of central importance. Understanding the aviation dimension has become key to researching […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘How Carriers Fought: Carrier operations in WWII’ by L. Celander

By Ben Jones

The key objective of this book is to present an understanding of how carrier battles were conducted during the Second World War. By the author’s admission, it is written ‘from the perspective of a commander, a tactician, a system’s engineer or an analyst, not a traditional historian’. (p.vii). In what sets the scene for this […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘This Is No Drill: The history of NAS Pearl Harbor and the Japanese attacks of 7 December 1941’ by J. M. Wenger,

By Andrew Choong

This Is No Drill is the second volume of the Pearl Harbor Tactical Studies Series published by the Naval Institute Press. Where the first focused on the experience of the naval air station at Kaneohe Bay on the eastern side of O’ahu, this book shifts the attention to the other main naval airbase on Ford […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘Castaways of the Kriegsmarine’ by D. Nudd

By Innes McCartney

This book examines the survivors of five vessels of the Kriegsmarine as the British shifted them through the interrogation process after capture. All were sunk in late 1943 and early 1944, a period of intense activity for the naval team at Combined Services Detailed Intelligence Centre (CSDIC). Whereas the use of stool pigeons, secret recordings […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Battleship ‘Warspite’: Detailed in the original builders’ plans’ by R. Brown

By Michael Leek

The vast collection of ships draughts and other plans held by the National Maritime Museum (NMM) was first introduced to this reviewer by the late David Lyon in the 1960s. This was in the days when the excellent reading room of the Caird Library and draughtroom were open on Saturdays. During my early visits, David […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Trading by the Wind: Sea diaries 1919–1923’ by G. Wicksteed, edited by B. Tyler

By Frank Scott

Godfrey Wicksteed (1899–1997) came from a prominent dissenting family with Quaker connections, so it is no surprise that he became a conscientious objector in the First World War, though taking the option of enlisting in what was still the Merchant Service was not common. There his service was as deck boy and ordinary seaman with […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘How the Navy Won the War: The real instrument of victory, 1914–1918’ by J. Ring

By David G. Morgan-Owen

Debates over what role British seapower might play in a European conflict long preceded the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The idea that sea power might enable Britain to limit her military commitment to the Continent remained an alluring prospect throughout the conflict, and has proven no less attractive to many commentators […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘The United States Merchant Marine in WorldWar I: Ships, crews, shipbuilders and operators’ by G. H. Williams

By Martin Bellamy

This book aims to provide the first complete overview of the American Merchant Marine in the First World War. The author has drawn on contemporary newspapers, magazines, trade publications and official records to trace the history of how America responded as a neutral power in trading through a war zone and then the official response […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Book review – ‘Dive Scapa Flow; Dive Palau: The shipwrecks’ by Innes McCartney

By Innes McCartney

These two offerings by Rod Macdonald represent some of the best of the current crop of shipwreck guides for recreational divers. As a genre, this type of literature can be traced back to the dawn of sports diving in the middle of the last century. These books serve their market very well. Recreational divers seeking […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | WW2 | Twentieth Century | Pacific | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review – ’21st Century Gorshkov: The challenge of seapower in the modern era’ by Geoffrey Till

By Geoffrey Till

21st Century Gorshkov is the latest in a series of short edited collections of the writing of a variety of naval figures, the purpose of which, in the words of the series editor, is to provide ‘modern perspective to the great strategists and military philosophers of the past, placing their writings, principles and theories within modern […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Shipwreck Hunter: A lifetime of extraordinary discoveries on the ocean floor’ by Innes McCartney

By Innes McCartney

David Mearns will be well known to many readers as a shipwreck hunter with a very successful track record going back over three decades. The Shipwreck Hunter is an autobiographical account of Mearns’s fascinating life which focuses primarily on his work on just nine of his most famous shipwreck discoveries and investigations. From student of marine biology […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Biography

Book Review – ‘Polar Mariner: Beyond the limits in Antarctica’ by Bill Jones

By Bill Jones

Captain Thomas Woodfield had a remarkable career at sea. After a year at the Warsash School of Navigation, then under the command of the redoubtable Captain Wakeford, he served an apprenticeship in merchant ships, until in the early 1950s he obtained a junior officer’s posting to an Antarctic research ship, the Royal Research Ship Shackleton. There […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century | Antarctic
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review-‘Mr Midshipman VC: The short accident-prone life of George Drewry, Gallipoli hero’ by Q. Falk

By Alastair Wilson

I must be getting old. It took two days for the penny to drop, before I ‘twigged’ the derivation of the title, connecting it to Marryat’s immortal midshipman. This is not an academic biography. Rather it is more like one of those boy’s books, by G.A. Henty or Percy F. Westerman, which encouraged all right-minded […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Sound of Hunger: One German family’s chronicle of the chivalry, politics, lies, murder and aftermath of war’ by C. Heal

By Eric C. Rust

Among the tsunami of publications commemorating the centennial of the First World War, Chris Heal’s broadly conceived reconstruction of the lives of two of the Kaiser’s U-boat commanders, the brothers Erich and Georg Gerth, occupies an unusual, if at times awkward, unbalanced and overstated place among recent writings on that theme. Heal describes himself as […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Learning War: The evolution of fighting doctrine in the US Navy, 1898–1945’ by T. Hone

By Derek G. Law

Trent Hone is an established author with several published works on the development of the modern US Navy (USN). This new book brings fresh and original lateral thinking on how the USN faced the challenges of learning how to fight, particularly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The traditional view of how the USN […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘This Noble Ship and Others’ by J. M. Anderson,

By Jan Drent

The demand for shipping was growing at a rate of 4.2 per cent per year in the second half of the nineteenth century as long-haul trades developed to move grain, wool and other textiles and coal between the Britain, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. It was also an era of steady improvement in vessel types […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Brunels’s Ships and Boats’ by H. Doe

By Michael Leek

Having worked with both the late Dr Ewan Corlett and Richard Goold-Adams on the SS Great Britain during her restoration, including a paper for this journal on the ship’s original rig, this reviewer awaits with keen anticipation any new study that highlights the achievements of one of Britain’s finest civil engineers. However, this brief illustrated […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Greenwich and its Lost Hospitals: Havens of maritime welfare’ by G. C. Cook

By Brian Vale

Professor Cook is a distinguished physician with international experience. Since 2002, he has served as honorary archivist to the Seamen’s Hospital Society (SHS), and it is in this appointment that the genesis of this book lies. The SHS was a charitable institution founded in 1821 to provide medical services to seamen. It operated from three […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration

Book Review-‘The War Against the Pirates: British and American suppression of Caribbean piracy in the early nineteenth century’ by B. Gough andC. Borras

By Benjamin Arnstrong

The recent rise in piracy studies has moved the history of maritime crime and oceanic security beyond the popular history or swashbuckling romantic tales of misunderstood men and women on the seven seas. Examinations of the economics of piracy, the motivations of individual sailors and captains, and how these actors related to the wider issues […] Read More

Filed under: Pirates | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review-‘Two Battles of Copenhagen 1801 and 1807 :Britain and Denmark in the Napoleonic Wars’ by G. Glover

By Andrew Lambert

The British attacks on Copenhagen have often been confused, or conflated. In reality, they occurred in two separate conflicts, were conducted in strikingly different ways, and had very different outcomes. Gareth Glover sets the battles in context, using a wide range of British and Danish secondary sources, and some British archival material. Key texts by […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘The British Civil Wars at Sea 1638–1653’by R. J. Blakemore and E. Murphy

By Thomas Malcomson

This book examines Parliamentarian and Royalist use of their respective naval forces, during the English Civil Wars. Blakemore and Murphy explore the shifting allegiances, parliament’s overhaul of the navy’s organization, the naval support to their respective armies, and the role of privateers within the overall military story of the Civil Wars. The authors add to […] Read More

Filed under: English Civil War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘The World of the Newport Medieval Ship:Trade, politics and shipping in the mid-fifteenthcentury’ edited by E. T. Jones and R. Stone

By Fred Hocker

In the analysis and publication of many archaeological ship finds, discussion of the historical context of the wreck is integrated into the overall project structure. This can be more or less successful, depending on how adept the archaeologists are at working with historical sources or how well they work with historians. In the study of […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘Ye Mary Fortune: A ship of Henry VII 1490 AD at Pembroke Castle’ by D. James

By Michael Leek

Advances in warship design over the last century are displayed on the covers of this excellent book. On the front, a photograph taken in 1913 shows the launch of the battleship Queen Elizabeth at the Dockyard, while on the back there is a superb view of her modern namesake, the new aircraft carrier on her […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘The Portsmouth Dockyard Story: From 1212 to the present day’ by P. Brown

By Fred M. Walker

Advances in warship design over the last century are displayed on the covers of this excellent book. On the front, a photograph taken in 1913 shows the launch of the battleship Queen Elizabeth at the Dockyard, while on the back there is a superb view of her modern namesake, the new aircraft carrier on her […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

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

By Mark Bailey

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 […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘Against the Tide: Rickover’s leadership principles and the rise of the nuclear navy’ by D. Oliver

By David Bowen

The United States Submarine Nautilus was the Dreadnought of the nuclear age; when she was launched on 21 January 1954 she transformed the naval world in an instant. For here was the first ever nuclear-powered submarine and her mighty offspring would forever change the dynamics of sea power. This was a true submarine, capable of […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve ‘They Are Marines’: Uniforms and equipment in WorldWar II’ by J. Moran

By David F. Winkler

The United States Marine Corps has a mantra ‘First to Fight.’ They are also ‘Last to Adapt’ having been traditionally resistant to societal changes. Reportedly, the former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Joseph F. Dunford, who just retired as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the sole service head to oppose […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Planning and Profits: British naval armaments manufacture and the military–industrialcomplex, 1918–1941’ by C. W. Miller

By Andrew Lambert

The evolution of British warship building infrastructure between the two World Wars has long been a significant historiographical issue, attracting attention in Churchill’s war memoirs, official histories, academic monographs, broader surveys of British strategic capacity, industrial performance, and specific aspects of warship construction. Christopher Miller’s contribution, developed from a PhD written in the Glasgow University […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Weapons

Book Review-‘After Jutland: The naval war in northern European waters June 1916–November 1918’ by J. Goldrick

By Eric Grove

Rear-Admiral James Goldrick combines enormous experience as a serving officer at sea and ashore with a well-earned reputation as a first-rate naval historian. Recently he rewrote one of his early works, The Kings Ships Were at Sea, as a more comprehensive and deeply and maturely analysed Before Jutland covering naval operations in northern European waters, […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘Before the Battlecruiser: The big cruiser in the world’s navies 1865–1910’ by A. Dodson

By Innes McCartney

In a book which could at first sight be considered a detailed history of the armoured cruiser, it says much of the comprehensive nature of the author’s research that this type of warship is not mentioned in the title. In fact to have done so would have been inaccurate, because the book examines a broader […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

Book Review-‘The Royal Navy, China Station: 1861–1941’ by J. Parkinson

By Howard J. Fuller

Subtitled ‘A History as seen through the careers of the Commanders in Chief’, this important new work notes that it was not until April 1864 that China was noted for the first time as a separate station from its prior connection to East India. By then Britain had fought and won its two ‘Opium’ wars […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Steam Titans: Cunard, Collins and the epic battle for commerce on the North Atlantic’ by W. M. Fowler

By Frances Steel

To judge by its cover, one might pick up this book expecting a history of the early years of steam in transatlantic shipping. Steam Titans traverses this ground. But it is also does much more. It can be usefully read as an ocean-centred history of the making of modern America, refracted through disputes between the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Biography | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review-‘The Royal Navy Day by Day (5th edn)’ by L. Phillips

By Derek Law

First published in 1979, this fifth edition, published seven years after the previous edition and again with Lieutenant Commander Lawrie Phillips as author, has been described by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band as ‘An essential work of reference and of inspiration throughout the Fleet’. Phillips himself is a distinguished naval historian of long standing. The book […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Picturing the Pacific: Joseph Banks and the shipboard artists of Cook and Flinders’ by J. Taylor

By Katherine Parker

Taylor’s book comes just as institutions, societies and governments are beginning the decade-long process of commemorating the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s three voyages to the Pacific. On 25 August 1768 Cook set out in the Endeavour to view the transit of Venus and search for the unknown southern continent in the South Seas. […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Pacific
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘Liverpool and the Slave Trade’ by A. Tibbles

By John C. Appleby

This slim, beautifully illustrated volume is published to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, where the author worked for many years as a curator. Drawing on recent research on the subject, some of which is not widely available, Anthony Tibbles presents a concise account of the […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Transfer Between Sea and Land: Maritime exchanges in the early modern period’ by S. Kahlow (ed.)

By Derek Massarella

This book consists of six chapters and the editor’s introduction. It is the outcome of a workshop held at the Deutsches Schifffahrts-museum in Bremerhaven in 2015 and, as is generally the case with such proceedings, the quality of the contents varies considerably, with a couple of contributions being little more than padding. The editor has […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘Recollections of an Unsuccessful Seaman’ by L. Noake, (ed.) D. Creamer

By Martin Bellamy

Len Noake (1887–1929) was a seaman. He trained aboard HMS Conway and then began a 20-year career in the mercantile marine serving aboard deep sea and coasting vessels in a variety of roles from quartermaster to first officer. In his dying days he wrote his memoirs in the form of a 235-page journal illustrated with […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines

Book Review-‘The Royal Navy WASP: An operational and retirement history’ by L. Jerram-Croft and T. Martin

By David Hobbs

The Westland Wasp was the first manned helicopter in any of the world’s navies designed specifically for operation from small flight decks on frigates and destroyers. It served operationally with the Royal Navy between 1963 and 1988 and achieved export success with the navies of New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil. […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘They Were Just Skulls: The naval career of Fred Henley, last survivor of HM Submarine‘Truculent’ ‘ by J. Johnson-Allen

By R.R. Channon

The title of this book may appear somewhat sensationalist, but is entirely appropriate to the most traumatic experience of Fred’s long life, of which more below. As the last living survivor of the tragic sinking of the Truculent he has had celebrity thrust upon him at the age of 94, but has retained the memory […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Biography | Navies | Submarines

Book Review-‘Ordeal Below Zero: The heroic story of theArctic Convoys in World War II’by G. Blond

By Phil Weir

‘It is unlikely that anyone who sailed on the Arctic convoys will ever forget them. The Seamen, the gunners, the pilots, were drawn from all walks of life, regular servicemen and men who had left their shops and offices and factories to venture across the roof of the world in the teeth of winter and […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines

Book Review-‘Putting Cargoes Through: The US Navy at Gibraltar during the First World War 1917–1919’ by A. P. Niblack and J. B. Hattendorf (eds)

By Innes McCartney

Vice-Admiral Albert P. Niblack commanded the US naval base at Gibraltar and US naval forces in the western Mediterranean during the final year of the First World War, for which he received the Distinguished Service Medal. At some unknown point afterwards he wrote an account of the US Navy’s role at Gibraltar which was submitted […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics

Book Review-‘Exploring the Britannic: The life, last voyage and wreck of ‘Titanic’’s tragic twin’ by S. Mills

By Alastair Wilson

The Royal Mail Steamer Britannic was laid down in 1911 in Harland & Wolff’s Belfast ship yard where her near sisters Olympic and Titanic had been built. She was intended to have been the third of the White Star Line’s trio of luxury liners which were necessary to maintain a weekly service on the North […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Victory Without Peace: The United States Navy in European waters, 1919–1924’ by W. Still

By Benjamin Arnstrong USN

Admiral William Sims’ Pulitzer Prize winning memoir and history of the First World War was entitled Victory at Sea and set a high bar for the books on the naval conflict that would follow over the next century. Victory Without Peace: The United States Navy in European waters, 1919–1924, the third book in a series […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Southern Thunder: The Royal Navy and the Scandinavian trade in World War One’ by S. R. Dunn

By David Bowen

Standing on the shores of the North Sea in a typical winter gale presents a bleak and forbidding prospect. It is sobering to consider that for the four years of the First World War this was a battleground where the warring nations committed their navies to a bitter and relentless struggle in order to wrest […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Ungentle Goodnights: Life in a home for elderly and disabled naval sailors and marines and the perilous seafaring careers that brought them there’ by C. McKee

By Sarah Goldberger

‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’. The subjects of Christopher McKee’s Ungentle Goodnights, the pensioned sailors at the US Naval Asylum in Philadelphia, were an intractable population that raged well into their twilight. The asylum ‘beneficiaries’, as McKee describes them, were not passive old men, but they fought with authorities and each other, […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘John Rae, Arctic Explorer: The unfinished autobiography’ by W. Barr (ed.)

By Tom Muir

I have long been aware of John Rae’s unfinished autobiography, which is held in the collection of the Scott Polar Research Institute, but have not had the pleasure of reading it, until now. As exhibitions officer with the Orkney Museum I was able to access the manuscript through an intern from the National Museums Scotland […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-Five Hundred Years of Deptford and WoolwichRoyal Dockyards: Marking the 500th anni -versary of the foundation of the Thames yardsby Henry VIII’ by P. MacDougall (ed.)

By Andy Brockman

The latest volume in the Transactions of the Naval Dockyards Society is not just a valuable addition to the literature of Britain’s maritime history, but also to the ongoing discussions regarding how the development system, as put into practice by local planning authorities and their advisors, balances the need for our living spaces to change […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review-‘Seapower States: Maritime culture, continentalempires and the conflict that made the modernworld’ by A. Lambert

By Eric Grove

This is Andrew Lambert’s most ambitious book. In it he sets out an interesting and original thesis that ‘seapower states’ have been the result of the ambitions of an oligarchic elite, based on maritime commerce and the revenues obtained therefrom. In such powers commercial classes are given significant power and naval power is given priority […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Vast Expanses: A history of the oceans’ by H. M. Rozwadowski,

By Jamin Wells

Historians interested in the briny part of the world have had ranging discussions about ‘iron men’ and ‘wooden ships’, sea captain’s wives and motley crews, fishers, whalers, smugglers, and scientists, pirates and navies, ports, seaside resorts, Atlantic Worlds and Pacific Imaginaries. Yet only in the past few years has the sea itself begun to be […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘With the Royal Navy in Peace and War: O’er the dark blue sea’ by B. B. Schofield

By David Bowen

Born in 1895, Vice-Admiral B. B. Schofield first donned a naval uniform in 1908 when Britain’s empire, merchant navy and Royal Navy were at their apogee. It was an exciting time, one of great technical innovation; the era of the dreadnought, the submarine, torpedo and mine, precision gunnery, wireless, and aircraft. And it was a […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘British Cruiser Warfare: The lessons of the early war, 1939–1941’ by A. Raven

By Richard Cannon

Alan Raven is former editor of Combat Fleets, a ship-modeller and a prolific writer on the warships of the Second World War era, mainly but not exclusively British. Having in his previous books written extensively about their technicalities – construction, armament, propulsion etc., – in this book he has turned his attention to the cruisers’ […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Weapons

Book Review-‘Allied Coastal Forces, vol. 1: Fairmile Designs and US Submarine Chasers’ by J. Lambert and A. Ross

By Aidan Dodson

Before his death in 2016, John Lambert had published, in conjunction with Al Ross, two of the volumes of a planned trilogy on vessels of the Allied coastal forces, which appeared respectively in 1990 and 1993 from Conway Maritime Press; the third volume never appeared, although investigations are being made as to whether sufficient material […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Weapons

Book Review-‘British Naval Weapons of World War Two: The John Lambert Collection, vol. 1: Destroyer Weapons’ by N. Friedman (ed.)

By Aidan Dodson

John Lambert died in 2016, having produced a significant number of works on naval history, including an unfinished study of Allied coastal forces (the reprint of the first volume of which is reviewed in the present issue). His principal project still ‘on the stocks’ was an encyclopedia of weapons carried by British warships of destroyer […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Weapons

Book Review-‘The Dawn of the Carrier Strike: The world of Lieutenant W. P. Lucy dso rn’ by D. Hobbs

By David Bowen

This is a story of the hare and the tortoise. While the British hare started well ahead in the naval aviation race at the end of the First World War, political decisions and financial strictures undermined development so that by the Second World War it had been overtaken by the United States Navy (USN) tortoise, […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘The Battle of the Denmark Strait: A critical analysis of the ‘Bismarck’ ’s singular triumph’ by R. J. Winklareth

By Derek Law

Robert Winklareth is a mechanical engineer and professional technical analyst with particular expertise in military weapons systems. He first wrote about the battle of the Denmark Strait in 1998 in a book which received very mixed reviews and then produced this more definitive study in 2012. It is now reprinted in paperback some seven years […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘Naval Advising and Assistance: History, challenges and analysis’ by D. Stoker and M. T. McMaster (eds)

By Richard Harding

The recent interest in asymmetric warfare is a reminder that the means of conflict are constantly changing. Operations short of formal warfare are constant and in flux as opportunities arise and are exploited. Nations are constantly preparing for escalation, hedging against it by seeking new avenues to advance their interests and making preparations to shape […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The ‘Lusitania’ Sinking: Eyewitness accounts from survivors by A. Richards

By Matthew S. Seligmann

This volume begins with a question, why another book on the Lusitania sinking? The justification promptly provided is that this account is one composed largely from the information and ideas contained in first-hand passenger testimony. In other words, this book more than any previous one forefronts the experience of the people present during the vessel’s […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review-‘Fisherman, the Fishing Industry and the Great War at Sea’ by R. Robinson

By Innes McCartney

In this ambitious new history of the British fishing industry during the First World War and its aftermath, Robb Robinson has produced an all-encompassing single volume addressing the myriad of roles to which it was employed during the conflict. As the author is keen to point out, the 39,000 fishermen and 3,000 fishing vessels which […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘SS ‘Great Britain’: Brunel’s ship, her voyages, passengers and crew’ by H. Doe

By Graem J. Milne

Helen Doe makes clear from the outset that her book is not intended to repeat or replace the classic technical work on Great Britain by Ewan Corlett. Rather she uses a wide range of sources to put the ship, its owners, crew and passengers in wider context, making some intriguing connections and revealing the complicated […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘After the Lost Franklin Expedition: Lady Franklin and John Rae’ by P. Baxter

By Tom Muir

It seems that Dr John Rae is a popular fellow, as on the back of his unfinished autobiography comes this new book by Peter Baxter. To recap the story, it contrasts the adventures of the Orkney-born Arctic explorer, Rae (1813–93), and veteran Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. It was Rae who first discovered the fate […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Arctic
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-Salcombe Schooner Port: A maritime history of Salcombe and its merchant sailing vessels in the nineteenth century’ by R. Barrett

By Cathryn Pearce

Roger Barrett is curator of Salcombe Maritime Museum. He has an immense depth of knowledge about the area, having also been a station manager at Prawle Point National Coastwatch Station. He is the author of three previous works, Prawle Point and the Coast between Start Point and Salcombe Bar, Start Point and its Lighthouse: History, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review-O’er the Wide and Tractless Sea: Original art of the Yankee whale hunt’ by M. P. Dyer

By Arthur G. Credland

This volume hints at the riches of the collections in the New Bedford Museum, which incorporating those of the former Kendall Whaling Museum, Boston, has a remarkably comprehensive coverage of whaling images and artefacts. Though of course the bulk of the material concerns the American whale fishery, including an outstanding array of scrimshaw work, it […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Taming the Atlantic: The history of man’s battle with the world’s toughest ocean’ by D. Pike

By Harold N. Boyer

Dag Pike (Inspector of Lifeboats, RNLI, and author) has provided a survey of humankind’s experience battling the Atlantic Ocean since the early Middle Ages. His emphasis is mainly the North Atlantic from the Equator to the Arctic. This area saw the main trade routes develop over the centuries down to the present time. He sets […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘Whales’ Bones of the Americas, South Atlantic and Antarctica’ by Arthur G. Credland

By Arthur G. Credland

This book is the penultimate volume in a magnificent series covering cetacean remains across the globe. Unlike the sites covered previously, for this book the author has relied on the judicious use of secondary sources, and information from his invaluable correspondents. This in no way diminishes the value as a reference source, however, and the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Pacific | Antarctic
Subjects include: Archaeology | Miscellaneous | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review – ‘The Royal Navy Lynx: An operational history’ by David Bowen

By David Bowen

The naval version of the Lynx helicopter operated by the Royal Navy has this year (1918) been withdrawn after 40 years of distinguished service. Moreover, it is ‘an aircraft that has never really had its praises sung’, so an account is not only timely but long overdue. One may ask why a book about an […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Post WW2 | Indian Ocean | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Naval Aviation

Book Review – ‘Sovereignty and the Sea: How Indonesia became an archipelagic state’ by James Goldrick

By James Goldrick

This is a very good book. It is a detailed study by two Australian historians of the development of Indonesia’s archipelagic regime concept, from the days of its inception to its formal acceptance into international law as part of the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, UNCLOS III. The regime […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ’36 Hours: Jutland 1916: The battle that won the war’ by Michael Leek

By Michael Leek

The significance – and continuing controversy – of the battle of Jutland (known as Skagerrakschlacht in Germany) in the history of both the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine means it was inevitable that the hundredth anniversary would be recognized through more than a few publications. That the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies

Book Review – ‘Churchill and the Dardanelles’ by W. Mark Hamilton

By W. Mark Hamilton

First Lord of the Admiralty (1911–15) Winston Churchill was a key player in the Dardanelles campaign, and Canadian historian Christopher Bell is determined to distinguish the myth from the reality. In Bell’s book Churchill emerges as a figure deserving much sympathy, but also a somewhat flawed personality who was responsible for numerous costly mistakes. Bell’s […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Mediterranean | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘French Battleships of World War One’ by Andrew Lambert

By Andrew Lambert

This book is the prequel to John Jordan’s French Battleships 1922–1956 of 2009, written with Robert Dumas. Anyone who has read that superb book will know what to expect. This time Philippe Caresse shares the writing credits. The opening section examines French naval policy and capital ship procurement after the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1 | English Channel | Interwar | WW2 | Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘I Hope to Have a Good Passage: The business letters of Captain Daniel Jenkins, 1902–11’ by J. D. Davies

By J. D. Davies

David Jenkins, the former principal curator of the transport collections at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, has done a splendid job of editing this remarkable collection of documents, and placing them before a wider audience. Daniel Jenkins (1871–1922; apparently no relation of the editor) was born in the village of Aberporth on Cardigan Bay, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Irish Sea | Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Book Review – ‘The Sea in History: The modern world’ by Steven Gray

By Steven Gray

This tome forms a substantial finale to the four volume Sea in History series, a result of the huge Oceanides project. It is an 848-page behemoth, with a contributor list that reads like a who’s who of modern naval history, and indeed beyond the field. It is therefore appropriate that the volume is edited by a scholar as distinguished […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea | Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century | Indian Ocean | Caribbean | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Remarkable Hybrid Maritime World of Hong Kong and the West River Region in the Late Qing Period’ by S. C. M. Paine

By S. C. M. Paine

From the mid-nineteenth century on, the Chinese junk trade could not compete with foreign steamers on the Yangzi River or along the Chinese coast, yet it survived through the 1930s in the West River Delta, home to the two key treaty ports of Canton and Hong Kong. This book explains why. The six chapters show […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Strong to Save: Maritime mission in Hong Kong, from Whampoa Reach to the Mariners’ Club’ by Alston Kennerley

By Alston Kennerley

Seafaring religious mission activity became a global phenomenon during the 1820s, and it comes as no surprise that as early as 1822 there was missionary outreach among seafarers at Whampoa, the anchorage for European shipping a few miles down the Pearl River from Canton, China. With interruptions, the initiative was carried forward by missionaries connected […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘A Waste of Blood and Treasure: The 1799 Anglo-Russian invasion of the Netherlands’ by Martin Robson

By Martin Robson

The Anglo-Russian invasion of the Netherlands in 1799 is one of the more unusual joint and international maritime expeditions launched during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Philip Ball’s account of the invasion is based on his MA thesis and draws upon a range of contemporary primary source material and eye-witness accounts to provide a […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Eighteenth Century | French Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Far Distant Ships: The blockade of Brest, 1793–1815’ by Thomas Malcomson

By Thomas Malcomson

Quintin Barry’s book the different approaches used by the British of blockading the Atlantic ports of France and its allies during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The contents cover an area from Cadiz in the south to the Texel in the north, and west to Ireland. It provides a good introduction to the challenges […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘A Low Set of Blackguards: The East India Company and its maritime service 1600–1834, vol. 2, Triumph and Decline 1708–1834’ by A. B. McLeod

By A. B. McLeod

This second volume of the history of the East India Company is a tour de force from this experienced narrator (R Woodman) … it is a mammoth page-turner in which the reader is constantly drawn onwards by the unfolding dramas of the time and places revealed. Woodman’s text details the trials and tribulations of Company […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Mythology and Diplomacy in the Age of Exploration’ by Desiree Arbo

By Desiree Arbo

Author A Knobler aims to examine the process of early modern European expansion as a whole, not as projects undertaken by individual state. In this way Knobler, a historian of the crusades and early modern imperial expansion, seeks to redress a prevailing tendency in the historiography of expansion to follow national lines. A considerable part […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Early Modern | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Feeding Globalization: Madagascar and the provisioning trade, 1600–1800’ by John McAleer

By John McAleer

In 1798 Benjamin Stout, the captain of an American merchant ship which had apparently been shipwrecked off the southern coast of Africa two years earlier, wrote approvingly of Madagascar, describing it as ‘one of the largest and finest islands in the world’. Indeed, he was astonished that ‘no European power hath as yet made a […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Sea in History: The ancient world’ by Boris Rankov

By Boris Rankov

The French-based Océanides project on The Sea in History, edited by Christian Buchet of the Centre d’Étude de la Mer at the Catholic University of Paris, has now been published in a series of four large volumes of which this, on the ancient world, is the first. The overall objectives of the series have already […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Antiquity | Mediterranean | Indian Ocean | Caribbean | Pacific
Subjects include: Archaeology | Manpower & Life at Sea | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Schnellboote: A complete operational history’ by L. Paterson

By David Bowen

Known sometimes as E-boats, these Schnellboote (fast boats) were deployed by the German navy in the Second World War and are properly called S-boats. They were small, fast, and agile motor torpedo boats. Lightweight and highly vulnerable, time and time again they relied on surprise, speed and audacity to punch hard. Readers will have encountered […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

Book Review-‘‘No One Avoided Danger’: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese attack of 7 December 1941’ by J. M. Wenger, R. J. Cressman and J. F. Di Virgilio

By John T. Kuehn

This book is part of a series of works published by the Naval Institute Press to ‘fill [a] wide gap in military history by diving down to the lowest of levels of practical, personal, and tactical details’ (iii). Two of the three authors will be familiar to naval history audiences. Robert Cressman is a long-time […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘Steamers at War: The story of the Clyde steamers in the Second World War’ by P. G. Herriot

By Martin Bellamy

Clyde steamers have had a loyal and avid following among enthusiasts and a great deal of research has been carried out and published by the members of the Clyde River Steamer Club. Until now, however, there has not been a publication that focuses on the steamers’ service during the Second World War. The research that […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

Book Review-‘North Sea War 1914–1919’ by R. Malster

By Eric C. Rust

The title of this book is somewhat misleading because readers, expecting perhaps another account of the clashes of the British and German battle fleets or a far-ranging analysis of how naval and air operations in the North Sea theatre influenced the outcome of the First World War, will feel disappointed. Instead Robert Malster, author of […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘Blockade: Cruiser warfare and the starvation of Germany in World War One’ by S. R. Dunn

By Steve Cobb

The publisher’s blurb promises a ‘fast-paced story of . . . the operations of the 10th Cruiser Squadron’, using ‘first-hand accounts, the book . . . lays before the reader . . . a much neglected aspect of the First World War’. Fast-paced it certainly is, but it is an episodic account of the maritime […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Kaiser’s Battlefleet: German capital ships, 1870–1918’ by A. Dodson

By Harold N. Boyer

In this study of German capital ships from 1871 to 1918 Aidan Dodson, senior research fellow at University of Bristol, has provided one of the few English-language monographs on this subject. This is a highly detailed study of the design and use of these ships, from the advent of the Prussian navy in 1871 down […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-’21st Century Knox: Influence, sea power, and history for the modern era’ by D. Kohnen

By Geoffery Till

The latest in an agreeable series by the US Naval Institute Press which aims to emphasize the modern salience of the luminaries of the US Navy and Marine Corps at the start of the twentieth century, 21st Century Knox does exactly ‘what it says on the tin’. Its editor is a historian in his own […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘‘Nemesis’: The first iron warship and her world’ byA. G. Marshall

By W. Mark Hamilton

Adrian Marshall’s ‘Nemesis’ makes a significant contribution not only to a history of this unique ship, but to the history of the nineteenth-century Asian world in which she sailed. Nemesis was the first of a generation of steam-powered ironclad vessels with watertight compartments. It was also the first iron vessel to round the Cape of […] Read More

Filed under: Opium Wars | East India Company
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Book Review-‘The Captain’s Wife, by A. Eames

By Helen Doe

The opportunities in the nineteenth century for women to go to sea were restricted. Merchant sailing ships had limited accommodation since naturally the major space was for cargo. Living accommodation was cramped and all the crew, except the master/captain, shared quarters. The master, by tradition, had a separate space and thus master’s wives could be […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘From Cabin ‘Boys’ to Captains: 250 years of women at sea by’ J. Stanley

By Katherine Parker

With the integration of women in the active-duty Royal Navy in the early 1990s, it seemed the UK had finally gained gender equity in the maritime workplace. Not so, concludes Jo Stanley in From Cabin ‘Boys’ to Captains: 250 Years of Women at Sea. Stanley finds that progress for women in the merchant navy and […] Read More

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

Book Review-‘‘That Hamilton Woman’: Emma and Nelson’ by B. Gough

By Thomas Malcomson

That Hamilton Woman’: Emma and Nelson by Barry Gough is an extended essay on the famous romantic relationship between Emma Hamilton and Lord Nelson. Gough places the relationship in the context of women in the lives of sailors and the potentially important roles they played in officers’ careers. The book also provides the full text […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘In Nelson’s Wake: The navy and the Napoleonic Wars’ by J. Davey

By Isaac Land

This well-written volume offers a comprehensive narrative history of the years following Trafalgar, arguing that naval blockade ‘a tedious and challenging task that required enormous patience and determination’ (p. 68) was the key to victory. To sustain a blockade on this scale required bureaucratic brilliance and logistical innovations enabling ships ‘to remain on blockade for […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | War of 1812
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Unfortunate Captain Peirce and the Wreck of the ‘Halsewell’, East Indiaman, 1786’ by P. Browne

By Jaap R. Bruijn

One cannot pretend that East India Company commander Richard Peirce had a very interesting career. It was merely one of many. Much was and is still unknown about the man, even his year of birth and his early sea life. What made him well known to his contemporaries was his final voyage in 1786 when […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | East India Company
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Van de Velde & Son, Marine Painters: The firm of Willem van de Velde the Elder and Willem van de Velde the Younger, 1640–1707’ by R. Daalder, translated by M. Hoyle

By Ron Brand

Britain’s most famous marine painter, William Turner, sighed at the sight of an eighteenth-century print of a painting by Willem van de Velde the Younger: ‘This made me a painter!’ For obvious reasons, this frequently cited anecdote is mentioned in the book Van de Velde & Son, Marine Painters, because both the Van de Veldes, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘A Low Set of Blackguards: The East India Company and its maritime service 1600–1834:volume 1, The Heroic Age 1600–1707’ by R. Woodman

By A. B. McLeod

The founding of the East India Company on the last day of 1600 showed the determination of London merchants to challenge the Dutch monopoly of the trade in spices. Hailed as the forerunner of a vast empire based on trade, writers such as Richard Hakluyt helped to arouse public support for the enterprise. Diplomacy dictated […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | East India Company
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Savage Shore: Extraordinary stories of survival and tragedy from the early voyages of discovery’ by G. Seal

By Katherine Parker

In 1616 the Eendracht, commanded by Dirk Hartog, landed on an island in Western Australia, the first known Dutch ship to contact the western side of the continent. Hartog ordered a pewter plate to be mounted on a post, chronicling his presence. Eighty years later another Dutchman, Willem de Vlamingh, recovered Hartog’s plate and replaced […] Read More

Filed under: Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘The First Circumnavigators: Unsung heroes of the Age of Discovery’ by H. Kelsey

By Richard Dunn

As readers of this journal will know, the first circumnavigation of the globe was completed in 1522, towards the end of a voyage into the Pacific commanded by Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão de Magalhães), who died before its return. In The First Circumnavigators Harry Kelsey analyses the four major Spanish voyages that set off between 1519 […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Primo Mediterraneo: Meditazioni sul mare più antico della storia’ by S. Tusa

By Francesco Tiboni

In this book, Sebastiano Tusa, one of the most important Italian underwater archaeologists and superintendent of the Sea of Sicily, offers a series of interesting suggestions about the history of the Mediterranean, from its very first dawn to the medieval period. Throughout the 12 chapters of the book, in fact, the author draws a general […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘Early Ships and Seafaring: Water transport beyond Europe’ by S. McGrail

By Robert J.C. Mowat

The British tradition of ‘maritime ethnography’ (as developed by Hornell) has traditionally been the basis for the study of early and ‘primitive’ watercraft, and underlies this study, which is essentially an introductory account by its leading practitioner. This volume should prove valuable to both the general reader and the student of archaeology in general. Water […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘The Headscarf Revolutionaries: Lillian Bilocca and the Hull triple-trawler disaster’ by Brian W. Lavery

By Frank Scott

Perhaps the first thing that needs to be made clear is that Brian W. Lavery is a former journalist who has made Hull his adopted city, and he should not be confused with the well-known maritime historian Brian Lavery. The ‘Hull Triple-Trawler Tragedy’ was the loss of three Hull based deep-water trawlers, the Kingston Peridot, […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Viermastbark Kruzenshtern ex Padua: Eine deutsch-russische Dokumentation zur Technik- und Sozialgeschichte des Frachtseglers und Schulschiffs’ by T. Böttcher and C. HieberREview-‘

By Frank Scott

The four-masted barque Padua, launched in 1926, was not only the last of the Laeisz ‘Flying P-Liners’, she was the last cargo-carrying square rigger to be built anywhere. Padua was the epitome of ‘the industrial sailing ship’, which is why her photograph, in her present incarnation as the sail training ship Kruzenshtern, was chosen to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Dazzle: Disguise and disruption in war and art’ by J. Taylor

By David J. B. Smith

The paradox of camouflage has been intrinsically linked to strategic maritime warfare for centuries. Seaborne concealment of ancient naval vessels was largely achieved by a clever choice of hull colour while also incorporating dyed sails. By the age of steam, making smoke was always an opportunistic screen to hide behind – until the wind changed. […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | WW2
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘Jutland 1916: The archaeology of a naval battlefield’ by I. McCartney

By Robert J.C. Mowat

In recent years Innes McCartney has been recognized as a leading exponent of underwater research, most notably into the wrecks of First World War warships and submarines within the North Sea and English Channel. His studies have characteristically combined the use of advanced techniques of underwater survey and technical diving with documentary and historical research […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘Coal and Empire: The birth of energy security in industrial America’ by P. A. Shulman

By Stevan Gray

Peter A. Shulman begins his study of coal and the birth of American fuel security with an account of the meeting between Roosevelt and the Saudi king in 1945. He describes this meeting as ‘a kind of set piece in writings about the emerging post-war geopolitics of energy’ (p. 1). Yet, Schulman argues, although this […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Whales’ Bones of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands’ by N. Redman

By Arthur G. Credland

This is the sixth volume (not including a supplementary volume and a monograph on the Ostend whale) contributing towards fulfilling the author’s aim to catalogue cetacean remains around the globe. There are two more volumes in preparation, one for the Americas and one for Africa and Asia, which will complete the series. Many of the […] Read More

Filed under: Pacific
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Georges Baudoux’s Jean M’Baraï : The Trepang fisherman’ translated by K. Speedy

By Clifford J. Pereira

Karin Speedy has built on her previous academic works and experience in translating to bring Francophone Pacific literature to an English-speaking audience. In the introduction, Speedy makes the point that the Pacific had its own lingua franca prior to the arrival of Europeans, and suggests that the engagement of Malayo-Polynesian speakers by the so-called early […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Whale Factory Ships and Modern Whaling 1881–2016’ by I. Hart

By Arthur G. Credland

The author of this book has already written two important works on the Antarctic whale fisheries and this volume provides an overview of factory whaling, both north and south. A lengthy historical introduction gives us details of the Norwegian pioneers of modern whaling, individuals such as Svend Foyn and C. A. Larsen. Starting with makeshift […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Lincoln’s Trident: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War’ by R. M. Browning Jr

By James Clipson

Five days after the shelling of Fort Sumter, Lincoln announced a blockade of the Confederate Coast. Ambitious and legally ambiguous, as it seemed to imply the Confederacy was a foreign belligerent, the so-called Anaconda Plan required the Union navy to blockade some 3,500 miles of coastline. Robert Browning Jr has written in depth and with […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Civil War
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Strategy and the Sea: Essays in honour of John B. Hattendorf’ edited by N. A. M. Rodger, J. Ross Dancy, B. Darnell, and E. Wilson

By Benjamin Arnstrong

The state of the field of naval and maritime history, allegedly a precarious thing, is a common topic when any group of sea-minded historians gather for a coffee or a grog. In his plenary address as the Class of 1957 Chair in Naval Heritage at the 2015 McMullen Naval History Symposium, Dr David Rosenberg laid […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘North Devon Barges’ by David Jenkins

By David Jenkins

Appledore in north Devon is surely one of the most fascinating places on our coasts. Its name is a corruption of the Brythonic/Welsh Aber-dwr, meaning ‘water’s mouth’, a perfect description of its setting on a hill overlooking the estuary of Henry Williamson’s ‘Two Rivers’, Taw and Torridge. A centre of shipbuilding since Tudor times at least, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Shemaron: A beautiful endeavour’ by Michael Leek

By Michael Leek

As important as the fishing industry has been to Britain, there have been few comprehensive and detailed studies that examine the development of boats after the introduction of steam and diesel. This includes ring net boats. The literature is woefully small and this new book, and this account of the restoration of a ring net […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review – ‘Toward a New Maritime Strategy: American naval thinking in the post-Cold War era’ by Harold N. Boyer

By Harold N. Boyer

In writing about US naval strategy from 1989 to 2007, Captain Haynes (Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy, US Special Operations Command) has provided an intellectual history from the supposed end of the Cold War in 1989 to October 2007, that saw the adoption of ‘A Cooperative Strategy for 21st-Century Seapower’ by the US.Navy. […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Watery Grave: The life and death of the cruiser HMS ‘Manchester’ by Derek Law

By Derek Law

In 2009 the wreck of the British cruiser Manchester was located by divers off the coast of Tunisia. A subsequent lecture on the discovery by a university colleague inspired the author, then president of the World Ship Society, to examine the facts about her contentious sinking. She had been controversially scuttled off the coast of Kelibia […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review-‘British Campaigns in the South Atlantic 1805–1807: Operations in the Cape and the River Plate and their consequences’ by J. D. Grainger

By Elizabeth C. Libero

Prolific military historian John D. Grainger recounts a fascinating set of campaigns in this straightforward narrative of Britain’s rapid conquest of the Cape of Good Hope and the ‘hare-brained’ attack on Buenos Aires shortly after (p. ix). In keeping with his books on the ancient Parthians, Britain’s fight against Vichy France, and early twentieth-century Syria, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review – ‘‘The Most Dangerous Moment of the War’: Japan’s attack on the Indian Ocean, 1942’ by David Hobbs

By David Hobbs

In this book, dedicated to the author’s father, a survivor from HMS Cornwall, and a friend who was a survivor from HMS Dorsetshire, the author describes how, having struck the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese entered the Indian Ocean with the intention of destroying the British eastern fleet based at Ceylon in April 1942. […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘’Formidable’: A true story of disaster and courage’ by Robert J. C. Mowat

By Robert J. C. Mowat

In the opening hours of 1915 the pre-Dreadnought battleship HMS Formidable was lost to torpedo attacks by the German submarine U-24 while off Portland Bill. A clear parallel to the loss of HMS Royal Oak 24 years later, it is of comparable significance. The sinking, however, has apparently not previously been the subject of specific scholarly study, but this book does […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines

Book Review – ‘The Raid on Zeebrugge: 23rd of April 1918, as seen through the eyes of Captain Alfred Carpenter, VC’ by David Bowen

By David Bowen

The story of this raid is well known – a bold attempt to block a major U-boat base and interrupt successful predations in the English Channel at the very end of the First World War. In this book we have, illuminated before us, the very lantern slides used to illustrate postwar talks by one of […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Submarines

Book Review – ‘Voices from Jutland: A centenary commemoration’ by Simon Smith

By Simon Smith

Voices from Jutland is one of a number of books recently released to coincide with the centenary of the largest naval battle of the First World War. Crossley’s aim is to examine the strengths and weaknesses of both British and German navies and identify why the Royal Navy’s performance was disappointing. In order to do this […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea | Jutland
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Gallipoli’ by W. Mark Hamilton

By W. Mark Hamilton

Jenny Macleod, the co-founder of the International Society for First World War Studies, has written an interesting and novel new book on an old topic, Gallipoli. This slim volume is part of Sir Hew Strachan’s Great Battles Series and came out at the centenary of Gallipoli (1915). The 200-plus pages of Gallipoli are evenly divided with […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘The Great War at Sea: A naval atlas 1914–1919’ by Nicholas Tracy

By Nicholas Tracy

A timely arrival in the middle date of the centenary of the First World War, Faulkner and Wilkinson’s atlas of the naval part of it is certain to be valued by those interested in the subject. Their work is based on the records of the Royal Navy’s historical branch, which used graphics extensively in the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a nineteenth-century man of business, science, and the sea changed American life’ by Richard Dunn

By Richard Dunn

For maritime historians, Nathaniel Bowditch (1773–1838) is perhaps best known as the author of the New American Practical Navigator, originally billed as the ‘epitome of navigation’, which is still published (now without New in its title) and freely available online from the US government. As Tamara Plakins Thornton shows in a more rounded biography than previous accounts have […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘A History of the Royal Navy: Empire and imperialism’ by Steven Gray

By Steven Gray

Part of the wider series commissioned by the National Museum of the Royal Navy, this volume differs with the majority of the collection by not focusing on a particular period or war, but instead on the relationship between the navy and empire. Spence not only attempts to cover the navy’s expansionist role on land and […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Tudors | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Other (Early Modern) | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Determination of the Ship’s Speed in History and the Earliest Discussion of the ‘Dutchman’s Log’

By Wolfgang Köberer

Early mariners did not have the means to ascertain their exact position once they were out of sight of land for some time. But, contrary to an assumption long nurtured, early mariners did not usually ‘hug the coast’. In Roman times the Mediterranean mariners had to cross the basins of that sea to carry goods, […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

A Shipbuilder’s Letters to Shipowners: William Pickersgill & Sons 1903–1907

By Ian Buxton

The shipbuilder William Pickersgill & Sons of Sunderland focused on building dry cargo ships for British shipowners, particularly from Liverpool. Some insights into that market early in the twentieth century are provided by the out letter volume from 1903 to 1907 written by one of the partners, Frederick Pickersgill, He combined the roles of what […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Administration | Shipbuilding & Design

‘We Do Not Want to Be Too Hard on the Norwegians’: Sterling balances and rebuilding the Norwegian merchant shipping fleet, 1945–1950

By Hugh Murphy

This article looks at Anglo-Norwegian financial relations in the crucial five years after 1945. Norway lost half of her merchant fleet and had accumulated substantial sterling balances during the war through insurance claims from ships sunk in British and Allied service, and from freights carried. Given Britain’s position as banker to the sterling area and […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | North Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Thomas Cave Childs: Pioneer chaplain to female emigrants and the Missions to Seamen

By Robert W. H. Miller

Thomas Cave Childs (1819–67), a vicar in the worst part of Devonport, was a pioneer in the welfare of female emigrants and was involved in the foundation of the Missions to Seamen. Childs, the real link with the remnants of John Ashley’s missionary work with seafarers, was the catalyst which brought W. H. G. Kingston […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

The Royal Navy’s Difficulties with Implementing Iron Water Tanks, about 1815 to 1840

By Andy Plumbly

It would appear logical to assume that the introduction of iron water tanks into the Royal Navy during and after the Napoleonic War facilitated better water quality by using containers that were cheaper and more reliable than wooden casks, provided accessible storage for the output from distillation plant and thereby enabled the abolition of the […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies

The Ronas Voe Incident, 1674

By Frank L. Fox

The last organized sea operation of the Third Anglo-Dutch War was an expedition by the British navy to capture a Dutch East Indiaman lying in a Shetland harbour disabled by storm damage and grounding. This little-known action was conceived, planned and carried out entirely after King Charles II had publicly accepted a treaty with the […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

The Schlüsselfeld Ship Model of 1503

By Maik-Jens Springmann

The use of table decorations in the form of ship models, known as nefs, became a way of demonstrating prestige among the elite merchant class of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. One of the most impressive and important of these centrepieces is the so-called Schlüsselfeld model made in 1503 for Wilhelm Schlüsselfeld (1483–1549), head of […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Models & Figureheads

Book Review-‘Letters of Seamen in the Wars with France, 1793–1815’ ed. by H. Watt with A. Hawkins

By Caitlin M. Gale

Letters of Seamen in the Wars with France, 1793–1815 is an edited compilation of 255 letters to and from seamen below the rank of commissioned officer in the British navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. They provide eyewitness accounts of the naval mutinies in 1797, the battle of Trafalgar (1805), and the incident […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | War of 1812 | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Order and Disorder in the British Navy, 1793–1815: Control, resistance, flogging and hanging’ by T. Malcomson

By Richard Wilson

Despite the title, this book concentrates almost entirely on the War of 1812 as it took place on the American Atlantic seaboard, the Great Lakes, and the Caribbean. The 1797 mutinies at Spithead and the Nore spurred the Admiralty into enforcement of centralized and bureaucratic controls over the commanders of naval fleets and stations, some […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | War of 1812 | Mutiny & Discipline
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Prisoners of War at Dartmoor: American and French soldiers and sailors in an English prison during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812’ by T. James

By Janet Macdonald

Although not written with naval historians in mind, this book on the early days and inmates of Dartmoor Prison holds much of interest for them, relating both to the Napoleonic War and the War of 1812. The author was born near the prison and spent the last ten years of his working life there, producing […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | War of 1812 | Mutiny & Discipline
Subjects include: Administration

Book Review-‘British Expeditionary Warfare and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1793–1815’ by R. K. Sutcliffe

By Janet Macdonald

This book had its origins in the author’s doctoral thesis, and as one might suppose, is extensively researched. Though this is not always the case with theses, it is also well written. Its main area of concentration is the work of the Transport Board and how this contributed to British efforts in the French Revolutionary […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

Book Review-‘The Voyages of Adriaan van Berkel to Guiana: Amerindian-Dutch relationships in 17th-century Guyana’ edited by M. van den Bel, L. Hulsman and L. Wagenaar

By Mark Meuwese

In 1695 the Amsterdam bookseller Johan ten Hoorn published a curious book. Entitled American Voyages to River Berbice and Surinam, the book contains the recollections of the voyages made by the Dutchman Adriaan van Berkel to the Dutch colonies of Berbice and Surinam on the ‘Wild Coast of South America’ in the early 1670s and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Cinnnamon and Elephants: Sri Lanka and the Netherlands from 1600’ by L. Wagenaar

By Guido vun Meersbergen

th Asia, Africa, and South America commissioned by the Rijksmuseum. Cinnamon and Elephants documents the fascinating story of the Dutch East India Company’s presence in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as well as its nineteenth-century aftermath. The volume is as much an accessible and up-to-date overview of the VOC’s commercial, diplomatic, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Navires et construction navale au Moyen Âge’ by E. Rieth

By Benjamin W. D. Redding

Maritime archaeology has increased in popularity in recent years within both the public and academic spheres. Inspiring museums have been constructed to honour single shipwrecks such as those in Portsmouth and Stockholm. Meanwhile, university courses at Southampton and Exeter, to name just a few on the topic, indicate the value of the field. With this […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘Schifffahrt, Hanse und Europa im Mittelalterby’ R. Paulsen

By Lars U. Schill

he Roman historian Tacitus wrote in the preface to his Annales that historians should write sine ira et studio (without anger or zeal). This maxim should be taken seriously even in the twenty-first century. This is what we teach our students in the first term at university. The author of the book under review obviously […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | High Middle Ages
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Maritime Wales in the Middle Ages: 1039–1542’ by K. Lloyd Gruffydd, ed. M. D. Matthews

By J.D.Davies

The circumstances surrounding the publication of this book are remarkably poignant. The life’s work of Ken Lloyd Gruffydd was centred on the maritime history of medieval Wales; he contributed many articles on the subject to Cymru a’r Môr / Maritime Wales, a journal which deserves to be much better known outside the principality, and these […] Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Late Middle Ages | High Middle Ages
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The Yankee Expedition to Sebastopol: John Gowen and the raising of the Russian Black Sea fleet 1857–1862’ by Howard J. Fuller

By Howard J. Fuller

This is another self-published naval history by Chuck Veit, the last of which, A Dog Before a Soldier: Almost-lost Episodes in the U.S. Navy’s Civil War (2010), I treated rather unenthusiastically in my review in volume 99: 3 of the Mariner’s Mirror (2013). What an improvement this work is. Technically it is a direct follow-on to Raising Missouri: John Gowen and […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Shipwrecks | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review – ‘Thomas Hurd, RN and His Hydrographic Survey of Bermuda 1789–97’ by M. K. Barritt

By M. K. Barritt

The remarkable manuscript survey which is discussed in this book measures, in total, some 13 feet by 6 feet. It was the result of over eight years of work in the field, while compilation took another three. The detailed depiction of the Bermudan archipelago and its intricate fringing reefs has astounded both those who compared […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century | Caribbean
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘Lascars and Indian Ocean Seafaring, 1780- 1860: Shipboard life, unrest and mutiny’ by Derek Massarella

By Derek Massarella

In his introduction, Aaron Jaffer recapitulates the extensive secondary sources on lascar crews serving on British shipping. The author intends to contribute to this corpus by focusing on cases of mutiny, defined as the ‘violent takeover of a single ship by her crew’ (p. 17), a neglected aspect of lascar history, in order to shed […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Book Review-‘Seaforth World Naval Review 2017’ ed. by C. Waters

By Devere Crooks

According to its dust jacket, the Seaforth World Naval Review 2017 aims to provide a ‘dedicated annual survey of naval developments’ and to be ‘valuable for enthusiasts and defence professionals alike’. The informative and user-friendly volume delivers in both of these respects, though it perhaps fails to meet the higher bar (also from the dust […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘The Life and Ship Models of Norman Ough’ by A. Roach

By Michael Leek

In contrast to marine artists, ship model builders, be they amateur or professional, are rarely acknowledged for the undoubted skills many possess. Considering the number from various countries who have made a name for themselves – albeit a name acknowledged primarily by those who practice or study the craft – and whose work resides in […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Biography | Ship Models & Figureheads

Book Review-‘Firing on Fortress Europe: HMS ‘Belfast’ at D-Day’ by N. Hewitt

By David Bowen

‘That straight-shooting ship’ was how an American admiral described HMS Belfast. This book describes her contribution to Operation Overlord in 1944. A cruiser of 11,500 tons with 12 6-inch and 12 4-inch guns, she provided heavy bombardment in support of the landings from the very start of D-day and remained on station just off the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Weapons

Book Review-‘Enigma: The untold story of the secret capture’ by D. Balme ed. by P. Hore

By Eric C. Rust

Anyone even vaguely familiar with the Battle of the Atlantic knows the story of U110. The boat’s capture on 9 May 1941, by an armed boarding party under 20-year old Sub-lieutenant David E. Balme of the destroyer HMS Bulldog, produced an unparalleled cryptanalytic bonanza for the British code-breakers at Bletchley Park that changed the trajectory […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Biography | Submarines

Book Review-‘The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters: Linchpin of victory 1935–1942’ byA. Boyd

By Norman Friedman

This is a very important book for our understanding of the Second World War and of the Royal Navy’s part in it. It is revisionist history in the best sense: a thorough look back at archival material and a careful rethink which turns accepted historical wisdom on its head. Even better, it makes much better […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2 | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Securing the Narrow Sea: The Dover Patrol 1914–1918’ by S. R. Dunn

By Alastair Wilson

Older readers may remember a board game called ‘Dover Patrol’ which they played with their friends on the playroom floor in days long past. Each side had a base to protect and a ‘fleet’ to attack the enemy or to defend one’s own ‘waters’. The different units of your ‘fleet’, represented by pieces of pasteboard […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘Sons of Gentlemen in the Days of the ‘Titanic’: The adventures of Greeny, an apprentice in tall ships 1908 to 1912’ by T. B. Greenhalgh, ed. by P. Greenhalgh

By Frank Scott

I must confess that I have rather held back from the ebook world. Initially I was put off by the title of this one, but then decided that the low price made it sufficiently interesting for me to take the plunge. Apparently, the original draft was written by the old captain in about 1970, but […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review-‘Heligoland: Britain, Germany, and the struggle for the North Sea’ by J. Rüger

By W. Mark Hamilton

Author Jan Rüger has written a masterful history of a ‘rock’ in the North Sea, and in the process provided his readers with a fascinating account of Anglo-German relations. The ‘rock’ in question is the island of Heligoland, and in the author’s words it’s ‘an apt location from where to rethink the Anglo-German past’. Heligoland […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | North Sea | WW2 | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Law of Nations and Britain’s Quest for Naval Security International Law and Arms Control, 1898–1914’ by S. Keefer

By Richard Dunley

Historians and practitioners have long acknowledged the importance of international law to the actions of navies and others operating in the maritime sphere. Recent works focusing on the prewar and First World War period by historians such as Isabel Hull, in A Scrap of Paper (2014), Nicholas Lambert, in 2012’s Planning Armageddon, and John Coogan […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Hornblower’s Historical Shipmates: The young gentlemen of Pellew’s Indefatigable’ by H. Noel-Smith and L. M. Campbell

By Isaac Land

This is a group biography of the ‘seventeen young gentlemen mustered on the Indefatigable’s books in 1797’ (p. 2) that discusses their origins, explores their relationships with Edward Pellew and each other, and reveals much about their later trajectories in life, through detective work in a wide range of archives. The genre of group biography […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Chasing a Dream: The exploration of the Imaginary Pacific’ by J. Dunmore

By Bill Jones

John Dunmore has impeccable credentials for authorship of this volume. A prolific author of over 30 volumes, including biographies and journals of significant Pacific explorers such as Jean-Francois de La Perouse, Jean-Francois de Surville and Louis de Bougainville, and the recipient of many awards including the Legion d’Honneur for his contribution to French scholarship, he […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Port Towns and Urban Cultures: International histories of the waterfront, c. 1700–2000’ ed. by B. Beaven, K. Bell and R. James

By Charlotte Mathieson

Situated on the borders of sea and land, ports occupy a unique position: a point of arrival and departure, import and export, liminality, and transition. Movement is integral to the life of ports, with incoming and outgoing flows – of people, things, water – creating a space that is constantly in flux. This flux resonates […] Read More

Filed under: Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Book Review – ‘Revolutions Without Borders: The call to liberty in the Atlantic world’ by Gavin Murray-Miller

By Gavin Murray-Miller

The ‘Age of Atlantic Revolutions’ is the veritable substance of history. It marked a period rife with political upheavals that transformed the world and larger-than-life figures shrouded in the allure of romantic mythology. As Janet Polasky herself admits in her latest book Revolutions Without Borders, the late-eighteenth century appeared ‘an era when anything seemed possible’. Polasky […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Eighteenth Century | French Revolution | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘A History of the Royal Navy: The Seven Years War’ by Janet Macdonald

By Janet Macdonald

Martin Robson is the author of the latest in the ‘A History of the Royal Navy’ series, published by the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which aims to give an overview of the role of the navy in wider history. This edition is perhaps best described as an extended precis of previous works on […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Seven Years’ War | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Sea Is My Country: The maritime world of the Makahs’ by Sean Fraga

By Sean Fraga

In The Sea is My Country, Joshua Reid presents the history of an indigenous maritime society at the heart of the Northwest Coast. Known to themselves as Qᵂidiččʔa·txˇ (kwi-dihch-chuh-aht, ‘the People of the Cape’) and to others as Makahs, the people of this tribal nation have historically centred their society and culture on the waters around […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review – ‘Journal, Memorials and Letters of Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge: Security, diplomacy and commerce in 17th-century Southeast Asia’ by Leo M. Akveld

By Leo M. Akveld

The countries of Southeast Asia which surround the historically important sea route of the Strait of Malacca – like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore – can learn little about the history of their country until they have a thorough command of the languages of their former overseas rulers. Today’s inhabitants have to master Portuguese, Spanish or […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Naval Leadership in the Atlantic World: The age of reform and revolution, 1700–1850ed.’ by R. Harding and A. Guimera

By Katherine Parker

What is naval leadership? For too long, this collection argues, the answer has been implicit for naval historians, a maritime equivalent of ‘we know it when we see it.’ Implicit assumption, however, denies the economic, social, cultural and political factors which all affect how a society defines leadership at any one point in time. In […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The European Canton Trade 1723: Competition and cooperation’ ed. by M. Kessler, K. Lee and D. Menning

By Derek Massarella

This collection of source material on European trade in Canton in 1723 originated as a teaching project at the Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen. It was conceived as a way of encouraging students to read and engage with primary sources, and, more ambitiously, it is intended ‘to contribute to a larger scholarship on the early […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | East India Company
Subjects include: Logistics

Book Review-‘The Political Economy of Indigo in India, 1580–1930: A global perspective’ by G. A. Nadri

By Markus Vink

Ghulam Nadri, an Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University specializing in early modern Gujarat and India, traces the convoluted ‘long-durée moment’ [sic] (p. 121) of natural indigo in India as a global commercial dye. Informed by the global commodity chains conceptual framework, this book looks at this particular trade from its inception in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | East India Company
Subjects include: Logistics

Book Review-‘Crail and its Fisheries: 1550–1600’ by T. Riis

By Michael Leek

The study of Scottish fisheries is frequented by publications that often tend to be ‘populist’ in nature. This is not a criticism, as without such works we would be so much the poorer in our knowledge of an important part of Scottish and, indeed, British maritime history. However, in the wider public domain there are […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘The Sea in History: The medieval world’ ed. by M. Balard

By Peter Furtado

This is the second of four massive volumes, the product of Oceanides, the extraordinary five-year international (but primarily French) research project which brings together hundreds of the world’s leading scholars of maritime history, and attempts to answer some of the very largest questions of how the sea has impacted on human history, from ancient times […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Administration | Archaeology | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Perspectives on Oceans Past edited’ by K. Schwerdtner Máñe and B. Poulsen

By Samantha Muka

This edited volume brings together scholars in history, sociology, archaeology, and the marine sciences in order to offer ‘theoretical and methodological consideration on how to do marine environmental history’. The ultimate goal of the volume is to ‘solidify a subfield, where diversity is an intellectual strength on the one hand, but on the other hand, […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Scottish Arctic Whaling’ by C. W. Sanger

By Arthur G. Credland

Sanger has published extensively on the subject of whaling and sealing and this volume shows an author in complete command of his sources. Utilizing diaries, logs and records of catches he gives us a narrative which reveals the hazards of the northern fishery, with frostbite, scurvy and death being a constant threat. With tremendous skill, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Arctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944–1945’ by W. Heinrichs and M. Gallicchio

By David Hobbs

The focus of this book is on military operations in what became the final year of the Pacific War, from the late spring of 1944 until the Japanese surrender in August 1945. For much of this time the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff had to assume that fighting would continue into 1946, and that […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Towards a Wider War: British strategic decision-making and military effectiveness in Scandinavia, 1939–40’ by J. Moretz

By Derek G. Law

Typically, the Phoney War of 1939–40 is covered in a few sentences, before histories get on to the more serious business of the German assault in the west in 1940. This book, however covers the period leading to war and the first nine months of that war in great detail in a substantial and very […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Freeing the Baltic’ by G. Bennett

By Steven Balbirnie

The author, Captain Geoffrey Bennett (1908–1983), served briefly as Britain’s naval attaché to Moscow after Stalin’s death in 1953. He published a number of naval histories upon his retirement, including studies of the First World War battles of Coronel and Jutland. This is the third edition of this book, which was originally published under the […] Read More

Filed under: Russian Revolution | Baltic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Clash of Fleets: Naval battles of the Great War, 1914–18’ by V. P. O’Hara and L. R. Heinz

By Simon Smith

Clash of Fleets joins a number of naval studies published during the last few years to coincide with the centenary of the First World War and renewed interest in the naval side of the conflict. In this book, Vincent O’Hara and Leonard R. Heinz aim to affirm the importance of sea power during the First […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review-‘Britain’s Quest for Oil: The First World War and the peace conferences’ by M. Gibson

By James Goldrick

The changes in Britain’s strategic situation, and thus defence and foreign policy, caused by the transition from coal to oil for were nothing short of profound. Before oil, Britain provided the globe with the key energy source for marine propulsive power, and was the beneficiary of a virtuous cycle by which steam coal was the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Congress Buys a Navy: Politics, economics, and the rise of American naval power, 1881–1921’by P. E. Pedisich

By Harold N. Boyer

Pedisich (former Admiral Stephen B. Luce Chair of Naval Strategy, US Naval War College) has written a legislative history of the US Navy from the Progressive Era of American history to just after the end of the First World War. The navy, in the period from the end of the Civil War in 1865 until […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | American Revolution | American Civil War | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-’21st Century Corbett: Maritime strategy and naval policy for the modern era’ ed. by Andrew Lambert

By Richard Harding

There will be few readers who do not know the name Sir Julian Stafford Corbett (1854–1922). He was one of the most influential civilian writers on maritime strategy in the early years of the twentieth century. Trained as a lawyer, extremely well connected and wealthy, he as able to devote himself to the study of […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Global Marine Science and Carlsberg: The golden connections of Johannes Schmidt (1877–1933)’ by B. Poulsen

By Richard Dunn

I would venture to suggest that Johannes Schmidt is not a name that even readers of this journal would immediately recall, but this new biographical account shows that as a scientist and entrepreneur who led 26 oceanic expeditions and revealed, among other things, the secrets of the eel’s breeding patterns, he deserves recognition. In recounting […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Boundaries and Beyond: China’s maritime southeast in late imperial times’ by N. Chin-keong

By Andrew Lambert

The maritime history of China has become a contested space, where official Chinese propaganda and sensational Western texts compete to rewrite reality. The antidote to such trifles can be found in this nuanced, sophisticated collection of scholarly essays, stretching across a long and distinguished career, re-examining Imperial China’s relationship with the sea and seaborne trade. […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Canada’s Bastions of Empire: Halifax, Victoria and the Royal Navy 1749–1918’ by B. Elson

By David Collins

Those who follow Canadian naval historiography are likely more accustomed to the story of the slender beginnings of the Royal Canadian Navy from 1910 to the build-up during the Second World War. Less well known is the story of Canada’s two naval dockyards and fortresses, one on each coast. The Pacific coast was covered by […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Quarantine: Local and global histories’ ed. by A. Bashford

By Michael Joseph

Alison Bashford has for many years been among the world’s foremost authorities on the history of quarantine. Quarantine: Local and global histories represents a return to a long-standing interest in the topic, one marked by previous works like Contagion: Historical and cultural Studies (2001), edited with Claire Hooker, and Imperial Hygiene: A critical history of […] Read More

Filed under: Health at Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Zeegang: Zeevarend Nederland in de achttiende eeuw’ by J. R. Bruijn

By Suze Zijlstra

The Dutch have a long tradition of maritime historiography that emphasized the admirals, the merchant companies, and great sea battles. Jaap Bruijn, professor emeritus of maritime history at Leiden University, greatly contributed to changing this field. He looked at the common sailor as much as he researched the people in charge, as can be seen […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review – ‘Henry V’s Navy: The sea-road to Agincourt and conquest 1413–1422’ by Cheryl Fury

By Cheryl Fury

Author Ian Friel argues that the king was a medieval monarch who recognized the importance of sea power and utilized it: Henry’s sponsorship produced a ‘shortlived navy, one of England’s most effective, but least-remembered fleets’. Friel believes we should study the brief but important period in England’s naval history for a number of reasons. Henry […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | English Channel
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Political Economies of Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean: The decline of Venice and the rise of England 1450–1700’ by Benjamin W. D. Redding

By Benjamin W. D. Redding

England’s emergence as a global maritime power, and the decline of the Venetian Republic, has long been discussed as a single concurrent process. In her latest book Maria Fusaro provides the reader with an innovative and detailed understanding of English activities and general livelihood in the Venetian empire while this transfer of power was taking […] Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Late Middle Ages | Medieval | High Middle Ages | Early Modern | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review -‘Thonis-Heracleion in Context’ by Matthew A. Cobb

By Matthew A. Cobb

  The Egyptian port city of Thonis (called Heracleion by the Greeks) served as an important strategic, commercial and religious centre from the seventh to mid-second centuries bc, but appears to have dwindled in significance after this date. This was in large part the consequence of a natural disaster taking place around the mid-second century […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review – ‘The Sea in the British Musical Imagination’ by Alexandra Wilson

By Alexandra Wilson

British cultural responses to the sea – whether literary or visual – have, in recent years, become the subject of lively scholarly investigation. Eric Saylor and Christopher M. Scheer’s The Sea in the British Musical Imagination is, however, the first dedicated study of British musical works on a nautical theme. This book covers a diverse range […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review – ‘Stephen of Linthouse: A shipbuilding memoir 1950–1983’ by Martin Bellamy

By Martin Bellamy

Stephen of Linthouse is one of the great names of Clyde shipbuilding. The yard is famous for the long line of excellent ships that it produced, including tea clippers, passenger liners and warships. The firm of Alexander Stephen & Sons was established in 1750 and was led by a succession of dynamic, talented and, at […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Aircraft Carriers of the United States Navy: Rare photographs from wartime archives’ by David Bowen

By David Bowen

This is a pictorial history of the development of the US Navy’s aircraft carriers – from a converted collier in 1922 to the nuclear powered ‘Super-Carriers’ of today – from carrying bi- planes to unmanned stealth jets. It focuses on the deployment of carriers during the Second World War and covers their development before and […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2 | Other (Twentieth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Naval Aviation | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Torch: North Africa and the Allied path to victory’ by John T. Kuehn Commander, USN (Ret.)

By John T. Kuehn Commander, USN (Ret.)

In his post-war history of the Nazi navy and its war at sea in the Second World War, Der Seekrieg: The German navy’s story, 1939–1945, German Admiral Friedrich Ruge names one of his later chapters ‘Amphibious Operations Decide the War’. This is precisely the point that Vincent O’Hara makes on the very first page of this […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Viola: The life and times of a Hull steam trawler’ by Elsa Cox

By Elsa Cox

In 2007 the reviewer arrived at Grytviken whaling station as curator of the South Georgia Museum, returning to the island as a summer resident for three consecutive years. The rusting hulk of Dias, berthed at a small jetty in front of the former whaling station manager’s villa, now the museum, was a familiar sight. Dias arrived at […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review – ‘The Salcombe Lifeboat Disaster: 27 October 1916’ by Cathryn Pearce

By Cathryn Pearce

Roger Barrett, curator of the Salcombe Lifeboat Museum, chairman of the Salcombe Maritime Museum and former station manager at the Prawle Point National Coastwatch Station, has written a well-researched and well-presented popular book on the loss of the Salcombe lifeboat on 27 October 1916. The book was timed to be published at exactly one year […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard

Book Review – ‘The Sinking of the Laconia and the U-boat War: Disaster in the mid-Atlantic’ by Marc Milner

By Marc Milner

On 12 September 1942 U-156 torpedoed and sank the 20,000 ton British liner Laconia 900 miles south of Sierra Leone, spilling 2,732 passengers and crew – including 1,793 Italian PoWs – into the sea. When Korvettenkapitain Werner Hartenstein realized the scope of the disaster, he called for help, broadcast his position in clear, raised a Red Cross flag on […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard | Navies | Submarines

Book Review-‘Charting the Oceans’ by P. Whitfield

By M.K.Barritt

This is declared as a ‘revised and updated’ edition of a book from the author’s series on cartography published in 1996. It was not reviewed in this journal though Derek Howse had alerted readers to its imminence in his assessment of the companion volumes (Mariner’s Mirror 83:4 (1998), 483). These he described as ‘scholarly, and […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Knickerbocker Commodore: The life and times of John Drake Sloat, 1781–1867’ by B. A. Castleman

By Benjamin Arnstrong USN

Biographies of American naval officers in the age of sail have tended to focus on the captains and heroes of the US Navy’s early conflicts. The multiple volumes on Stephen Decatur and his actions in the Barbary campaign through the War of 1812, and his final demise in a duel with a fellow captain, are […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812 | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Poseidon’s Curse: British naval impressment and Atlantic origins of the American Revolution’ by C. P. Magra

By J.Ross Dancy

British naval impressment has been a subject of scholarly debate and fascination for well over a century now, and recently this subject has become even more heated. The scholars currently engaging in this debate generally fall into two camps. On one side are those who examine the subject from an administrative point of view and […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution | Other (Nineteenth C) | Press Gangs
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Libro verde: Plan nacional de protecciòn del patrimonio cultural subacuàtico espanol [Green Paper of the National Plan for the Protection of the Spanish Underwater Cultural Heritage]’ by Working Group of the Technical Coordination Committee of the Historical Heritage Council (bilingual edition in Spanish and English)

By Francesco Tiboni

Despite some critical aspects which are common to the whole Mediterranean basin and Europe, Spain can nowadays be considered one of the most interesting actors in the field of underwater archaeology. This is the reason why the publication of a Green Paper of underwater archaeology represents both for Spanish and non-Spanish archaeologists a sort of […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘British Shipbuilding,1500–2010: A history’ by Anthony Slaven

By Martin Bellamy

First let us do away with the conceptual problem with this book. Although its title suggests it is a survey of over 500 years of British shipbuilding, the first 200 years are dealt with in the first four pages and the eighteenth century is done and dusted by page 15. This perhaps suggests a book […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘A Maritime History of Somerset: Volume 2’ by Adrian J. Webb (ed.)

By Cathryn Pearce

The first thing that readers will notice is that this book is beautifully produced. It has black-and-white and colour images throughout, ranging from engravings, maps, newspaper articles, Punch cartoons, watercolour sketches, paintings and modern photographs, all in a book that costs only £20. The topics are diverse, with chapters on maritime travel, the development of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Archaeology | Harbours & Dockyards | Leisure & Small Craft | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Legends in Sail’ by Olaf T. Engvig

By James P. Delgardo

Olaf Engvig is well known in maritime circles and his books, like his research, are solid, classic and prized. His latest Legends in Sail adds to his growing bibliography with yet another book done well. Based on his earlier Norwegian-published Legendariske Skuter, Legends in Sail is a rewritten and redesigned version of the earlier work. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review-‘The Royal Navy: A history since 1900’ by Duncan Redford and Philip D. Grove

By Jeremy Black

This is a largely successful and scholarly narrative of British naval history since 1900, albeit one marred by the poor production values of the publisher. However, the chronological approach poses disadvantages. By taking such an approach, the authors make it is less easy to probe continuities and discontinuities in geopolitical challenges, technological issues, and political […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Admirals of the Fleet and Admirals: Volume 1 ofa biographical dictionary of the twentieth century Royal Navy’ by Alastair Wilso

By Andrew Lambert

In this essential work of reference Alistair Wilson has provided students of the twentieth-century Royal Navy with a systematic and thorough guide to the careers of 336 full admirals and admirals of the fleet of the twentieth century. This is the first instalment of a five-volume work projected to stretch down to lieutenant commanders and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Cold War Command: The dramatic story of a nuclear submariner’ by Richard Woodman and Dan Conley

By David Bowen

This is the story of the service career of Captain Dan Conley written with the assistance of the historian and author Captain Richard Woodman. Conley’s career spanned the transition of the Submarine Service from the simple, cramped, hard-pressed and hard-worked Second World War vintage diesel submersibles to the state-of-the-art, nuclear-powered, true submarines. This transformation was […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

Book Review-‘A History of the Royal Navy: World War II’ by Duncan Redford

By John Rodgaard

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) has produced three chronologically themed books covering the Royal Navy from the sailing era to the twentieth century. In addition to the three, the NMRN has produced several slightly smaller histories each covering a specific war within the three main themes. This book by Duncan Redford is […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘German U-Boat Losses During World War II: Details of destruction’ by Axel Niestle

By Marc Milner

Few ‘battles’ lend themselves more to the compilation of data than the Battle of the Atlantic between 1939 and 1945. The ships and aircraft engaged were finite and in many ways easily quantifiable. Warships in particular were the creations of massive modern state bureaucracies, managed and operated by organizations dedicated to recording every conceivable detail […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

Book Review-‘Battleships of the Bismarck Class’ by Gerhard Koop and Klaus-Peter Schmolke

By Eric C. Rust

This is not a new book. Originally published in Germany in 1990 as part of a series on the technical features of Kriegsmarine capital ships, it was brought out in English in a hardback translation in 1998 by the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis and most recently in paperback in its current version. In the […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Biography | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘To Sea in a Sailing Ship: A celebration of the Golden Age of Sail from the diaries and photographs of Mary Lang, girl sailor of the 1930s’ by Sue Vader (ed.)

By https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00253359.2015.993901?needAccess=true

Mary Lang was an adventurous young Australian who made two voyages as a passenger in deep water sail in the 1930s, both of them in Finnish four-masted barques. The first passage was in the L’Avenir, with Captain Nils Erikson, from Australia to England, during which she rounded Cape Horn, and the second was the return […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘America’s Black Sea Fleet: The US Navy amidst war and revolution, 1919–1923’ by Robert Shenk

By Evan Mawdsley

The aftermath of the First World War in Asia Minor and southern Russia eerily anticipates current events. Nevertheless what happened then is certainly little remembered outside the region. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire in October 1918 was followed by five years of cruel conflict and ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Anatolia and elsewhere. The opening of […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘To Crown the Waves: The great navies of the First World War’ by Vincent P. O’Hara, W. David Dickson and Richard Worth (eds)

By Eric Grove

The editors of a previous volume published in 2010 on the major navies of the Second World War entitled On Seas Contested have now produced a similar volume on First World War navies. The book consists of seven major chapters, on the Austro-Hungarian, French, German, British, Italian, Russian and United States navies. A final chapter […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘Germany’s High Seas Fleet in the First World War’ by Admiral Reinhard Scheer

By Lawrence Sondhaus

At least on the German side of the naval war of 1914–18, no figure was better positioned to write a definitive account of the action than Admiral Reinhard Scheer. Already a vice-admiral and battleship squadron commander when the war began, Scheer became commander of the High Seas Fleet in January 1916 and maintained operational oversight […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Home Squadron: The US Navy on the North Atlantic Station’ by James C. Rentfrow

By Harold N. Boyer

The period between the end of the American Civil War in 1865 and the Spanish–American War in 1898 represented a complete paradigm shift in American gunnery, naval shipbuilding and tactics. Rentfrow, a permanent professor at the US Naval Academy, has written a history of the years 1874 to 1897, concentrating on the North Atlantic Station […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | American Civil War | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Fleet Book of the Alaska Packers Association, 1893–1945: An historical overview and list’ by Paul O’Brien

By Paul O'Brien

Donald H. Dyal offers a detailed and exhaustive account of a relatively obscure American industry which emerged in the late nineteenth century and rose to considerable prominence by the mid-twentieth century. Dyal draws most of the detail from the surviving (though incomplete) series of fleet books preserved in various repositories throughout Alaska. The illustrated volume […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Pacific | Arctic
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review – ‘The Milne Papers: The papers of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne, Bt., K.C.B. (1806–1896), vol. II, The Royal Navy and the Outbreak of the American Civil War, 1860-1862’ by Howard J. Fuller

By Howard J. Fuller

After 11 long years we finally have John Beeler’s second volume of Milne Papers, solidly compiled and published through the Navy Records Society (their 162nd volume). The first volume of his papers, published in 2004, featured 672 separate documents in its 788- page bulk, and while it covered the period from 1820–59, its most interesting […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Crimean War | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Navies

Book Review – ‘The Crimean War in Imperial Context, 1854–1856’ by Nicholas Tracy

By Nicholas Tracy

The publisher of this study asserts that this is ‘the only book to consider expertly translated sources in eight languages that examine the conflict’s maritime history in areas ranging from South America to Scandinavia . Until now, accounts of Britain’s and France’s naval campaigns against Tsarist Russia in the Baltic, White Sea, and Pacific have […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | Crimean War | Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Mediterranean Wooden Shipbuilding: Economy, technology and institutions in Syros in the nineteenth century’ by Gerassimos D. Pagratis

By Gerassimos D. Pagratis

Brill’s Studies in Maritime History is a recent initiative of the Leiden-based publishing house, headed by series editor Gelina Harlaftis. The second volume in this series, by Apostolos Delis, researcher at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies in Crete, deals with the history of the Mediterranean wooden shipbuilding industry in the nineteenth century and focuses on […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Life on the Tyne: Water trades on the lower River Tyne in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a reappraisal’ by Robb Robinson

By Robb Robinson

The economy of Tyneside grew rapidly during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with expansion being primarily driven by demand for coal. Peter Wright’s book examines the complexities of the water trade of the lower reaches of this vital commercial artery. He has drawn on a very wide variety of sources, including port books, probate records […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786–1861: Design, construction, careers and fates’ by Ron Brand

By Ron Brand

This book on the French sailing navy is the latest volume in the Age of Sail series. Examining warships from the period 1786–1861, it can be read independently, but also in combination with other parts of the series – for example the several volumes by Rif Winfield on British sailing warships in the periods 1603–1714, […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Eighteenth Century | French Revolution | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘From Empire to Nation: Art, history and the visualization of maritime Britain 1768–1829’ by James Davey

By James Davey

The second half of the eighteenth century saw the zenith of British imperialism, and Britain’s rise to maritime supremacy. This period also witnessed the emergence of ‘national art’, as seen through the creation of the Royal Academy, the remarkable production of visual culture, and the vast outpouring of writings that cemented public interest in its […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review – ‘Shipwreck and Survival in Oman, 1763: The fate of the ‘Amstelveen’ and thirty castaways on the south coast of Arabia’ by Guido van Meersbergen

By Guido van Meersbergen

This attractively produced volume tells the story of the demise of the Dutch East Indiaman Amstelveen on the coast of Oman in August 1763, and the subsequent trek through the Arabian Desert by a band of 30 survivors. It is based on the eyewitness account by the only officer to survive the shipwreck, third mate Cornelis Eyks. […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Indian Ocean | Shipwrecks | East India Company
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Captain Cook’s Computer: The life of William Wales FRS (1734–1798)’ by Janet MacDonald

By Janet MacDonald

In the eighteenth century, computers were not electronic boxes but people who performed calculations to create tables which assisted astronomers, surveyors, and navigators in their work. William Wales was one such, and this books focuses on his life. The book falls into three sections, the first starting with Wales’s early life. He was born in […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘True Yankees: The South Seas and the discovery of American identity’ by John H. Schroeder

By John H. Schroeder

In the years between 1783 (the Peace of Paris) and 1844 (the Treaty of Wangxi), Americans participated actively in the Old China or Indies trade. Hundreds of Americans traversed the Great South Sea, the term commonly used to describe the vast expanse of oceans, lands and peoples between the Cape of Good Hope and the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Defensive Positions: The politics of maritime security in Tokugawa Japan’ by Derek Massarella

By Derek Massarella

This book explores the relationship between the feudal domains and the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period (1603–1867), focusing on the defences of Nagasaki, one of the three major gateways for Japan’s foreign trade. The port’s administration was in the hands of the shogunate, but responsibility for defending the port was delegated to the Kyushu […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘European slave trading in the Indian Ocean, 1500–1850’ by Jane Hooper

By Jane Hooper

Between 1500 and 1850 Europeans purchased about half a million men, women, and children from East Africa, Madagascar, India and Southeast Asia, and transported them to locations throughout the Indian Ocean. The slaves who survived these voyages supported European activities by working in ports, plantations and trading factories. In spite of the scale and significance […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Before Middle Passage: Translated Portuguese manuscripts of Atlantic slave trading from West Africa to Iberian territories’ by Marc Eagle

By Marc Eagle

The great majority of scholarly work on the transatlantic slave trade has focused on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period for which sources are plentiful. In Before Middle Passage, Professor Trevor Hall brings two little-known Portuguese documents from the early sixteenth century to an English- language readership, offering valuable insight into the roots of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Trade and Cultural Exchange in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Braudel’s maritime legacy’ by Ruthy Gertwagen

By Ruthy Gertwagen

Composed of 13 papers by authors from the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and North Africa, this volume, which includes an extensive bibliography, is a tribute to Braudel’s work and methodology and to their influence regarding the importance of the Mediterranean in the early modern period. Indeed, his magnum opus, La Méditerranée et le monde […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Total Germany: The Royal Navy’s war against the Axis powers 1939–1945’ by Derek Law

By Derek Law

David Wragg is a hugely prolific author, having produced some 150 monographs in the last 40 years on everything from railways to the RAF. This 250-page volume is aimed at the general reader and gives a brief history of the Royal Navy at war. Inevitably it focuses on major events which are in general described […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean | Indian Ocean | Pacific | Arctic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines

Book Review – ‘The Last Big Gun: At war and at sea with HMS ‘Belfast’ by Robert J. C. Mowat

By Robert J.C. Mowat

The paramount significance of the light cruiser and its development within the Royal Navy of the later nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries has long been recognized, both in academic and popular publications, and in the exemplary preservation and display (by the Imperial War Museum) of HMS Belfast in the Pool of London. This fine book well […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies

Book Review – ‘From Versailles to Mers El-Kebir: The promise of Anglo-French naval cooperation, 1919–40’ by Frank Scott

By Frank Scott

This book is unusual in that its American author covers Anglo-French naval relations of this period from the French viewpoint. Moreover he specializes in French naval history, is at home in their archives, and has previously written a relevant (albeit controversial) biography, Darlan: Admiral and statesman of France. However, his attempt to cover all the twists […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review-‘Britain’s Industrial Revolution: The making of a manufacturing people, 1700–1870’ by Barrie Trinder

By Robert J.C. Mowat

This is an impressive, substantial and attractive book. Written by a lifelong practitioner and publicist of industrial archaeology (whose extra-mural lectures were greatly enjoyed by the reviewer’s parents among many others), it presents the myriad aspects of British industrial development across the titular period on the basis of specific examples. In doing so, it draws […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Archaeology | Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘East Sails West: The voyage of the ‘Keying’, 1846–1855’ by Stephen Davie

By Frank Scott

n December 1846, a three-masted Chinese junk sailed from Hong Kong for London via the Cape of Good Hope. Considerable subterfuge had been necessary to obtain this vessel because neither foreign ownership nor export was officially permitted by the Chinese. However this did not deter those British investors who scented the chance of making money, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘A History of the Royal Navy: The Napoleonic wars’ by Martin Robson

By Jeremy Black

Martin Robson has written a good guide to a crucial period in British naval history. However, these are scarcely uncharted waters and it is difficult to strike an original note. Moreover Robson has not been well served by the publisher. The book, part of a series, is unattractive with pages that are too small and […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Victory: From fighting the Armada to Trafalgar and beyond’ by Iain Ballantyne/Nelson Navy and Nation: The Royal Navy and the British people, 1688–1815 by Quintin Colville and James Davey (eds)and Jonathan Eastlan

By Martin Robson

Both of these books have one fundamental thing in common: at their heart they deal with real objects, living heritage, which readers can see for themselves either by visiting HMS Victory in Portsmouth or the long-term exhibition entitled Nelson, Navy and Nation at the National Maritime Museum (NMM). In that sense their apparent audience is […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | The Armada | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Broadsides: Caricature and the navy, 1756–1815’ by James Davey and Richard Johns

By John Hattendorf

Academics sometimes mistakenly ignore the publications that accompany museum exhibitions. Museums publish them for various reasons, not all of which are academic. This short and richly illustrated paperback was compiled to accompany an exhibition displayed at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, between October 2012 and February 2013. Its authors, James Davey, the curator of naval […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘The Sloop of War, 1650–1763’ by Ian McLaughlin

By Michael Leek

Research into the technical development of sailing ships of war has seen a significant increase in recent decades, led by the excellent in-depth monographs from the likes of Jean Boudriot in France (although nothing comparable to these has been published on British or American vessels, even though the expertise exists). However, prior to the significant […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Ports, Piracy and Maritime War: Piracy in the English Channel and the Atlantic, c. 1280– c. 1330’ by Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm

By H.J.K.Jenkins

Expressed in a perhaps surprising manner within a scholarly publication, the author’s preface to this book opens thus: ‘I have never been a big fan of pirates.’ Some readers may feel that a strand of surprise threads its way throughout the subsequent pages, published as part of a Brill series that involves various aspects of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Late Middle Ages | English Channel | Pirates
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review-’21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Considerations for the Modern Era’ by B. F. Armstrong

By J.J.Widen

The American admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan is widely considered a classical thinker of seapower. Together with Julian S. Corbett and Philip H. Colomb, he embodies the so-called ‘golden age’ of naval thinking in the decades that preceded the First World War. While Colomb has been all but forgotten by contemporary readers of naval affairs, some […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Crossing the Bar: An oral history of the British shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engine building industries in the age of decline 1956–1990’ by A. Slaven and H. Murphy (eds)

By Martin Bellamy

Slaven and Murphy’s Crossing the Bar makes available for the first time the extraordinary resource of 60 oral histories of leaders in the shipbuilding and associated industries that were made in the early 1990s. The recordings were made during a three-year project at the Centre for Business History at the University of Glasgow and funded […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Colonial Naval Culture and British Imperialism, 1922–67’ by D. O. Spence

By Stevan Gray

In the Oxford History of the British Empire, published in 1999, Barry M. Gough suggested that ‘the general linkage of navy to empire continues to escape historians’. Since this statement, little appears to have changed, and the oceanic nature of the British Empire is rarely acknowledged for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Furthermore, very few […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘British Aircraft Carriers: Design, development and service histories’ by D. Hobbs

By Eric Grove

Commander David Hobbs is a very well known expert on naval aviation, being a distinguished practitioner in the field as well as an author of well-regarded and important books and articles on the subject. He is also a former curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum and has been a prominent member of the Society […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Naval Aviation | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Book Review-‘The Scapegoat: The life and tragedy of a fighting admiral and Churchill’s role in his death’ by S. R. Dunn

By James Goldrick

he Scapegoat is the biography of Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, who was lost with the armoured cruisers Good Hope and Monmouth in an action off Coronel on the west coast of South America on 1 November 1914. The fact that this is a Book Guild work suggests that The Scapegoat is effectively self-published. It has […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography

Book review-‘RMS ‘Lusitania’: It Wasn’t & it Didn’t’ by M. Martin

By Alan W. Blackwood

Over the years a veritable plethora of books has been published, covering just about every conceivable aspect of the birth, life and death of this icon of maritime history. The elegance, the conspiracies and the darker side of the ship’s operation while under the so-called control of the Admiralty have all been dealt with in […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

Book Review-‘Down Amongst the Black Gang: The world and workplace of RMS ‘Titanic’ ’s stokers’ by R. P. Kerbrech

By Peter Goodwin

Subjectively the Titanic remains a much hackneyed travesty of maritime disaster research. However, this book is delightfully refreshing, and singularly conjures up the below decks world of the engineers who drove the palatial leviathan ships that plied the Atlantic run. The study is well written, and you can feel and smell the grime, dust and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review-‘Kipling and the Sea: Voyages and discoveries from North Atlantic to South Pacificby’ A. Lycett (ed.)

By Nigle Rigby

Rudyard Kipling is probably best known today as the poet of empire, and more particularly as the poet of British India, through novels and stories like Kim (1901) and The Man Who Would Be King (1888), poems in the vein of ‘Gunga Din’ (published in the 1892 collection, Barrack-Room Ballads) and children’s collections such as […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Book Review-‘The Pre-Dreadnought Revolution: Developing the bulwarks of sea power’ by W. Berry

By Robert J.C. Mowat

In the Victorian period, the Royal Navy faced a fundamental problem in its most serious form; that of reconciling the ‘out of area’ roles of colonial and trade protection, including survey work and the suppression of slavery, with the defence of ‘home waters’, most notably against the révanchist France of Napoleon III (1851–70). The additional […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | WW1 | Opium Wars | Crimean War
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Book Review-‘R.H.N.S. ‘Averof’: Thunder in the Aegean’ by J. Carr

By Richard Dunley

It is fair to say that early twentieth century Greek naval history is a rather niche field, in the Anglophone historiography at least. Attention has naturally focused on the major navies of Britain, Germany and to a lesser extent the United States. Even those historians who have ventured further afield to consider developments in the […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Mediterranean | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies

Book Review-‘Broke of the Shannon and the War of 1812’ by T. Voelcker (ed.)

By John R.Grodzinski

In early 1815 the Admiralty reported to the House of Commons that during the recent Anglo-American war the US Navy had captured 16 of its warships and armed vessels, with a total of 266 guns and 2,015 men and boys from a fleet that averaged 644 commissioned ships, and 140,000 seamen and marines. The list […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Weapons

Book Review-‘Tropic Suns: Seadogs aboard an English galleon’ by J. S. Dean

By John Ratcliffe

Drake, Hawkins, Raleigh and their ilk continue to stir the imaginations of academic and popular historians alike, despite the often scant evidence on which their voyages can be reconstructed. Here Professor James Seay Dean attempts to convey the realities of life during Tudor and Jacobean expeditions to the West Indies, emphasizing that spoiled provisions, scurvy […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Francis Drake | Health at Sea | Caribbean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review-‘Innocent on the ‘Bounty’: The court-martial and pardon of Midshipman Peter Heywood, in letters’ by D. A. Maxton and R. E. Du Rietz (eds)

By Grahame Aldous

It is the ambiguity of the characters and their behaviour that gives the story of the mutiny on the Bounty such great, undiminishing interest. The various parties do not easily divide into right and wrong, good and bad, and attempts to do so, whether in fictional or partial contemporary accounts, need to be treated with […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Maskelyne Astronomer Royal’ by R. Higgitt (ed.)

By Nicolàs de Hilster

A scientific self-inflicted injury is the best way to describe how the reputation of the fifth Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne (1732–1811), has been portrayed since the last century. Thanks to Dava Sobel’s 1995 book Longitude: The true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time and the forthcoming film […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Empire and Holy War in the Mediterranean: The galley and maritime conflict between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans’ by P. Williams

By Candan Badem

Philip Williams’s book examines the maritime rivalry between the Ottomans and the Spanish Monarchy in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. As the author demonstrates, a remarkable part of this conflict was the use of the North African corsairs by the Ottomans, and the Hospitaller Knights of Malta by the Habsburgs of Spain, as state-sponsored […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review-‘Sveti Pavao Shipwreck: A 16th century Venetian merchantman from Mljet, Croatia’ by C. Betrame, S. Gelichi and I. Miholjek

By Julian Whitewright

When studying the Mediterranean world of antiquity, we are constantly reminded of the profound impact that archaeological evidence from shipwrecks has had on our understanding of the myriad interconnections of the cultures and societies ranged around its shores at different times. By contrast, the maritime elements of the medieval and early post-medieval Mediterranean are relatively […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘NAVIS 5: Atti del II convegno nazionale di Archeologia Storia ed Etnologia Navale, Cesenatico, Museo della Marineria (13–14 Aprile 2012)’ by A. Asta, G. Caniato, D. Gnola, and S. Medas

By Francesco Tiboni

This book is the fifth issue of NAVIS, the journal founded some decades ago and edited by the Italian Institute of Nautical Archaeology, History and Ethnology (ISTIAEN). It contains the Proceedings of the Second Italian Congress of Nautical Archaeology, History and Ethnology, held at the Museo della Marineria in Cesenatico in 2012. Edited by four […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘The Norway Campaign and the Rise of Churchill, 1940′ by A. Dix

By Nick Hewitt

Unfortunately, every so often, some books come along which force the reader to ask the question ‘why on earth was this written?’ It is not so much that The Norway Campaign and the Rise of Churchill is a dreadful book, but rather that it is an unnecessary one, although it must be said that this […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘A Shipyard at War: Unseen photographs from John Brown’s, Clydebank 1914−1918′ by Ian Johnston

By Emily Malcolm

First World War stories usually concern the vast destructions wrought by conflict – the loss of life, the ruination of landscape, and the crushing of hope. We tend to forget that the other major preoccupations of the war years were construction and production. These encompassed munitions, food and, as illustrated in Ian Johnston’s new book, […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Searching for the Finmen: An unplanned journey in homage to the kayak and its Inuit masters’ by Norman Rogers

By Robert J. C. Mowat

This is an unusual and engaging book. The author is, to use a term he applies to another, a ‘kayakophile’, who investigated the development and characteristics of the kayak during prolonged recovery from a debilitating medical condition. Successful completion (in 2006) of the Devizes to Westminster canoe race happily marks the simultaneous achievement of both […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Ireland and the War at Sea 1641–1653’ by Elaine Murphy

By John C. Appleby

As Elaine Murphy notes in this study, naval affairs are a relatively neglected topic in early modern Irish historiography. In part this may be due to the scattered, fragmentary nature of the surviving evidence, but it is also the product of a well-established tradition of naval history that concentrates on grand strategy, battles and fleets […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Civil War | Early Modern | Irish Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Elizabeth’s Sea Dogs: How the English became the scourge of the seas’ by Hugh Bicheno

By Cheryl Fury

In many ways the popular opinions about Queen Elizabeth I’s leading maritime commanders have not changed in many decades. Men like Sir Francis Drake and his ilk are credited with the successful naval defence of England. When they sailed as privateers, their unscrupulous plundering of the mighty Spanish empire is seen as patriotic. Despite some […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Francis Drake | The Armada | Early Modern
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Seeing the World Anew: The radical vision of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 & 1516 world maps’ by John W. Hessler and Chet Van Duzer

By Richard W. Unger

In 1507 and in 1516 the German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller produced two of the most important and impressive monuments of Renaissance cartography. The large woodblock maps, each of 12 sheets, when mounted together measured 50.4 by 91.7 inches. The first was a world map, a Universalis cosmographia, while the second was a Carta marina, a nautical chart, […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘New Interpretations in Naval History: Selected papers from the Sixteenth Naval History Symposium Held at the United States Naval Academy, 10–11 September 2009’ by Craig C. Felker and Marcus O. Jones (eds)

By Raymond W. Westphal Jr

For over 40 years naval scholars and graduate students have gathered at the US Naval Academy with the specific aim of strengthening the collective knowledge of naval history by sharing new findings, challenging existing scholarship and giving budding scholars an opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to their brethren. Over the course of the […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review – ‘The Conquest of the Ocean: The illustrated history of seafaring’ by Brian Lavery

By Andrew Lambert

Mass-market maritime history can be something akin to a minefield, ranging between lightly written overviews lacking depth or insight and worthy tomes of reference that defy the reader to enjoy the journey. Brian Lavery’s latest book navigates elegantly between these twin hazards, using 67 distinct episodes, from Polynesian navigators and the Viking discovery of Newfoundland […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The World’s Key Industry: History and economics of international shipping’ by Gelina Harlaftis, Stig Tenold and Jesus M. Valdaliso (eds)

By Roy Fenton

A volume of papers devoted to the history and economics of the shipping industry as it evolved in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, The World’s Key Industry was conceived as a tribute to Lewis ‘Skip’ Fischer. Described by the editors as the scholar who has, above all others, promoted maritime history as an international discipline, Skip has […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Four Thousand Hooks: A true story of fishing and coming of age on the high seas of Alaska’ by Dean Adams

By Arthur C. Credland

This is an autobiography of the author’s emergence from diffident schoolboy into a strong young man who could play his full part in the crew of a halibut schooner. He is now captain of his own fishing boat and has learned the science of his calling at the University of Washington, now sharing his time […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review – ‘From East of Suez to the Eastern Atlantic: British naval policy, 1964–70’ by Edward Hampshire

By Geoffrey Till

It is a curious thing that one of the biggest and perhaps the most traumatic decisions made by, and for, the Royal Navy in modern times, namely the proposed but finally abandoned acquisition of a new strike carrier in the mid- 1960s, has only now been really studied in depth. Instead, it has also been […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Book Review – ‘Along the Hudson: Luxury liner row in the 1950s and 60s’ by William H. Miller

By Michael Harrison

A native of Hoboken, New Jersey, William Miller has been writing popular books about ocean liners for 40 years. During that time, as he explains in the introduction to Along the Hudson, he has collected ‘thousands upon thousands of photographs’ from corporate, governmental, and private sources, and these have formed the basis for many of his […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Secret Flotillas: Volume 2: Clandestine sea operations in the western Mediterranean, North Africa and the Adriatic, 1940–1944’ by Brooks Richards

By Derek Law

Sir Francis ‘Brooks’ Richards, was a British diplomat and, during the Second World War, a director of operations for the Special Operations Executive. He was personally involved in some of the operations he here describes as official historian and took part in running agents across the Channel, winning the first of his two DSCs for […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘‘C’ Class Destroyers’ by David Hobbs

By John A. Rodgaard

Commander Hobbs’s latest work is about the Royal Navy’s last mass-produced class of destroyers built toward the end of the Second World War and through the immediate postwar years. They were collectively known as the C class destroyers. Thirty-two ships of the class were built, and they were divided into four groups. They represented the last batch […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Command Decisions: Langsdorff and the battle of the River Plate’ by David Miller

By Eric C. Rust

David Miller has published 70 books, including four in 2001 alone. Chances are that some of his works are better written and more solidly researched than others. His retelling of the German pocket-battleship Admiral Graf Spee’s operations in the southern oceans at the outset of the Second World War, spotlighting the plight of its commanding officer […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review – ‘Town Class Cruisers’ by Neil McCart

By Derek Law

The Town class cruisers were designed to meet the constraints imposed by the London Naval Treaty of 1930. Like their US and Japanese contemporaries, the Towns were considered to be ‘light cruisers’ within the narrow terms of the Treaty. The London Treaty defined a ‘light cruiser’ as being one having a main armament no greater than 6.1 inches (155 mm) […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review – ‘Titanic: A fresh look at the evidence by a former Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents’ by John Lang

By David Gleicher

For readers beginning to be interested in the events of Titanic – presented without the trace of either a literary or antiquarian purpose (just the facts ma’am, just the facts) – they could do much worse than John Lang’s book, though it certainly has its flaws. In a lengthy preface Lang spells out a central conceit […] Read More

Filed under: Location | Atlantic | Twentieth Century | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Preparing for Blockade, 1885–1914: Naval contingency for economic warfare’ by Stephen Cobb

By David Morgan-Owen

The origins and implementation of the British Admiralty’s plans to wage ‘economic warfare’ against Germany in the early twentieth century have become a fashionable topic for historians since the publication of Avner Offer’s highly influential The First World War: An agrarian interpretation in 1989. This book, based on the author’s 2011 PhD thesis, addresses a hitherto […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Emigrant Clippers to Australia: The Black Ball Line, its operation, people and ships, 1852–1871’ by Michael Stammers

By Graeme J. Milne

This is a very much revised version of Michael Stammers’s 1978 book The Passage Makers. Well aware of the major developments in maritime and business history in the generation since the original book was published, Stammers has incorporated a wealth of new archival material as well as referencing a substantial amount of the research done by […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic odyssey of slavery and freedom’ by Marcus Rediker

By John McAleer

The genesis of Marcus Rediker’s new book is almost as complex as the incident it charts. In many ways, the book under review was directly inspired by Rediker’s hugely successful 2007 book, The Slave Ship. For all its critical acclaim, however, that book told a grim history of almost unrelenting human suffering on an industrial scale. The […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘George Charles Smith of Penzance: From Nelson sailor to mission pioneer’ by Roald Kverndal

By Alston Kennerley

The Reverend George Charles Smith (1782- 1863), a Baptist minister, was recognized in his own lifetime as the key driving force in the development of organized religious missions focused on seafarers, both in the United Kingdom and throughout the world. This lead has turned out to be no passing fad, but a movement which maintains […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Dugway-Trouin: armateur malouin, Corsaires Brestois’ by Jean-Yves Nerzic

By H.J.K. Jenkins

Admiral Nerzic’s book carries a commendatory preface by Professor Michel Verge-Franceschi of the Academie de marine. This same preface includes witty comments regarding Nerzic’s family relationship to the renowned Rene Duguay-Trouin, and the author’s historical studies at a high level. Duguay-Trouin is a substantial publication dealing with an aspect of French maritime history which compels attention, both […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Pirates
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review-‘Dead Wake: The last crossing of the ‘Lusitania’by Erik Larson/Wilful Murder: The sinking of the ‘Lusitania’by Diana Preston/A Higher Form of Killing’ by Diana Preston/Lusitania’: An illustrated biography’by J. Kent Layton

By Martin Bellamy

A disaster always draws a crowd. As with the Titanic centenary in 2012, which saw a veritable plethora of Titanic-related books, both good and bad, the centenary of the sinking of Lusitania is also causing something of a publishing explosion. This includes a number of reissued centenary editions as well as some new works. The […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review-‘Crisis in the Mediterranean: Naval competition and Great Power politics, 1904−1914’ by J. J. Hendrickson

By David Morgan-Owen

All too often naval historians of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been guilty of focusing upon developments in Europe’s northern waters. In many ways this is an understandable trend; the temptation to focus upon the Anglo-German naval arms race, which has become emblematic of the growing tensions between Britain and Germany in the […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Frauen an Bord von Frachtsegelschiffen 1850 bis 1939’ by Ursula Feldkamp

By Frank Scott

In recent years quite a lot has been written about women and the sea, not only wives and children, but also those who broke barriers and served in the crew. The title of this book is slightly misleading, as it does not restrict itself to women afloat, but also covers how social developments impacted on […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Warships of the Great War Era: A history in ship models’ by David Hobbs/The Ship of the Line: A history in ship models’ by Brian Lavery

By Michael Leek

When this series started with The Sailing Frigate, published in 2012, it was expected to form as comprehensive a record as possible of the extensive and unrivalled collection of ship models held by the National Maritime Museum (NMM), most of which have never been on public display and, because of current and possibly questionable museum […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

Book Review-‘Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail: Races and rivalries on the nineteenth century high seas’ by S. Jefferson

By Michael Leek

There is nothing wrong with so-called ‘popular history’. Indeed there is a number of historians who have demonstrated that it is possible to write for a wider, non-specialized readership without compromising their academic credentials. A. J. P. Taylor and Robert K. Massie come readily to mind. Within maritime history, and the history of twentieth century […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Book Review-‘A Sailor’s Life: The life and times of John Short of Watchet, 1839−1933’ by T. Brown

By David Jenkins

This is a fascinating account of the (remarkably long) life of the Watchet-born seafarer John Short, also known by his nickname of ‘Yankee Jack’. In many ways, there was nothing particularly unusual about his life, in that it followed a pattern of going to sea followed by thousands of young men born and brought up […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Book Review-‘The Captain and “the Cannibal”: An epic story of exploration, kidnapping, and the Broadway stage’ by J. Fairhead

By Katherine Parker

British audiences tend to associate European-Pacific interaction with Captain Cook, but the United States have a different historical relationship with the region, one centred on aggressive late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century commercial and imperial expansion. Such a relationship was recently outlined by David Igler in The Great Ocean: Pacific worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold Rush […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Crime, Punishment and Redemption: A convict’s story’ by J. Slee

By Tim Causer

The manuscript diary of the convict John Ward, held by the National Library of Australia (NLA), is a striking account of one man’s first-hand experience of life before and during transportation. June Slee’s volume is a wonderful showcase of this important primary source… Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review-‘Merchant Seamen’s Health 1860−1960: Medicine, technology, shipowners and the state in Britain’ by T. Carter

By Kevin Brown

While many historians have focused on matters relating to health in the Royal Navy, less attention has been paid to the equally important subject of the history of medical care for merchant seamen. This reflects the comparative lack of interest in merchant seamen compared with the iconic status accorded to the Royal Navy since Trafalgar […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Book Review-‘Coffins of the Brave: Lake shipwrecks of the War of 1812’ by Kevin J. Crisman (ed.)

By John R.Grodzinski

The Royal Navy and the US Navy devoted considerable resources in creating sizeable freshwater fleets during the Anglo-American War of 1812; so it comes as little surprise that interest in the wrecks of the warships that were lost, scuttled or abandoned on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain is strong with nautical archaeologists. The 14 […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812 | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Archaeology | Battles & Tactics | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review-‘Built on Scilly: The history of shipbuilding on the Isles of Scilly between 1774 & 1891’ by R. Larn and R. Banfield

By Fred Hocker

The Isles of Scilly, at the extreme western end of the English Channel (or the first landfall for eastbound vessels in the Western Approaches), have a rich maritime history as a navigational landmark and harbour of refuge. For a brief period of little more than a century, the islands had a small shipbuilding industry centred […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Liverpool: A history of ‘The Great Port’’ by A. Jarvis

By Malcolm Tull

Adrian Jarvis’s book traces the history of Liverpool, one of Britain’s major ports, from the seventeenth century to the early 1970s. While some may quibble with his description of Liverpool as ‘The Great Port’ there is no doubt about its leading position in the historical hierarchy of British ports. The history of the port is, […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review-‘Science, Utility and Maritime Power: Samuel Bentham in Russia, 1779–91’ by R. Morriss

By Richard L. Bland

Roger Morriss provides a glimpse into the life of a bright young man who, in the late eighteenth century, travelled and worked in Russia. The book is divided into three parts (science, utility and maritime power) with each of the parts subdivided into three chapters. These are followed by conclusions, seven appendices, a bibliography and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘The Wager Disaster: Mayhem, mutiny and murder in the South Seas’ by C. H. Layman

By Katherine Parker

In this engaging book Rear Admiral C. H. Layman brings his naval erudition and years of research to bear on one of the most fascinating and macabre episodes in all of maritime history: the Wager disaster. Layman brings primary sources, contemporary accounts, modern experts and his own editing skills together to offer a carefully curated […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Archaeology | Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘The British Navy in the Baltic ‘by J. D. Grainger

By Samuel McLean

The British Navy in the Baltic is the latest from John Grainger, author of such books as the Dictionary of Naval Battles and The First Pacific War: Britain and Russia, 1854−1856, also from Boydell and Brewer. The book was written with the support of the Swedish Society for Maritime History, and is part of their […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review-‘German Malta Maps by A. Ganado’ and J. Schiro : ‘The Charting of Maltese Waters: A historical account’ by W. Soler and A. Ganado

By J.D.Davies

These two books are published by the Maltese company BDL, one of several local publishers producing excellent maritime history books that deserve a much wider readership. Both cover superficially similar themes and are produced to a high standard; moreover, both are co-authored by Dr Albert Ganado, the distinguished Maltese cartographer. However, they have very different […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review-‘Sandwich 24 août 1217: L’Angleterre échappe à la domination française: La bataille navale de l’Écluse 24 Juin 1340 ‘ by G. le Moing

By Susan Rose

Since he retired, Guy le Moing has devoted his time to the study of naval history, and the two titles above are the latest he has published. His interest is in warfare at sea, especially medieval and early modern battles and in particular those which have been to some extent neglected by French historians, perhaps […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the story of the Flood’ by I. Finkel

By Robert J.C. Mowat

Any reviewer dreams of the availability of a work of haute vulgarisation which offers a concise yet detailed account of a complex yet highly significant subject and makes it publicly available at an entirely reasonable price. Such delight is to be compounded if the work is centred around the life story of a recognized television […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity
Subjects include: Archaeology

Book Review-‘The Beachman’s Coast: Suffolk coastal communities and their boats’ by R. Simper

By Cathryn Pearce

Ostensibly this book is about the demise of the beachmen of Suffolk and their work boats, mainly open yawls, smacks and galleys, which Robert Simper argues needs to be included in the better-known story of the decline of the North Sea fishery (p. 5). Beachmen were traditionally fishermen who worked from the sandy beaches of […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Dunkirk Little Ships’ by N. Sharpook

By Derek Law

The Association of Dunkirk Little Ships was formed soon after the twenty-fifth anniversary of Operation Dynamo, at the instigation of Raymond Baxter, when some 43 of the little ships sailed back to France as part of the commemoration of the evacuation. This volume of almost 200 pictures is published to coincide with the seventy-fifth anniversary […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘A Two-edged Sword: The navy as an instrument of Canadian foreign policy’ by N. Tracy

By Geoffery Till

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has always been interestingly distinctive in having to deal with two different and sometimes competing contextual imperatives. First, it is what analysts have generally regarded as a ‘medium’ navy, and so has found it particularly difficult to generate sufficient economies of scale in platforms and personnel to help it bridge […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-’21st Century Ellis: Operational art and strategic prophecy for the modern era’ edited by B. A. Friedman

By Geoffery Till

The opening blurb in the first of these two books says that the 21st Century Foundations series ‘gives modern perspective to the great strategists and military philosophers of the past, placing their writings, principles, and theories with modern discussions and debates’. The aim is less to supply answers – more to identify questions that will […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Book Review-‘Khaki Jack : The Royal Naval Division in the First World War’ by E. C. Colman

By Adam Prime

This book is possibly not regular fare for a reader of this journal, but it is the type of book which has been produced with increasing regularity since and the commencement of the centenary commemorations of the First World War in 2014. The Royal Naval Division (RND) came into being as the Admiralty realized there […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, tactics and technology’ by N. Friedman

By Steve Cobb

Readers with an interest in modern naval history will know of Friedman’s authorship of over 30 books, notably an eight-volume series on the design and development of US warship types, Fifty-Year War: Conflict and strategy in the Cold War (1999), and Network-centric Warfare: How navies learned to fight smarter through three World Wars (2009). Fighting […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines | Weapons

Book Review-‘The Great War at Sea: A naval history of the First World War’ by L. Sondhaus

By Shawn Grimes

Two decades have passed since Paul Halpern’s A Naval History of World War One was published and became a corrective to the North Sea-centric studies fostered by Arthur Marder’s seminal work on the Royal Navy and the First World War. Now, with the conflict’s centenary, Lawrence Sondhaus has written an admirable successor with his The […] Read More

Filed under: WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Seaforth World Naval Review 2016’ by Matt Schnappauf

By Matt Schnappauf

Seaforth World Naval Review 2016 is the eighth in a series of comprehensive annual global naval affairs reference works. The editor, Conrad Waters, has organized the book into four logical sections: an overview, regional reviews (with two chapters specifically dedicated to the Indonesian and Royal Navies), a review of four significant ship classes and three […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Submarines | Weapons

Book Review – ‘The British Carrier Strike Fleet after 1945’ by Matthew Willis

By Matthew Willis

The British Carrier Strike Fleet Since 1945 is nothing if not ambitious. The author, a former naval pilot, seeks to provide a comprehensive history of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier component, from the end of the Second World War to the present day, in its operational, political, materiel and scientific context. The result is an […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Naval Aviation | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Troubled Waters: Leisure boating and the Second World War’ by P. M. Bugden

By P. M. Bugden

In  this  work  the  author (N. Sharp),  who  has  previously written the story of the 700 small craft engaged on Operation Dynamo in Dunkirk Little Ships for  the  same  publisher,  has  explored  in  six chapters  a  little-known  and  interesting  aspect of the Second World War, namely, the roles of yachtsman,  yacht  and  sailing  clubs  and  […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Fremantle’s Submarines: How Allied submariners and Western Australians helped to win the war in the Pacific’ by R. Channon

By R. Channon

From March 1942 until August 1945, Fremantle became the home-from-home for a shifting population of American, Dutch and British submarines, at first fleeing the Japanese onslaught to the north, but later carrying the fight back to the enemy. The port, with Perth and Western Australia generally, was genuinely a place where the submariners were warmly […] Read More

Filed under: Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Submarines

Book Review – ‘Total Germany: The Royal Navy’s war against the Axis powers 1939–1945’ by Derek Law

By Derek Law

David Wragg is a hugely prolific author, having produced some 150 monographs in the last 40 years on everything from railways to the RAF. This 250-page volume is aimed at the general reader and gives a brief history of the Royal Navy at war. Inevitably it focuses on major events which are in general described […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘The Last Big Gun: At war and at sea with HMS ‘Belfast’’ by Robert J. C. Mowat

By Robert J. C. Mowat

The paramount significance of the light cruiser and its development within the Royal Navy of the later nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries has long been recognized, both in academic and popular publications, and in the exemplary preservation and display (by the Imperial War Museum) of HMS Belfast in the Pool of London. This fine book […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea | Pacific
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘From Versailles to Mers El-Kebir: The promise of Anglo-French naval cooperation, 1919–40’ by Frank Scott

By Frank Scott

This book is unusual in that its American author (Professor Melton) covers Anglo-French naval relations of this period from the French viewpoint. Moreover he specializes in French naval history, is at home in their archives, and has previously written a relevant (albeit controversial) biography, Darlan: Admiral and statesman of France. However, his attempt to cover […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘A History of the Royal Navy: World War I’ by Mike Farquharson-Roberts

By Lawrence Sondhaus

This concise account of British sea power in the First World War is the latest of 14 volumes in the History of the Royal Navy Series, published by I. B. Tauris in association with the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Working within the limits of a modest page-count, Mike Farquharson-Roberts manages not just to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘The Business of Transatlantic Migration Between Europe and the United States, 1900–1914’ by D. Keeling

By Lisa Chilton

Drew Keeling’s carefully researched study of the shipping industry’s engagement with transatlantic migration in the years immediately prior to the First World War will be of interest to a wide range of readers. The book is first and foremost an economic history. Keeling’s primary interest is the business of shipping migrants, where travellers, governments and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Book Review-‘The Naval Route to the Abyss: The Anglo-German naval race 1895–1914’ edited by M. S. Seligmann, F. Nägel and M. EpkenhansAshgate

By Martin Gibson

The latest in the Navy Records Society’s series of edited volumes of primary source documents provides an analysis of the Anglo-German naval race of 1895–1914, which it calls ‘probably the most totemic of all modern armaments competitions prior to the Cold War’. Many previous studies have concentrated on one of the two countries for several […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book review-‘Abenteuer Salpeter: Gewinnung und Nutzung eines Rohstoffes aus der chilenischen Atacamawüste’ edited by L. U. Scholl and R. Slotta

By Frank Scott

Sodium nitrate, or saltpetre, was an essential component for explosives (gunpowder), and in the nineteenth century it became widely used as agricultural fertilizer, which made it even more important. The largest natural deposits turned out to be in the Atacama Desert region of South America, and the Nitrate trade from the Chilean loading ports to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Logistics | Science & Exploration

Book RBellingshausen and the Russian Antarctic Expedition, 1819–21′ by R. Bulkeley Palgraveeview-‘

By Richard L. Bland

In 1819 Junior Captain Faddei Faddeyevich Bellingshausen left the Russian port of Kronstadt with a squadron of two ships to explore the Antarctic. Bellingshausen, a Baltic Prussian, was a Russian citizen, his squadron flying the Russian flag. This book contains several contemporary accounts of that voyage… Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Antarctic
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Youth, Heroism and War Propaganda: Britain and the young maritime hero, 1745–1820’ by D. A. B. Ronald

By Isaac Land

This book examines the life, times, and broader context of the Naval Chronicle, a periodical founded by the naval chaplain James Stanier Clarke in 1799. The Chronicle would ‘enable the public to form a more correct and enlarged idea of the profession’ (p. 91), rebut misinformation circulating about the navy in the newspapers (p. 94), […] Read More

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

Book Review-‘The Myth of the Press Gang: Volunteers, impressment and the naval manpower problem in the late eighteenth century, by J. R. Dancy

By Erica Charters

Impressment in the eighteenth-century Royal Navy has long been controversial. Forcing British subjects to serve as sailors during wartime seemed paradoxical for a nation that prided itself on individual liberty and considered its navy as a bulwark against the tyranny of Continental absolutism. Historians have cited contemporary debates – found in literary, legal, and political […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Press Gangs
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review-‘Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, slavery, and the origins of the British Atlantic Empire’ by A. L. Swingen

By Richard Hall

Discussions about the nature of the British Empire have been many and diverse and Abigail Swingen’s Competing Visions of Empire provides a fascinating exploration of the connections between economics, domestic politics, international relations, slavery and empire. Central to Swingen’s book are the debates about how to provide sufficient labour for the colonies; something which eventually […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘London’s Sailortown 1600–1800: A social history of Shadwell and Ratcliff, an early modern London riverside suburb’ by D. Morris and K. Cozens

By Brad Beaven

Sailortowns were the districts of merchant and naval ports where sailors visited, often lived and were entertained. It was a distinct area characterized by its public houses, brothels and low entertainment that employed significant numbers of working people. However, sailor-towns the world over have been a much neglected area of analysis by maritime and urban […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review-‘Naval Resistance to Britain’s Growing Power in India 1660–1800: The saffron banner and the Tiger of Mysore’ by P. MacDougal

By Sohinee Basak

This book outlines the naval activities of some of the Indian states, specially those under the saffron banner of the Marathas and the leadership of Tipu Sultan, the ‘Tiger of Mysore’. Deviating from the common belief that the Indian states lacked naval awareness, the author shows the rise of Indian indigenous navies and tries to […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘The Medieval Nile: Route, navigation and landscape in Islamic Egypt, by J. P. Cooper

By Deborah Cvikel

Herodotus (History, 2.5) named Egypt as the ‘gift of the river’. Cooper (p. 1), believes that Herodotus’ description suggests a rather passive Egypt, while in reality it was an active society interacting with the environment — the Nile, in which the main component was river navigation. Therefore the title and subtitle of this book convey […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s rise and the challenge to US maritime strategy’ by T. Yoshihara and J. R. Holmes

By Eric Grove

Dr Toshio Yushihara has had posts at the Naval War College at Newport Rhode Island and at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington dc think tank. James R. Holmes, ex-US Naval officer, another PhD from Tufts and former […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review-‘Heroes of Coastal Command: The RAF’s maritime war 1939–1945’ by A. D. Bird

By W.J.R.Gardner

The Second World War is rightly seen as a complex matter involving many nations on both sides and multiple theatres from Japan via Europe, Asia and Africa and over to America. The war at sea underpinned virtually all these activities. The interconnectedness of the three main types of warfare is something that became more evident […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘All the Factors of Victory: Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves and the origins of carrier airpower’ by T. Wildenburg

By Ben Jones

Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves was one of the most significant figures in the development of carrier aviation in the inter-war period and Thomas Wildenburg, an independent historian, has filled a considerable gap in the historiography with this biography. Wildenburg refers to Reeves as the ‘forgotten man of naval aviation’ (p. x) and a major reason […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Biography | Naval Aviation

Book Review-‘Six Victories: North Africa, Malta and the Mediterranean Convoy War November 1941– March 1942’ by V. P. O’Hara

By Derek Law

From 1940 to 1943 the Mediterranean was a key theatre of operations where two conflicting logistical needs intersected. For the Axis the capacity of their land forces to operate in North Africa depended on their ability to run supply convoys from Italy to Libya. For the Allies, the ability to sustain Malta as an offensive […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘William Doxford & Sons Ltd: Shipbuilders and engineers, Sunderland 1837–1988’ by P. Richardson

By Hugh Murphy

This is not a standard business or economic history. Nonetheless, Patricia Richardson has done the historiography of British shipbuilding and marine engine building a great service in her scholarly and highly readable history of the River Wear shipbuilders and engineers, William Doxford & Sons Ltd. She combines a great deal of family research into the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Graig: One hundred years in shipping’ by D. Jenkins

By Hugh Murphy

David Jenkins, with the full co-operation of the company, has written a concise history of Cardiff-based Graig Shipping from its origins in 1919 to its centenary. He chronicles Graig’s initial years as a steam and motor tramp owner and later bulk carrier operator and subsequent involvement with designing bulk carriers and Far East shipbuilding… Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Book Review-‘Napoleon’s Admirals: Flag officers of the Arc de Triomphe, 1798-1815’ by R. Humble

By C.I.Hamilton

To many in the UK (though not readers of this journal) the French navy means only a few things, mostly disobliging, and chiefly its defeat at Trafalgar, one that somehow ended the war at sea in Britain’s favour. That bias is what Richard Humble is fighting against: he argues the French navy quickly recovered, remained […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘British Nautical Melodramas, 1820–1850’ edited by A. Schmidt

By Bill Jones

Spectacle and melodrama have always played a significant part in popular entertainment, and the sea offers an impressive range of opportunity for evoking strong reactions and emotions among spectators, readers and audiences from classical and biblical times, through Viking sagas to Shakespeare’s Tempest and on to contemporary disaster movies such as Krakatoa: East of Java […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘The Last Voyage’ by P. U. Jepsen

By Daniel Pascoe

The Last Voyage is essentially about two Royal Navy ships of the line, HMS St George and HMS Defence, which were wrecked on the west coast of Jutland on Christmas Eve, 1811. It is, however, much more than the title suggests. For those less familiar with these ships and the period, Palle Uhd Jepsen also […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Jutland
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Piracy in the Early Modern Era: An anthology of sources’ by K. Lane and A. Bialuschewski

By Claire Jowitt

Pirates and piracy are perennially popular topics at all levels of student and school curricula, and among the general public alike. But they are also romanticized and poorly understood subjects. As a result, a well-selected, affordably priced anthology of sources and documents on these issues, and about important individuals, dating to piracy’s first global age […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Pirates
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Reviw-‘Glasgow Museums: The ship models, a history and complete illustrated catalogue’ by E. Malcolm and M. R. Harrison

By Michael Leek

It was the internationally renowned ship model maker, the late Donald McNarry, who wrote, in 1975, ‘Ship models are useless things and their only virtue lies in the accuracy and realism with which they depict the prototype in such a way as to give lasting pleasure to the beholder.’ Having corresponded with McNarry, and being […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

Book Review-‘1545: Who sank the ‘Mary Rose’? ‘by P. Marsden

By Fred Hocker

One of the questions asked of any shipwreck, whether a recent tragedy or an archaeological find, is why it did sink? Very often the real question being asked is, who is at fault? Modern accident investigation techniques focus on identifying all of the contributing factors to an air crash or ship sinking, such as technical […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | English Channel | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Le Grand Routier’ de Pierre Garcie dit Ferrande: Instructions pour naviguer sur les mers du Ponant à la fin du Moyen Âge’ by M. Bochaca and L. Moal Renne

By Michael Jones

Most modern Anglophone readers who are familiar with Le Grand Routier probably owe their knowledge to the ground-breaking work of Eva G. R. Taylor, The Haven Finder’s Art: A history of navigation from Odysseus to Captain Cook (London, 1956). In it Pierre Garcie dit Ferrande from Saint-Gilles-sur-Vie (now Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie), a small port on the Vendée […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The Ships that Came to Manchester: From the Mersey and Weaver sailing flat to the mighty container ship’ by Roy Fenton

By Roy Fenton

Next article Those visionaries who wanted to turn Manchester into a sea port had two major struggles. The first was to overcome the fierce resistance of Liverpool and other interests in order to obtain a parliamentary bill to construct a ship canal. The second was to persuade reluctant shipping lines to use the canal which had […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review – ‘‘Deutsche, werdet Mitglieder des Vaterlandes!’: Der Deutsche Flottenverein 1898–1934’ by Marcus Faulkner

By Marcus Faulkner

The growth of navies at the end of the nineteenth century paralleled an increased public interest in naval affairs and the rapid expansion of naval interest groups. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Imperial Germany where, within a comparatively short period, the navy was transformed from a coastal defence force to an oceangoing fleet […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review – ‘Empires on the Waterfront: Japan’s ports and power, 1858–1899’ by Ian Nish

By Ian Nish

Dr Phipps gives us a well-researched monograph on a subject which has been much neglected in western literature and frequently misunderstood. Using a wide range of Japanese newspapers, both national and local, and British and Japanese archives, she has provided insights into the mysteries of Japanese government trading policy and locally into the ambitions of […] Read More

Filed under: Pacific
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Discovering the North-West Passage: The four-year Arctic odyssey of H.M.S. ‘Investigator’ and the McClure Expedition’ by Richard L. Bland

By Richard L. Bland

In 1845 Sir John Franklin set out in command of the ships Erebus and Terror to discover the Northwest Passage. As the years passed without word from Franklin, increasing anxiety rose about the fate of the expedition. Rescue missions were sent out to find the missing ships. One of those missions, departing England in 1850, consisted of the ships Enterprise and Investigator, […] Read More

Filed under: Arctic
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘Shaping the Royal Navy: Technology, authority and naval architecture, c. 1830–1906’ by Alastair Wilson

By Alastair Wilson

This comprehensively researched book might be described as a morality tale, of good (the scientific Institute of Naval Architects) versus the bad (the intuitional seaman – every hair a rope yarn, every finger a marline spike) fighting for the soul of the Royal Navy – the ships in which it fought, and fights. The struggle […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Book Review – ‘Embassy to the Eastern Courts: America’s secret first pivot toward Asia, 1832–37’ by Caitlin M. Gale

By Caitlin M. Gale

Embassy to the Eastern Courts is a diplomatic history about the efforts Edmund Roberts, a New England merchant, took in negotiating treaties for the young United States with Oman, Siam, Cochin China and Japan decades before Commodore Perry’s more famous operation. Set against the backdrop of Jacksonian politics, author Andrew C. A. Jampoler, a former […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘HMS Trincomalee: Frigate 1817’ by Nicholas Tracy

By Nicholas Tracy

Seaforth has produced a series of richly illustrated magazine-quality soft-cover quarto books about single historic ships. The latest showcases the teak-built frigate Trincomalee, constructed in the Bombay yard of the East India Company by Master Builder Jamsetjee Bomanjee Wadia, and floated out of the dock in 1817. The text by Wyn Davies includes chapters on wooden […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘The Last British Battleship: HMS ‘Vanguard’ 1946–1960 ‘by R. A. Burt

By Aidan Dodson

This book is in many ways an ‘appendix’ to the same author’s series of volumes on British battleships, originally published by Arms and Armour Press from 1985, and redesigned, reprinted and on occasion to a degree retitled in more recent years by Seaforth. Reviewers of the book which appeared as British Battleships 1919–1945 in 2013 […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Battleship Bismarck: A design and operational history’ by W. H. Garzke, R. O. Dulin and W. Jurens

By Innes McCartney

This lengthy and lavishly produced new history of the battleship Bismarck from construction to destruction has been written by three respected authors on the study of the ship. Garzke and Dulin are both career naval architects and Jurens is an engineer with a specialist interest in battle design and gunnery. Jurens has also been involved […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review-‘Painting War: George Plante’s combat art in World War II ‘by K. Broome Williams

By Michael Leek

The concept of ‘official’ war artists making visual records and interpretations of naval and military battles can be said to have started with Van de Velde the Elder, along with one or two of his English contemporaries. Van de Velde was initially the official artist of the Dutch navy and was, for example, present during […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘Decision in the Atlantic: The Allies and the longest campaign of the Second World War’ by M. Faulkner and C. M. Bell (eds)

By David Bowen

In the opening words of the editors, the book ‘seeks to highlight the complexity of the Battle of the Atlantic by reassessing its place within Allied grand strategy and by examining some of its lesser-known aspects. While the general narrative of the campaign and many of its facets are well known, much remains to be […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review-‘British Naval Weapons of World War Two: The John Lambert Collection, vol. 2, Escort and minesweeper weapons’ by N. Friedman (ed.)

By Aidan Dodson

This volume represents the second of two publishing drawings left behind by the late John Lambert, who died in 2016. The first volume covered weapons installed in British destroyers; the present one covers principally those of escort vessels and minesweepers. It additionally includes a group of drawings of a number of weapons employed in larger […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Weapons

Book Review-‘The War for the Seas: A maritime history of World War II’ by E. Mawdsley

By Derek Law

Evan Mawdsley is a former professor of international history at the University of Glasgow. With a notable publication record on twentieth century Russian history and on the Second World War, he here turns his attention to the naval war. The result is a wide-ranging, comprehensive and lucidly written account of the war at sea, full […] Read More

Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review-‘The World of the Battleship: The lives and careers of twenty-one capital ships from the world’s navies, 1880–1990’ by B. Taylor

By Harold N. Boyer

Bruce Taylor, freelance translator and author, has compiled histories of 21 battleships from the advent of steel navies in the 1880s to the last use of the American Iowa-class battleships in 1992. His goal is to provide ‘in-depth coverage of a representative vessel from each navy which had a battleship in active commission between 1882 […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘The Last Days of the High Seas Fleet: From mutiny to Scapa Flow’ by N. Jellico

By Eric Grove

Nicholas Jellicoe is the grandson of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Jellicoe. Over the last few years he has thrown himself with great enthusiasm into the naval history of the First World War and his grandfather’s major role in it. I met him in Blackpool eight years ago to give him advice on launching his […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘Scapa 1919: The archaeology of a scuttled fleet’ by I. McCartney, Osprey

By Andy Brockman

The first thing to be said about this book is that it is not a traditional historical account of the ‘grand scuttle’, neither is Innes McCartney’s new book a traditional archaeological report, too many of which are hard going even for archaeologists. Instead the author has produced a hybrid publication which revisits the end of […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Archaeology | Navies

Book Review-‘French Armoured Cruisers 1887–1932’ by J. Jordan and P. Caresse

By Aidan Dodson

This is the first book in any language dedicated to the armoured cruisers of the French navy, and as such fills a significant gap in the literature. It forms the latest of a series of books by John Jordan in collaboration with various French colleagues, covering French warship-types, and is uniform with them in design […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘The Man Who Discovered Antarctica: Edward Bransfield explained, the first man to find and chart the Antarctic mainland’ by S. Bransfield,

By Frank Scott

ntarctica is a bleak and desolate continent, and the surrounding ocean is equally hostile. Those who first explored and charted it in the early nineteenth century were risking their lives for little or no reward. Arctic explorers had their ‘Holy Grail’ quest, finding the fabled Northwest Passage, but down south the Cape Horn and Magellan […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Antarctic
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Book Review-‘Shetland and the Greenland Whaling’ by A. Duncan,

By Arthur G. Credland

This impressive volume is a significant addition to our knowledge of the Arctic whaling trade and shows the vital importance of the islanders to its successful prosecution. Equally the income from the hire of seamen, and the money earned each voyage became essential to the local economy. Initially the men, crofters who were part-time farmers […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘London and the Whaling Trade by’ C. Ellmers and C. Payton

By Arthur G. Credland

This volume, the proceedings of a Docklands History Group Symposium held at the Museum of London in March 2013, brings us up to date with the state of knowledge of the London whaling trade. There is a surprising lack of surviving log books of the whale fisheries from the metropolis both to Greenland and the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Trading in War: London’s maritime world in the age of Cook and Nelson’ by M. Lincoln

By Isaac Land

Trading in War examines the social and cultural history of the maritime districts of London, on both the north and south banks of the Thames, from the Seven Years War era through the Napoleonic Wars. It is aimed at a general readership, rather than a specialized academic audience, integrating and abridging what we know from […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | James Cook | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Logistics

Book Review-‘Review of British Flag Officers in the French Wars, 1793–1815: Admirals’ lives’ by J. Morrow Bloomsbury

By Evan Wilson

John Morrow’s study of British admirals during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815) plunges directly into the subject matter. In the introduction, he sketches a social history of the nearly four hundred flag officers who served during the wars and offers some general thoughts on the challenges they faced in their careers. He points […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review-‘Gibraltar: The greatest siege in British history’ by R. and L. Adkin

By Richard Harding

The end of the American War of Independence in 1783 left Britons with few reasons to feel anything other than relief that the conflict was over. Although a Franco-Spanish invasion attempt in 1779 had been defeated, and Rodney had won a tremendous victory at the Saintes in April 1782, most of the North American colonies […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Book Review- ‘Britain’s Last Invasion: The battle of Fishguard 1797’ by P. Carridice

By Richard Harding

Invasions from the sea take many forms. From small raids in pursuit of plunder and destruction to major mechanized armies fulfilling the strategic potential of sea power. Most can be assumed to be undertaken with a clear understanding of the relationship between their means and their objective. Seldom are huge risks taken with lives and […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Irish Sea | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review – ‘The Seasick Admiral: Nelson and the health of the navy’ by Brian Vale

By Brian Vale

As suggested by the title, this latest book by Kevin Brown, the curator of the Alexander Fleming Museum at St. Mary’s Hospital, describes Nelson’s almost continuous poor health, his numerous wounds including his ophthalmic problems, his death at Trafalgar, his burial and subsequent ‘apotheosis’. The author explains in detail the admiral’s attitude to the health […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review -‘Navigational Enterprises in Europe and its Empires, 1730–1850’ by M. K. Barritt

By M. K. Barritt

The chapters in this important addition to the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series are derived from papers delivered at a sequence of conferences inspired by the Board of Longitude project of the University of Cambridge and the National Maritime Museum. The editors declare an aim of giving depth to the British story by describing […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Ocean is a Wilderness: Atlantic piracy and the limits of state authority, 1688–1856’ by Jason Daniel

By Jason Daniel

In The Ocean is a Wilderness, Guy Chet asks why many historians of Atlantic pirates accept that the rampant piracy following the War of Spanish Succession (1701–14) precipitously declined in the 1720s under assault from the Royal Navy. Chet challenges this traditional interpretation of a world increasingly hostile to seaborne thieves with two essential arguments concerning […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Captain Cook’s Merchant Ships: ‘Freelove’, ‘Three Brothers’, ‘Mary’, ‘Friendship’, ‘Endeavour’, ‘Adventure’, ‘Resolution’ and ‘Discovery’ by Janet MacDonald

By Janet MacDonald

This book tells the story of Captain James Cook’s merchant ships: the four in which he learned his job as a merchant sailor (Freelove, Friendship, Three Brothers, and Mary) and the four which he took to the Pacific on his voyages of discovery (Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure and Discovery). There have been many books about Cook, mainly covering his life […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Harbours & Dockyards | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Trade, Circulation, and Flow in the Indian Ocean World’ by Markus Vink

By Markus Vink

Preceded by an introduction from the editor, and historian of Indian Ocean studies, Michael Pearson, the majority of the eight inter-disciplinary essays in this volume are revised versions of contributions to the conference ‘Dimensions of the Indian World Past’ held in Fremantle, Western Australia, in November 2012. We are promised unity in diversity: though ‘ostensibly […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Logistics | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571–1644: Local comparisons and global connections’ by Derek Massarella

By Derek Massarella

This book, a PhD thesis revised for publication, champions the currently fashionable analytical framework of ‘connected histories’. The author analyses ‘the Manila System’, which she describes as ‘characterised by multi-layered connections based on negotiations, a complex market torn between protectionism and free trade, triangular circulations and bi- or multilateral communication involving different parties of the […] Read More

Filed under: Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Law, Labour, and Empire: Comparative perspectives on Seafarers, c. 1500–1800’ by Janice Gooch

By Janice Gooch

This book is the result of a conference entitled ‘Working lives between the deck and the dock’ which had the primary goal of investigating the legal and economic status of seafarers in the Mediterranean during the ‘long’ seventeenth century (1570–1730). The book covers the same period, but expands the work to look globally. The preface […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review – ‘Chokepoints: Movement, mobility, regulation and the Suez and Panama Canals in global history’ by Christoph Laucht

By Christoph Laucht

After their opening in 1869 and 1914 respectively, the Suez and Panama canals have functioned as ‘essential instruments of world unity’, as the French geographer André Siegfried argued in his comparative study of the two inter-oceanic waterways Suez and Panama (1940). For Siegfried, ‘[t]his unity was the magnificent achievement of the nineteenth century’. Following in particular the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Mediterranean | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Logistics | Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review- ‘Small Boats and Daring Men: Maritime raiding, irregular warfare, and the early American navy (campaigns and commanders)’ by B. Armstrong

By Michael Hardman

This textbook covers the much neglected area of irregular warfare in the United States Navy from the early colonial times to the end of the age of sail. The author from the outset rejects the encyclopaedic approach or any attempt to completely cover in detail all the developments in this period and instead adopts a […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Book Review- ‘The European Seaborne Empires: From the Thirty Year’s War to the Age of Revolutions’ by G. Pacquett

By Lambert, Andrew

While the title is a deliberate homage to well- known works by Charles Boxer and John Parry on the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish seaborne empires from the late 1960s, Gabriel Pacquette has reworked the concept to address concerns that have emerged over the past 50 years, not least slavery, forced migration, the role of the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review- ‘Een zee van traan: vier eeuwen Nederlandse walvisvaart 1612–1964 by J. R. Bruijn and L. Hacquebord

By Dreijer, Gijs

aap Bruijn and Louwrens Hacquebord, two emeritus professors in history and geography, have co-operated to write this general overview of whaling and the whale trade in the Netherlands between 1612 and 1964. Since most works on the subject have focused on specific periods in history, such a general overview is both necessary and long overdue. […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Book Review -‘Pirates: A new history, from Vikings to Somali raiders’ by P. Lehr

By Powell, Nush

Peter Lehr has put together an unusually inclusive account of pirates past and present, a useful volume that acquaints the reader with the basic elements of piracy across the globe and historical eras, from buccaneers to Barbary to Balangingi. We find time to learn of monks (yes, plural) who became pirates, and of the differences […] Read More

Filed under: Pirates
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review – ‘High Seas Buffer: The Taiwan Patrol Force, 1950–1979’ by Bruce A. Elleman

By James Goldrick

This study casts light on a significant and long standing naval commitment by the United States to ensure the survival of Taiwan as a political entity separate from mainland China. The presence and occasional interventions of USN units, as well as the training that they provided to the Nationalist Chinese Navy – and the reassurance […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard | Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review – ‘Vickers’ Master Shipbuilder Sir Leonard Redshaw’ by Leslie M. Shaw

By David Andrews

This is a very handsomely produced and comprehensive biography of one of the great and last British shipbuilders, Sir (Len) Leonard Redshaw. A truly outstanding Barrovian, he was devoted to his industry and the Barrow Shipbuilding Works in particular. His life at Barrow encompassed the pre-war build up, the postwar success of Barrow shipbuilding, (where […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review – ‘SS United States’ by Andrew Britton

By Michael Harrison

This slim volume, part of the paperback ‘Classic Liners’ series offered by the History Press, presents a brief illustrated history of the 1952 American passenger liner United States. It begins with the author’s personal story of family connections to British passenger shipping and a childhood spent in Southampton. A perfunctory introduction then sketches the history of […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘The Churchill Scheme: The Royal Navy Special Entry Cadet Scheme, 1913–1955’ by John S. Beattie

By Alston Kennerley

It has long been recognized that entry into the adult world of work demands some form of preparation and introduction relating to the industry or occupation under consideration, and perhaps specific to a projected status. Preparation might range from a tour of premises followed by on-the-job training understudying someone having the right experience, to structured […] Read More

Filed under: Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Book Review – ‘Joe Rochefort’s War: The odyssey of the codebreaker who outwitted Yamamoto at Midway’ by Elliot Carlson

By Eric Grove

The large number of people who have seen the feature film ‘Battle of Midway’ will no doubt remember the rather eccentric US Naval intelligence chief at Hawaii, Joe Rochefort. Clearly an eccentric, but having the trust of the US naval command, he was able to say where the Japanese attack would fall. This laid the […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Strategy and War Planning in the British Navy, 1887–1918’ by Shawn T. Grimes

By Jerker Widen

The decades preceding the First World War may be considered a golden age of naval strategic thinking. During this time, the American Alfred Thayer Mahan produced his widely acclaimed The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1660–1783 (1890), which brought sea power to the centre stage in political circles all around the Western world. In Britain, the […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘A Dog Before A Soldier: Almost-lost episodes in the US Navy’s Civil War’ by Chuck Veit

By Howard Fuller

Although the tales here are old, there are several elements to this curious, enjoyable little work that are actually quite new. For one, it is selfpublished (through lulu.com – a website.) The author is also a Civil War re-enactor—but proudly the founder of the US Naval Landing Party, ‘one of the few living history groups […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Book Review – ‘To Auckland by the Ganges: The journal of a sea voyage to New Zealand in 1863’ by Robert M. Grogans

By Steve Mullins

Migration is an epic theme in the history of the British Empire, and has left in its considerable wake an extensive literature exploring the experiences of migrants to the Australasian colonies. The best books, among them Don Charwood’s wide-angled The Long Farewell (1981), Helen Woolcock’s Rights of Passage (1986), Jan Gothard’s Blue China (2001) and Robin Haines’s Life and Death in the […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853–56, 2nd edn’ by Andrew Lambert

By Candan Badem

Professor Lambert’s book on British strategy in the Crimean War, since its first edition in 1990, has been a most welcome contribution to the literature on the subject. While the literature is really huge, the book is very distinct from the rest by its theoretical approach and geographical focus. The new edition comes with a […] Read More

Filed under: Crimean War | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Mit Kurs auf Charleston, S.C.: Kapitän Heinrich Wieting und die deutsche Auswanderung nach South Carolina im 19. Jahrhundert’ by Andrea Mehrländer

By Michael Leek

There is an apparent tendency or trend for some national museums to focus less on their role as centres for the understanding of history, culture and knowledge, but increasingly on catering for generations with limited attention spans. This is often reflected in what is sold through museum shops, with the lowest common denominator prevailing; an […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Black Salt: Seafarers of African descent on British ships’ by Ray Costello

By John McAleer

Black Salt is an ambitious project: its objective is to document the history of seafarers of African descent over several centuries, by examining their work and experience in a range of different maritime contexts. As befits such a sweeping subject, the lives and stories that Ray Costello has used to construct his narrative are drawn […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Lords of the Sea: A history of the Barbary Corsairs’ by Alan G. Jamieson

By H. J. K. Jenkins

Jamieson subtitles his introduction ‘The Barbary Legend’: that term is appropriate. The subject matter involves a period of several centuries and, in terms of narrative, the theme is both colourful and full of adventure. However, the story of the Barbary Corsairs tells of deeper matters: protracted politico-religious struggle on the grand scale, complete with a […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Mediterranean | Pirates | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review – ‘British Naval Captains of the Seven Years’ War: The view from the quarterdeck’ by A. B. McLeod

By Richard Harding

For any aspirant officer entering the Royal Navy in the mid-eighteenth century command of his own ship provided a vision of a future wealth, or at the very least the promise of an honourable and secure retirement. The key to this was to achieve post rank – the command of a Sixth Rate 20-gun ship […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Administration

Book Review – ‘Swedish Naval Administration 1521–1721: Resource Flows and Organisational Capabilities’ by Jan Glete

By Martin Bellamy

With Jan Glete’s passing, maritime history lost one of its great original thinkers. This is his last book in which he presents the results of a lifetime’s study of the Swedish navy. Readers of his previous books, notably Navies and Nations (1993), Warfare at Sea (2000) and War and the State in Early Modern Europe (2002) will be […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Administration

Book Review – ‘Nicolaes Witsen and Shipbuilding in the Dutch Golden Age’ by A. J. Hoving

By Fred Hocker

Among the major works published on shipbuilding before 1800, Nicolaes Witsen’s Aeloude en Hedendaegsche Scheeps-bouw en Bestier (The construction and management of ancient and modern ships) is nearly unique. Unlike more or less all of the others, it does not presume any prior knowledge of shipbuilding or design and so provides a detailed description of the […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Invading America: The English Assault on the New World 1497–1630’ by David Childs

By Peter C. Mancall

Once upon a time, historians who wrote about the arrival of the English in North America depicted a dramatic and positive moment for the Anglophone world. They described hardy souls clambering on to transAtlantic vessels, individuals who struggled against long odds but managed to persevere. Their diligence paid enormous dividends: these folks established colonies that […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘The Channel Islands 1370–1640: Between England and Normandy’ by Tim Thornton

By Wendy R. Childs

As Professor Thornton makes clear in his introduction, this is not a maritime history of the Channel Islands. It is essentially a study of the administrative and religious relationship of the Islands with the Crown of England and of their links with Normandy, which continued into the early modern period. There is only occasional reference […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Inside the Illicit Economy: Reconstructing the smugglers’ trade of sixteenth century Bristol’ by Evan T. Jones

By Claire Jowitt

As a literary critic and cultural historian, rather than an economic historian, and as a reader that likes to be told stories, especially ripping good yarns, I approached reviewing Evan Jones’ detailed account of the ‘business’ of smuggling in sixteenth-century Bristol with some trepidation. Inside the Illicit Economy is not a ‘romantic’ account of smuggling, but […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | English Channel | Early Modern | Irish Sea | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe’ by Daniel Carey and Claire Jowitt(eds)

By Eva Johanna Holmberg

It can sometimes be a daunting task to review books written and edited by friends. In the case of the article collection, Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe, published in the Hakluyt Society Extra Series by Ashgate, I feel that I am, however, a suitable personforthis task. It is based on papers presented […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The Maritime Landscape of Roman Britain: Water transport on the coasts and rivers of Britannia’ by James Ellis Jones

By Jorit Wintjes

Water transport was an important part both of Roman army logistics and of the civil economy of Roman Britain. Given that Britain was an island, and one not only with many accessible shore areas, but also with rivers allowing access far inland, this appears to be rather self-evident. Yet even so, water transport has not […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | English Channel | Irish Sea | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘Navigation et géographie dans l’antiquité greco-romaine’ by Jean-Marie Kowalski

By Anthony Jones Papalas

Kowalski begins by discussing how the Greeks imagined the sea. It was the realm of pirates; it separated lovers, and nurtured shady merchants. Plato compared the Greeks to frogs never far from water and lamented the sea’s corrupting influence on Greek civilization. But Kowalski’s main purpose is to analyse the works of the Greek geographers […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘Nautical Chic’ by Melanie Vandenbrouck

By Melanie Vandenbrouck

Nautical Chic charts the sea’s complex relationship with fashion, from the birth of naval uniforms in the eighteenth century to the catwalks of the twenty-first century. In doing so, it debunks some nautical myths while throwing surprising light onto others. Dress arguably contributes to defining one’s identity and place in society, and the book’s chapters are […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Art as a Tool in Support of the Understanding of Coastal Change in Wales’ by Peter Wakelin

By Peter Wakelin

The evidential use of historical images is the subject of this report, written by a geologist and an engineer interested in their applications to assess coastal change prior to scientific coastal monitoring. Formerly a coastal manager on the Isle of Wight, Robin McInnes has been commissioned by the Crown Estate to write a series of […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea
Subjects include: Archaeology | Art & Music | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘ Cargomobilities: Moving materials in a global age’ by Kimberley Peters

By Kimberley Peters

Cargomobilities sheds light on the ‘forgotten’ spaces of logistics (p. 6), and the vital intersections between people, goods, and transport, in a volatile physical and political world. The book, situated within what is called the ‘new mobilities paradigm’, draws attention to the processes of power enmeshed with logistics flows. Here logistical movement is understood as more […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

Seaforth and Norman Friedman have together once more produced a highly significant contribution to the technical history of twentieth-century naval warfare. This book complements Friedman’s study of surface gunnery with an analysis of anti-aircraft gunnery and its related fire control systems. As usual, the study is a comprehensive account of how technology related to policy […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Naval Aviation | Navies | Weapons

Book Review – ‘The U.S. Naval Institute on Naval Command’ by Harold N. Boyer

By Harold N. Boyer

The US Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military Commands and Associated Terms defines command as ‘the authority that a commander in the armed forces lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or assignment’. In this anthology of articles on command and leadership, Thomas J. Cutler, Director of Publishing at the US Naval Institute and Fleet Professor […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

Book Review – ‘The Mobilities of Ships’ by Steven Gray

By Steven Gray

This new edited collection, published by Routledge, is in fact a revised version of a special issue of Mobilities, an interdisciplinary journal. The journal is described as aiming to explore ‘the large-scale movements of people, objects, capital, and information across the world, as well as more local processes of daily transportation, movement through public and private […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff’ by Fred M. Walker

By Fred M. Walker

In the past 40 years, the business of Harland and Wolff has gone through traumatic times, and sadly, its shipbuilding days now are at an end. This period witnessed great changes in production methods, massive government intervention coupled with revised management structures and systems. Irrespective of the negative outcome, this complex story has to be […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Frank Henry Mason: Marine painter and poster artist’ by Pieter van der Merwe

By Pieter van de Merwe

This small hardback monograph updates and expands a 47-page booklet by the same author, published by Hartlepool Museum in 1996, and accompanying a local exhibitions on Mason who was born at nearby Seaton Carew in 1875 (a date confirmed here, rather than 1876). It is published to coincide with two other retrospectives this year, one […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review – ‘Battle of Dogger Bank: The first Dreadnought engagement, January 1915’ by Eric Grove

By Eric Grove

Dogger Bank was the first engagement between capital ships of the Dreadnought generation. It was fought in the North Sea in January 1915, between Rear-Admiral Hipper’s Erste Auklarungsabteilung and Vice Admiral Beatty’s Battle Cruiser Fleet, both the vanguards of their respective battle fleets. The Germans were out to deal with North Sea trawlermen whom they […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Before Jutland: The naval war in northern European waters, August 1914–February 1915’ by Jorit Wintjes

By Jorit Wintjes

The war at sea in northern waters in the First World War is often associated with the battle of Jutland. This focus on the only large-scale engagement of the dreadnought era often reduces the naval history of the war before that event to being a mere prelude to it. While this concentration on the battle […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘RMS ‘Empress of Ireland’: Pride of the Canadian Pacific’s Atlantic Fleet’ by Michael R. Harrison

By Michael R. Harrison

The transatlantic liner Empress of Ireland is generally remembered for sinking in the early morning of 29 May 1914 after a collision with the Norwegian collier Storstad in the St Lawrence River. In a quarter of an hour, 1,012 passengers and crew died, mere hours after departing Quebec for Liverpool. Derek Grout’s short book, published to coincide with the […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Technikgeschichte des industriellen Schiffbaus in Deutschland im 19. und 20. Jahrhunder: Handelsschiffstypen und ihr Entwurf – Yachten und Sportboote’ by Henning Kuhlmann

By Henning Kuhlmann

Finally, in 2014, the time had come: those who had been waiting for the third and final volume of Technikgeschichte des industriellen Schiffbaus in Deutschland im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert were at long last satisfied. Initially, it had been hoped to have this edition in three volumes completed in time for the centenary of the Schiffsbautechnische Gesellschaft […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Empire, Technology and Seapower: Royal Navy crisis in the age of Palmerston’ by Miles Taylor

By Miles Taylor

This study is in some respects a prequel to the author’s 2007 monograph on ironclad technology and Anglo-American sabre-rattling during the Civil War era. This time the canvas is broader, taking in the Crimean War, the arms race with France and the early stages of the American conflict. As with his earlier work, Fuller successfully […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘War in the Chesapeake: The British campaigns to control the bay, 1813–1814’ by Richard Hall

By Richard Hall

The term ‘forgotten war’ is one normally associated with the Korean Conflict of 1950–3. Yet such a term can also be applied to perhaps one of the most contemporarily traumatic, but now overlooked, wars of the early nineteenth century: the so-called War of 1812. It was once said by Francis Parkman that ‘great events obscure […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Histoire de la Marine du Consulat et de l’Empire (1799–1815)’ by Patrice Decencière

By Patrice Decencière

Much has been written about the Royal Navy of the Napoleonic wars but, surprisingly, few books have been published about its main opponent, the French Republican, then Imperial Navy, and most of these have focused only on the war at sea. Pierre Levêque, author of a masterly social study on naval officers of the French […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Britain Against Napoleon: The organisation of victory, 1793–1815’ by Leighton James

By Leighton James

Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at that climactic battle at Waterloo signified the end of the Anglo-French hostilities which lasted, with two brief pauses, for 22 years. In the aftermath of the battle Waterloo was hailed in Britain as a turning point in history. Victory was used to consolidate a sense of British identity in the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Dutch Warships in the Age of Sail 1600–1714: Design, construction, careers and fates’ by Ron Brand

By Ron Brand

In 1993 Jaap Bruijn, a Dutch professor (now emeritus) of maritime history, wrote The Dutch Navy of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, published by the University of South Carolina Press. Bruijn wrote the book because he strongly felt the need for such a study in the college’s maritime history collection in Leiden, where he taught for […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Pirate Nation: Elizabeth I and her royal sea rovers’ by Kathrin Zickermann

By Kathrin Zickermann

In his book Pirate Nation, David Childs takes a close look at the involvement of Queen Elizabeth, her Privy Council, the High Court of Admiralty and local magistrates in English piratical activities. According to Childs, the English monarch saw acts of state-sponsored piracy – mainly directed against Spain and Portugal – as one of few options […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | English Channel | Pirates
Subjects include: Biography | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Book Review – ‘The Rise and Fall of British Shipbuilding’ by Fred. M. Walker

By Fred M Walker

In just over 100,000 words, this volume purports to describe the thousand-year history of shipbuilding on our islands, to ascribe reasons for the climb to international leadership at the beginning of the twentieth century and then explain the near extinction of the industry a mere eighty years later. This is an ambitious objective for any […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

‘Book Review – ‘The Maritime History of Cornwall’ by David Jenkins

By David Jenkins

There are some books which are a delight to hold, and to behold, even before one delves into their pages – and this is one of them. A pleasingly chunky volume, the front of the dust jacket features Joseph Southall’s The Three Masted Schooner, his limpid and evocative 1919 marine landscape of a sailing vessel at […] Read More

Filed under: Location | Atlantic | Tudors | Prehistory | English Civil War | English Channel
Subjects include: Archaeology | Miscellaneous | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘One Firm Anchor: The Church and the merchant seafarer, an introductory history’ by R. W. H. Miller

By Roald Kverndal

This book integrates the fruit of lifelong research into the history of relations between the Christian church and the merchant seafarer. The author, who was earlier affiliated with the Church of England and in the 1960s served in the Missions to Seamen, is now a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He has chosen to […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Type VII: Germany’s Most Successful U-boats’ by Marek Krzystalowicz

By David Bowen

This book tells us the story of the Type VII U-boat and covers its genesis, characteristics, development, construction and some of its operation. The 1930s saw the rebirth of the German submarine service under Dönitz who formulated the tactic of the ‘wolf pack’ – the concerted attack by U-boats upon merchant shipping – in order […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | WW2
Subjects include: Submarines

Book Review – ‘Oceania Under Steam: Sea transport and the cultures of colonialism c. 1870–1914’ by Frances Steel

By Steven Gray

Frances Steel’s study of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand (USSCo.) at the height of the age of steam is a worthy addition to the ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series. It represents an impressive and pioneering attempt to fill several gaps in our understanding of the British Pacific World between the late nineteenth century and […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Cornish Wrecking 1700–1860: Reality and popular myth’ by Cathryn Pearce

By Philip Payton

In recent years the ranks of maritime historians have been swollen by a new generation of scholars anxious to expand the discipline’s purview by moving beyond traditional areas such as trade, shipbuilding and technical development, to embrace innovative aspects of social, cultural, literary and even legal history. Foremost among these academics is Pearce, whose recent Cornish […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Irish Sea | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Zeit auf See: Chronometer und ihre Schöpfer, High-Tech aus drei Jahrhunderten’ by Albrecht Sauer (translated by Paul McColgan)

By Frank Scott

This book was published to accompany an exhibition in the excellent Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum, Bremerhaven, and judging from the contents it is one that I am very sorry to have missed. Undoubtedly its main value lies in its numerous high-quality illustrations, which are fascinating as they cover not merely completed chronometers, but all the parts involved, […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Book Review – ‘Dutch Sources on South Asia c. 1660–1825, vol. 4, Mission to Madurai: Dutch embassies to the Nayaka court of Madurai in the seventeenth century’ by Markus Vink

By Anjana Singh

The volume reviewed is part of a series on Dutch sources on South Asia which originally began in 2001 as a bibliography and guide to all Dutchlanguage materials on the subject that are available in the National Archives at The Hague. The series editors and contributors hold the noble aim of making it possible for […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Indian Ocean | Pacific | East India Company
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Navy of Edward VI and Mary I’ by C. S. Knighton and David Loades (eds)

By Tim Runyan

This volume continues the rich tradition of the Navy Records Society in making available printed primary source material on significant topics. Editors Knighton and Loades have brought together an exemplary body of material that reveals the inner working of the navies of Edward VI and Mary I. Of particular note is the inclusion in this […] Read More

Filed under: Tudors | Early Modern
Subjects include: Navies

Book Review – ‘Ships on Maps: Pictures of power in Renaissance Europe’ by Richard W. Unger

By Zsolt G. Török

Before the sixteenth century, images of ships rarely appeared on maps, while the charts and maps from the European Renaissance to the Enlightenment were frequently and prominently decorated by sea vessels. This is a simple statement based on practical experience, which can be agreed by not only map historians but anyone familiar with the cartography […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Art & Music | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Shipping, Trade and Crusade in the Medieval Mediterranean: Studies in honour of John Pryor’ by Ruthy Gertwagen and Elizabeth Jeffreys (eds)

By Anthony J. Papalas

This book consists of 20 essays on the medieval Mediterranean, divided into three rubrics – shipping, trade and the crusades. The studies, which are of high scholarly value and for pinpoint specialists, are in honour of the eminent scholar John Pryor. The focus of this review will be on the essays which deal with maritime […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Roles of the Sea in Medieval England’ by Richard Gorski (ed.)

By Maryanne Kowaleski

Most of the eight essays in this volume originated at a 2008 conference in Rye on ‘Medieval Seas.’ Four of the essays are on English naval history, which has also been the theme of three other recently published Boydell volumes. This feature indicates the quickening pace of work in the field. Gorski’s helpful introduction summarizes […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Medieval | North Sea | Irish Sea
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Land Based Air Power or Aircraft Carriers?: A case study of the British debate about maritime air power in the 1960s’ by Gjert Lage Dyndal

By David Hobbs

This is the sixth in a series of studies by the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies, which draw on the expertise and wider networks of the Defence Studies Department of King’s College, London. The author is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Norwegian Air Force and Dean of Academics at the Royal Norwegian Air […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Naval Aviation | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Golden Dream: A history of the St. Lawrence Seaway’ by Ronald Stagg

By Maurice D. Smith

There are many histories of the St Lawrence River waterways but this is among the best. The author and historian, Ronald Stagg has provided an expansive set of notes for each of the five chapters, an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources including, articles, magazine pieces and annotated online resources. The strength of this […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘The US Navy and the War in Europe’ by Robert C. Stern

By John Rodgaard

Robert Stern is a prolific author on various aspects of naval history, with specific emphasis on the war at sea during the Second World War. His latest work, The US Navy and the War in Europe, successfully counters the ‘persistent misconception’ that the US Navy’s greatest contribution to the Second World War was the defeat of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Interwar | North Sea | WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Lifesaving & Coastguard | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘War at Sea: A naval atlas 1939–1945’ by Marcus Faulkner

By Derek Law

This is a profoundly disappointing book. Its arrival had been keenly anticipated as it has been widely advertised and promised a novel and valuable approach to naval warfare through cartography; it promised – and delivers – comprehensiveness; it has already been nominated for a book prize; it promised help in understanding complicated battles and campaigns […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Book Review – ‘Far Horizons: From Hull to the ends of the world’ by Robb Robinson

By Sarah Palmer

Hull has a long history as one of Britain’s major port cities and as such has not been neglected as a subject for historical study. Joyce Bellamy, Mike Brown, Ralph Davis, Wendy Childs, Gordon Jackson, David J. Starkey and Donald Woodward, as also Robb Robinson himself, are just a few of the specialists who have […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Twentieth Century | Arctic
Subjects include: Biography | Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘A Century of Sea Travel: Personal accounts from the steamship era’ by Christopher Deakes and Tom Stanley

By Bruce Peter

The publicity material distributed by steamship lines during the ‘golden age’ of liner travel remains aesthetically highly potent. Typical images of large white passenger ships majestically aloof at anchor in tropical settings, surrounded by palm fronds and fore-grounded by the local vernacular retain a mystique and a romantic allure, while also speaking of privilege and […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Book Review – ‘Militarism in a Global Age: Naval ambitions in Germany and the United States before World War I’ by Dirk Bönker

By Matthew S. Seligmann

Naval histories of the immediate pre-First World War era often focus predominantly on the great Anglo-German naval race, a decade and a half long competition in maritime force accumulation that by virtue of its iconographic status, longevity, bitterness and ultimate culmination in conflict has cast an overwhelming shadow over the period. While there is certainly […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘The Royal Navy and the German Threat 1901–1914: Admiralty plans to protect British trade in a war against Germany’ by Matthew S. Seligmann

By Oliver Walton

The history of British naval policy at the start of the twentieth century has been keenly contested in recent years; Matthew Seligmann’s contribution to the debate takes its courage from close examination of the archival source on an aspect which has been largely neglected by previous scholarly efforts: the Admiralty’s engagement with the challenge of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1 | English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

Book Review – ‘Belfast Shipbuilders: A Titanic tale’ by Stephen Cameron; ‘Belfast Built Ships’ by John Lynch; ‘The Shipyard Apprentice’ by William Scott

By Martin Bellamy

For many years anyone wanting to study shipbuilding in Belfast had to rely on two, admittedly excellent, books: Hume and Moss’s definitive history of Harland & Wolff, Shipbuilders to the World (1986), and David Hammond’s wonderful evocation of shipyard characters, Steelchest, Nail in the Boot and the Barking Dog (1986). This gave readers both an official top-down company history […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Naval Leadership and Management 1650–1950’ by Helen Doe and Richard Harding (eds)

By C. I. Hamilton

This volume has a double function. First of all it is a Festschrift to the distinguished career as teacher and writer of Michael Duffy, who retired in 2009 (as far, that is, as an historian ever can). But it strives to escape the accusation commonly levelled, often with justice, at such collections, that they are suffused […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Miscellaneous

Book Review – ‘Poxed & Scurvied: The story of sickness and health at sea’ by Kevin Brown

By Brian Vale

Kevin Brown’s book is the latest, and most ambitious, example of the growing interest in maritime disease and medicine. Its purpose, as demonstrated in the sub-title – forget the ‘sexed up’ references to pox and scurvy – is to tell ‘the Story of Sickness and Health at Sea.’ Inevitably, the need to cover a period […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Health at Sea | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review – ‘The Fighting Temeraire: Legend of Trafalgar’; ‘The Admiral Benbow: The life and times of a naval legend’; ‘The Glorious First of June: Fleet battle in the age of terror’ by Sam Willis

By Robert J. C. Mowat

The ‘Great Age’ of the sailing warship has received such detailed study that is difficult to believe there is more to be said on the subject. Many (possibly most) Mariner’s Mirror readers will emphatically doubt this view, and these books will justify their view. Taken together the Hearts of Oak trilogy aims to examine ‘three of the most […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Miscellaneous | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Captain Cook: Master of the seas’ by Frank McLynn

By John Mack

It may reasonably be thought that J. C. Beaglehole’s publications have long since had the final word on Captain Cook and his pioneering maritime exploits in the second half of the eighteenth century for all that the publishing industry’s appetite for retelling the heroic tales in more popular forms retains its position in a crowded […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Eighteenth Century | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography

Book Review – ‘The Statenjacht Utrecht 1746’ by Ab Hoving (ed.) and Cor Emke (plans)

By Fred M. Walker

The Netherlands, it is claimed developed the world’s first co-ordinated transport system in 1632 when construction started on their comprehensive system of canals and inland waterways. Such connections were vital as the country was a republic of constituent states each operating with considerable autonomy but collaborating closely on key matters like foreign policy or finance. […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘Voyage to Jamestown: Practical navigation in the age of discovery’ by Robert D. Hicks

By Frank Scott

The central idea for this book is to construct a composite fictional voyage from England to the New World Colony of Jamestown in 1611, and by means of this device to bring together material from the rarely read voyage narratives of that era. This is an undoubtedly interesting concept which involves serious scholarship. At its […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Early Modern
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Book Review – ‘The 1607 Popham Colony’s Pinnace Virginia: An in-context design of Maine’s first ship’ by John W. Bradford

By Michael Leek

At first glance this book promised much. However, it is a disappointment. The first question, which remains unanswered, is what is meant by ‘in-context design’? The level of technical detail, especially relating to wooden ship construction and lofting tables, etc., suggests the book is not intended for a general readership of maritime history, yet regardless […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Book Review – ‘The Social History of English Seamen 1485–1649’ by Cheryl Fury (ed.)

By Andrew Lambert

This important themed collection of ten chapters marks both the end of a pioneering era of research into the English seaman of Tudor and early Stuart era, and the baseline for the next phase of study. While each chapter has a single author they are not identified on the contents page, revealing something of the […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Book Review – ‘Shipping & Economic Growth 1350–1850’ by Richard W. Unger (ed.)

By Cátia Antunes

Shipping and Economic Growth is the latest edited book by Richard W. Unger, well-known scholar of Maritime Economic History. Unger surprises the reader with a collection of fifteen essays divided into two different categories. The first one concerning productivity trends within different shipping traditions and the second one about sources of shipping productivity and growth. […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Note: The Complements of Four Dutch Ships Taken at the Texel in 1799

By Nicholas Blake

In 1799 an Anglo-Russian expedition under the overall command of Admiral Duncan sailed for Holland to land on the Helder and take possession of the fleet of the Batavian Republic in the Texel in the name of the Prince of Orange, and to provoke or encourage an uprising against the French occupiers. The land part […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Baltic | French Revolution
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Admiral Byng: Justice thwarted

By Peter Cowell

Admiral John Byng wrote on 25 May 1756 (five days after the inconclusive engagement or defeat on 20 May 1756) a despatch on the ship Ramillies, off Minorca, and sent it to ‘the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty’ in London. On 26 June 1756 ministers omitted crucial parts of it when the London Gazette printed what appeared to […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Science & Exploration

Document: The Autobiography of W. G. Hammock (1825–1912), Marine Engineer

By Brendan O’Farrell

William George Hammock (1825–1912) wrote a memoir in 1905 he described as ‘a few rather random and out of the way jottings by an octogenarian engineer’. He worked first at the engineering works of Blyth’s of Limehouse before joining the Thames marine engineers J. & W. Dudgeon at the Sun Iron Works, Millwall in 1859 […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Forgotten Memoirs: The Second World War as remembered by the Aircrew of RAF Coastal Command

By Hugh Pattenden

This article considers the published writings of aircrew from RAF Coastal Command who served during the Second World War. While there has been extensive discussion about how the war was presented by flyers from other RAF commands, the accounts of the men who fought the maritime air war have received scant attention. This article shows […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Harbours & Dockyards | Naval Aviation | Strategy & Diplomacy

A One-way Street? Admiral James Somerville and Anglo-American Naval Relations, 1942

By Corbin Williamson

Admiral Sir James Somerville’s command of the Eastern Fleet in 1942 caused serious tensions in Anglo-American naval relations despite the admiral’s personal efforts to cultivate closer ties with the US Navy. Specifically, US Navy admirals such as Ernest King felt that while the US Navy had helped the Royal Navy in its hour of need, […] Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Neutral Waters? British Diplomacy of Force in the Canary Islands at the Start of the First World War

By Javier Ponce

At the beginning of the First World War, Britain had to confront a phenomenal challenge. Faced with the indisputable British naval hegemony, Germany launched the cruiser warfare, using armed merchant ships as auxiliary cruisers, as its first offensive weapon in the economic war, attacking trade from the South Atlantic, through which much of the British […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | WW1 | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

The Final Weeks of Service and Wreck of PS Comet, 1820

By Tony Dalton

PS Comet, Europe’s first commercial steamship, launched in 1812, was rebuilt to new dimensions in 1819 with improved machinery, and wrecked in 1820. These facts are known, but not very much accurate detail exists about its wrecking. Many books and articles on the Comet repeat the same basic information, in some cases with minor variations and ambiguities which […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Figureheads and Symbolism Between the Medieval and the Modern: The ship Griffin or Gribshunden, one of the last Sea Serpents?

By Niklas Eriksson

The Griffin or, as it was sometimes called, Gribshunden (griffin hound) was a ship that belonged to the Danish–Norwegian King Hans. The ship sank in 1495 and was one of the largest and most modern warships of its day. In 2015 a peculiar figurehead carving was raised from the wreck. It is shaped like a beast swallowing a man […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | High Middle Ages | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads | Shipbuilding & Design

Obituary: Peter N. Davies (1927–2020)

By Hugh Murphy

Professor Peter Neville Davies, who died peacefully at home on 19 March after a prolonged hospitalization, had a seminal influence in the development of maritime economic history. He spent his entire academic career at the University of Liverpool where he studied under, and later worked with, Professor Francis Hyde, Chaddock Professor of Economic History… Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

Notes: Corrigenda

By Pieter van der Merwe

I have to correct, with apology, three accidental slips in the notes on T. D. Ledward’s Bounty letters that appeared in the November 2018 issue1. The first (n22) is that Albemarle Bertie’s final rank was full admiral and baronet, not knighted vice-admiral. The second (n54) is that neither Bligh’s bible nor prayerbook are in the National Maritime […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution | Eighteenth Century | French Revolution | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Notes: Captain Bligh’s Glasses

By Pieter van der Merwe

In 1939, on the death of Lieutenant Commander George Frederick Glennie, the National Maritime Museum (NMM) received from his widow a fine, oval, silver-mounted Georgian reading glass, which folds into protective tortoiseshell covers (REL0026, figure 1). It measures 76 x 52 x 20 millimetres and the lens hinges out sideways from one of the mounts on […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution | Eighteenth Century | French Revolution | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

The Evolution of Sail Training from the Nineteenth Century to the 1980s

By Frank Scott

This article considers sail training over a period of some 150 years, starting with its early nineteenth-century origins. It takes the first Tall Ships’ Race in 1956 as a key point, using the races as barometer thereafter for progress up to the 1980s, by which time the upward trend towards becoming global was well established. […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

The Dummett Freighter: A nineteenth-century log sailing canoe from northeastern Florida

By Thomas Briggs

This article provides a comparative physical and cultural study of a cypress log sailing canoe and the plantation culture of nineteenth-century north-eastern Florida that created it. The author makes the argument that this and other vessels of similar construction represent a typology of log boat construction that was limited to Florida’s north-east during the mid- […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | War of 1812 | American Civil War | Nineteenth Century | Caribbean
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

‘It was not his first Intention to swell the Work with so many Notes’: Annotation in William Falconer’s The Shipwreck and the birth of the Universal Dictionary of the Marine

By William Jones

William Falconer is well known for his influential Universal Dictionary of the Marine. Less well known is that the Dictionary owed its origins to Falconer’s other claim to fame as a poet. The Shipwreck (1762) is a narrative of his personal experience of a voyage, notable for its density of nautical terminology, and extensive annotation, explaining the seafaring terminology […] Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Eighteenth Century | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Influence of the Theories of John Clerk of Eldin on British Fleet Tactics, 1782–1805

By Jim Tildesley

This article is a fundamental re-examination of the published work of John Clerk of Eldin and the influence it had on fleet commanders of the Royal Navy from 1782. While previous assessments have alluded to the potential for some influence, the general conclusion has been that any influence was limited; although some have dismissed it […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Seven Years’ War | American Revolution | French Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Dutch Naval Decline and British Sea-power Identity in the Eighteenth Century

By Gijs Rommelse

During the eighteenth century, various British authors analysed the decline of Dutch naval power. Anticipating the politico-cultural frame of reference of the British political nation, they invoked the memory of the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch wars to dramatize the failure of Dutch sea power. They disagreed about the causes of this development, but seemed unanimous in their […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | North Sea
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Early Sixteenth-century Shipbuilding in Mexico: Dimensions and tonnages of the vessels designed for Pacific Ocean navigation

By Jose L. Casabán & Roberto Junco

Shortly after the conquest of Mexico, Cortes ordered the construction of a shipyard in Tehuantepec (Oaxaca), on the Pacific coast, known as El Carbón. This article examines a document dated to 1535 which provides the principal dimensions, tonnages, and construction characteristics of three navíos (ships) designed and built in this shipyard for Pacific Ocean navigation. The ships’ […] Read More

Filed under: Early Modern | Pacific
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Dorothea Duff: Female seafaring pioneer or serial fantasist?

By Frank Scott

This short note explores the life and alleged sea faring adventures of Dorothea Duff in the early 20th century.  The author suggests that contrary to Duff’s claims of having served before the mast on two square riggers sailing from Australia to the UK, the evidence suggests she actually travelled as a passenger. The author also […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

David Elder: The father of marine engineering

By John R. Hume

Robert Napier is often regarded as a great engineer and the ‘father of Clyde shipbuilding’. However, most commentators do not fairly represent the contribution of his chief engineer David Elder to the establishment of the reputation and success of Clyde shipbuilding and marine engineering in the mid-nineteenth century. Elder served as Napier’s works manager for […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

The Archaeology of Second World War U-boat Losses in the English Channel and its Impact on the Historical Record

By Innes McCartney

This article examines how the archaeological record of 33 U-boats sunk in the English Channel during the Inshore Campaign, June 1944 to May 1945, compares with the assessment of U-boat destructions made by the Admiralty’s Anti U-boat Division (AUBD) in 1946. Comparison of the two shows an accuracy rate of 57 per cent across the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | WW2
Subjects include: Archaeology | Navies | Submarines

William Schaw Lindsay and the Oceangoing Auxiliary Steamer

By William Stewart Lindsay

The adoption of steam engines for oceangoing vessels in the mid nineteenth century revolutionized shipping. On the face of it shipbuilders were presented with two choices. They could either strive to improve the sailing ship, or they could design a vessel that employed steam as the primary source of power. In fact, the choice was […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Pitch, Paint, Varnish and the Changing Colour Schemes of Royal Navy Warships, 1775–1815: A summary of existing knowledge

By Brian Vale

It is a long-standing assumption that the colour scheme of British warships between 1775 and 1815 changed from yellow hulls, through the yellow and black Nelson chequer to the ubiquitous black and white; while the interiors and bulwarks were first painted red, then yellow ochre, then a range of light colours including green. In the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies

Sustaining British Naval Power Through New England Masts During the Seven Years War

By Yuichi Hiono

This study focuses on the Royal Navy’s use of American naval stores, especially New England masts, during the Seven Years War. It highlights the significance of the eastward naval logistics of American naval stores across the Atlantic, based on records revealing the navy’s constant effort to sustain these logistics in the British Atlantic world. Drawing […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Seven Years’ War
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies

A Re-appraisal of the King’s Ships in the Reigns of Richard I and John, 1189–1216

By Susan Rose

Claims have been made for the establishment of an English royal navy in the twelfth century. This article offers a reappraisal of the documentary evidence to assess whether Richard the Lionheart or his younger brother John can be credited with creating this instrument of royal power. Their use of ships in warfare and the possession […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Early Modern
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies

Delayed Adjustment: Economic crisis, political change and state intervention in the Spanish shipbuilding industry, about 1975–1990

By Jesus M. Valdaliso

This article seeks to explain the impact of the international shipping crisis of the 1970s on the Spanish shipbuilding industry (then the third biggest in Europe after Sweden and Germany) and the responses to the crisis given by the state and by shipyards. It contributes to the literature on the decline of merchant shipbuilding in […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

An Ethnography of Shetland’s Oldest Boat, the Sixareen Mary LK 981

By arc Chivers, Michael J. Stratigos & Ian Tait

The Mary LK 981 is the oldest surviving Shetland-built boat. Detailed recording of surviving examples of Shetland’s boats has been rare, and where undertaken, has focused on analysing overall boat form rather than their biographies. However, previous work has been critiqued as too narrowly focused on hull form and the direct connection between Shetland’s small boats and […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

The Battle of Jutland, Through a Looking-glass

By Derek Nudd

The German High Seas Fleet’s sorties in strength after the battle of Jutland were few and inconclusive, but as a ‘fleet in being’ it remained a powerful threat. Britain’s Admiralty, alive to the tactical issues thrown up by Jutland’s titanic clash, was anxious to learn what had gone wrong. Luckily for the British, German veterans […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea | Jutland
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

The Royal Marines Capture, Fortification and Defence of Anholt Island 1807–1812

By Martin L. Robson

During the British gunboat war against Denmark–Norway in the period 1808–13, the Danish island of Anholt posed a navigational hazard to Baltic convoys carrying strategic materials and manufactured goods through the Baltic. It also offered a secure supply of freshwater and an alternative anchorage to Wingo Sound. When the lighthouse marking the island and its […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Baltic
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

The Afterlife of the Ostend Company, 1727–1745

By Gijs Dreijer

The Generale Keijzerlijcke Indische Compagnie, known as the Ostend Company or GIC, was a short-lived but very successful chartered company based in the Southern Netherlands between 1722 and 1727. Despite the high profits from the Chinese tea trade, the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI was forced to retract its charter in 1727 under Dutch and English […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | East India Company
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Some Adventures of a Seafaring Accountant: William Crickmay and the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, 1853–1858

By Ernest W. Toy

William Crickmay was the purser of five Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ships from 1854 to 1858. These ships provided mail services from Southampton to St Thomas and Rio de Janeiro, and thence to local ports of call. His third ship, the Orinoco, chartered for war service, voyaged to and from Portsmouth to the Crimean war […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Crimean War | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: The Etymology of List, ‘Inclination of a Ship’

By William Sayers

This note explores the etymology of the word list, meaning the inclination of a ship, including a discussion of Norse, Old English and French terminology. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

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

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, […] Read More

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

Note: A Statistical Analysis of Scottish-built Ships 1850–2009

By Ian Buxton

A statistical analysis of trends in Scottish ship production from 1850 – 2009 based on data extracted from the British Shipbuilding Database.  The data discriminates between merchant ships and warships, construction material, tonnage and propulsion, and is split into Scotland’s three principal shipbuilding regions: Upper Clyde: Rutherglen–Bowling, Lower Clyde: Dumbarton westward and SW and NW […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Selsey Fishing Fleet

By Peter Thomson

A short history of the West Sussex town of Selsey, its fishing industry and fleet from the sixteenth century to the present day. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Note: ‘The Battle of the Atlantic’: A legend deconstructed

By Eric Grove

The ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ is a powerful legend. Throughout the war, it is said, a ‘battle’ raged as the Germans mounted a near decisive attack on the shipping that lay at the heart of the Allied war effort. The U-boat was the chief instrument. Convoys were consistently attacked with heavy losses inflicted by U-boat […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Submarines

Note: Echoes of a Distant War

By Colin Jones

An exploration of the naval history of Sydney and New South Wales during the Napoleonic Wars from 1797 to 1814, touching on proposed conscription of convicts to fight in South American possessions, Matthew Flinders’ meeting with Nicolas Baudin, shipbuilding and traffic through Sydney Naval Yard, the operation of press gangs,  privateering and whaling. Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Indian Ocean | Pacific | Press Gangs
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Science & Exploration | Whaling & Fishing

Danish Modernist Architecture and Furniture Design in Passenger Ship Interiors 1935–1965

By Bruce Peter

Since the 1960s Denmark has become internationally renowned for its architecture and design output. The work of Danish modernist architects and designers working on terra firma is very well known, but very little has been written about their influence on the design of merchant ships. This article examines the manifestation of Danish architectural modernism in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

The Convoy System in the Mid-Atlantic, 1917–1918

By Augusto Salgado

When in February 1917 Germany started the unrestricted submarine campaign, the number of merchant ships sunken by U-boats increased, reaching its peak in April that year. From that time the number of vessels sunk started to decrease. However, a more detailed study of the number of ships sunk while navigating the area between the north […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Submarines

How Large Was Mars? An investigation of the dimensions of a legendary Swedish warship, 1563–1564

By Niklas Eriksson

The Swedish warship Mars was considered to have been one of the largest ships in the world when it exploded and sank in 1564. The problem is that no written accounts clearly reveal its dimensions. This article reviews how different researchers have discussed the size of Mars in the past. It also aims to shed new light on this […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Early Modern) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

‘We Almost Gave Ourselves Up for Lost That Night’: Alfred Costello’s account of the shipwreck of the Elizabeth, 1852

By Alison Henry and Richard Henry

The merchant mariner Alfred Costello recorded an account of the shipwreck of the barque Elizabeth on the Andaman Islands in 1852. His account provides an insight into the challenges faced by the crew culminating in a 300-mile journey from the Andaman Islands to Burma (Myanmar). Only Costello and the ship’s captain survived to return to England. Costello’s […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Mermaids Ashore: The Norwegian Mermaid Association, 1964–1989

By Stig Tenold and Bård Gram Økland

This article analyses a sometimes forgotten dimension of maritime history: the lives and challenges of those remaining at home. Based on archival data and interviews, we discuss the establishment, growth, decline and dissolution of the Norwegian Mermaid Association (Norges Havfrueforbund), an organization of seamen’s wives. We place the history of the association in a broader […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Articles The Archaeology of First World War U-boat Losses in the English Channel and its Impact on the Historical Record

By Innes McCartney

This article examines how the archaeological record of 35 known U-boats sunk in the English Channel in the First World War compares with the assessment of U-boat destructions made by the Admiralty’s Antisubmarine Division (ASD) in 1919. Comparison of the two shows that only 48 per cent of the 37 assessments were correct. This divergence […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | WW2
Subjects include: Archaeology | Navies | Submarines

The Egyptian Navy of Muhammad Ali Pasha

By John Houghton

Muhammad Ali (Mehmed Ali in Turkish) ruled Egypt as Ottoman governor from 1805 to 1848. Defeating all internal opposition, he initiated a series of changes to Egyptian society and the economy that vastly increased his revenue and thereby enabled him to create an army of 140,000 men and a navy which matched that of the […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Post Office, The Admiralty and Letters to Sailors in the Napoleonic Wars

By Brian Vale

By 1790 the Post Office ran a service using mail coaches and sailing packets that was fast, safe and reliable. High postal rates, however, restricted its use to merchants and the more affluent, and there were no special arrangements for the armed services. In 1795 this changed. Recognizing the benefits to morale, the authorities introduced […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

‘Breaching Neutrality’: English prize-taking and Swedish neutrality in the First Anglo-Dutch War, 1651–1654

By Steve Murdoch

This article considers the impact of English seizure of neutral Swedish vessels during the First Anglo-Dutch War, 1651–4. These actions were undertaken at a time when no bilateral diplomatic treaty existed between the two nations and thus the legal basis for such prize-taking was hotly disputed on both sides. Through an examination of extant sources […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Was Arthur Ransome’s John Walker a Competent Seaman?

By Mike Bender

This note explores the competence of Arthur Ransome’s blundering boy sailor John Walker, in We Didn’t Mean To Go Sea, one of the books of the Swallows and Amazon‘s series, and draws parallels with the authors own life.  In We Didn’t Mean To Go Sea, John Walker negotiates a difficult passage from Harwich to Flushing, thereby entering the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Leisure & Small Craft | Ship Handling & Seamanship

The Operational Impact of the Loss of HMS Paragon in the Straits of Dover, 17 March 1917

By Eamonn Welch

In early 1917, the torpedo boat destroyer HMS Paragon was part of the Dover Patrol, then subject to repeated raids by German destroyers. Its history is normally consigned to a few, often inaccurate, short sentences, in which it is implied that it had an almost supine role in the action in which it was lost. This article […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

How to Defend the Turkish Straits Against the Russians: A century-long ‘Eastern Question’ in British defence planning, 1815–1914

By Gültekin Yıldız

The integrity of the Ottoman Empire was a fundamental concern in nineteenth-century European politics, often referred to as ‘the Eastern Question’. The main military aspect of this question was how Istanbul and the Turkish Straits, namely the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, could be defended against a probable Russian attack by land, sea or both. The […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Goldsmiths and Grocers: Further examination of investors in the privateering voyage of Woodes Rogers, 1708–1711

By Ian Abbey

Recent histories have focused on the investors who outfited and funded the cruising voyage of Woodes Rogers to the Pacific from 1708 to 1711. However, relatively little has been published on the roles these investors played within Bristol society outside of the major contributors. This article identifies the social and business activities of all of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Viking Ships with Angular Stems: Did the Old Norse term beit refer to early sailing ships?

By Eldar Heide, Terje Planke

This article discusses a certain type of ship known from Scandinavian Viking Age and Merovingian Period iconography. This type of ship has a vertical stem and stern that meet the keel at right angles, sometimes with an extension filling the space under a sloping forefoot and a similar extension at the rear end of the […] Read More

Filed under: Early Middle Ages
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

The Race to the Chesapeake between Destouches and Arbuthnot, March 1781

By Larrie D. Ferreiro

A systematic examination of the reasons why the British fleet won the race against the French to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in advance of the battle of Cape Henry on 16 March 1781. Read More

Filed under: American Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

‘Your Dutiful Nephew’: Thomas Denman Ledward (1766–1789/90), acting surgeon of the Bounty

By Pieter van der Merwe

The surviving family letters of, and relating to, Thomas Denman Ledward, acting surgeon in HM armed vessel Bounty, have never been fully researched before. They are used here as the basis for constructing his brief biography. It provides a case study of the chances that could launch an eighteenth-century naval medical career (and tragically terminate it), […] Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Eighteenth Century | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

The Politics of Liverpool’s Northern Whaling Trade, 1750–1823

By Simon Hill

Whaling is a largely under-researched aspect of Georgian Liverpool’s maritime heritage. Nevertheless, some broad features of this trade are known. Indeed, Liverpool began sending whaling vessels to the Arctic in 1750, but by 1823 this trade had effectively collapsed at the port. However, there is one area in particular that has been especially overlooked by […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century | Arctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

The Destruction of the Danish Frigate Najaden at the Battle of Lyngør, 1812

By Martin L. Robson

The British gunboat war against Denmark in the period 1808 to 1813 was conducted against vital Baltic convoys carrying strategic materials and manufactured goods travelling through hostile or, at best, neutral waters. Following the loss of her battle fleets, Danish Norwegian attacking forces consisted of highly manoeuvrable oared vessels carrying few guns and lighter brigs […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

A Ship ‘For Which Great Neptune Raves’: The Sovereign of the Seas, la Couronne and seventeenth-century international competition over warship design

By Benjamin W. D. Redding

Charles I’s great warship the Sovereign of the Seas is famed for its design, decoration and importance as a tool that heightened the image of English naval supremacy. By exploring its career, size, name and decoration, this article highlights the Sovereign of the Seas’ significance as a national symbol of political and cultural power. It argues that Charles’s […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Early Modern
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

The Battle of Marathon and the Persian Navy

By Anthony J. Papalas

In the summer of 490 bc the Athenians secured their freedom and that of the European Greeks by defeating a Persian army in the battle of Marathon. Herodotus gives a sketchy description of the battle without any material information on the size of the respective armies but states that the Persians arrived at Marathon with […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Logistics | Navies

Note: The Promotion of David Beatty to Rear-Admiral

By Henrikki Tikkanen

An interpretive reading by a management and organizational history scholar of what kind of forces were at play behind the exceptional promotion of David Beatty to rear-admiral on 1 January 1910.  This note aims to provide more nuanced considerations both of the question of why Beatty was promoted and to a lesser extent of who were the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Note: Maupassant’s Afloat: Why did this classic account of yacht cruising sink without trace?

By Mike Bender

A critical analysis of Guy de Maupassant’s yachting memoir Afloat discussing why it failed to appeal to contemporary critics and readers. Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

The Reduction of the French Mediterranean Fleet 1702–1719

By Rif Winfield

After the losses sustained at Cherbourg and La Hogue following the battle of Barfleur in 1692, Louis XIV remained keen to continue building up his navy to a size equal to or exceeding in strength the combined English and Dutch fleets. Within a few days he authorized six replacement First Rank ships (three-deckers) and five […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies

German Supply Ships and Blockade Runners in the Canary Islands in the Second World War

By Juan-José Díaz-Benítez

At the start of the Second World War a number of German merchant ships took refuge in the Canary Islands. The German authorities took control of them and some were used as blockade runners and others as supply ships for the German navy. The preparation and departure of these ships was performed with the consent […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

HM Steam Yacht Venetia: A luxury yacht in Royal Navy service, 1914–1919

By Ian Beckwith

This article tells the story of the steam yacht Venetia as seen through the experiences of its fireman, Edward Beckwith. Originally a luxury yacht, Venetia was handed over to the Admiralty in 1914 and took part in the Northern Patrol based in Kirkwall before transferring to Falmouth to take on patrol duties in the Western Approaches to the English […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | English Channel
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Navies

The Ottoman Naval Academy and the Development of Naval Training in the Reign of Sultan Abdülaziz (1861–1876)

By Dilara Dal

During the period after the battle of Navarino in 1827, steam warships were widely adopted by the major navies, and the rise of ironclads in the late 1850s marked the turning point both in warship construction and naval strategy as the dominant element of battle at sea. These rapid developments observed in European naval warfare […] Read More

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

‘Avarice and Rapacity’ and ‘Treasonable Correspondence’ in ‘an Emporium for All the World’: The British capture of St Eustatius, 1781

By Randolph Cock

In the Revolutionary War the American rebels relied on supplies of munitions, especially gunpowder, from Europe. To circumvent the embargo and avoid seizure by the British, many of those supplies were routed through the neutral Dutch West Indian island of St Eustatius. To cut off supplies to the Americans, the British invaded and occupied that […] Read More

Filed under: American Revolution | Caribbean
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: A Good Man in Every Sense of the Word: The reputation of Admiral Robert Man

By Barry Jolly

A revision of the reputation of Admiral Robert Man, who obeyed orders and was rewarded for having done so. Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Biography

The Making of Mr George Thomas RN, Admiralty Surveyor for Home Waters from 1810

By David Walker & Adrian Webb

George Thomas, the first naval hydrographic surveyor continuously employed in the nineteenth century, was highly regarded by the three Admiralty hydrographers under whom he served until 1846. An earlier account of his humble origins and youthful adventures, based on the recollections of his clerk, is supported only in part by contemporary records. This recent investigation […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

The Colour Schemes of British Warship Figureheads 1727–1900

By David Pulvertaft

Between the mid-eighteenth century and 1900 almost all the figureheads on British warships were carved in the likeness of an individual man, woman, beast or bird, each of which was intended to represented the name of the ship. Of those that have survived, the vast majority are painted in full colour, suggesting that this was […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

A Model of the Royal Yacht Henrietta about 1679: Description and identification

By Effie Moneypenny & Simon Stephens

This paper presents a model of a royal yacht in the Portland Collection whose existence has, despite having been included in a published nineteenth-century catalogue, remained unrecognized for over 300 years. It is the first Navy Board style yacht model to come into the public domain for nearly a century. It is the first yacht […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

State Formation and the Private Economy: Dutch prisoners of war in England, 1652–1674

By Gijs Rommelse & Roger Downing

The sea battles of the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the mid-seventeenth century generated large numbers of prisoners of war. Their incarceration and subsequent repatriation were the responsibility of a succession of appointed bodies, under Cromwell and subsequently under Charles II. Captives were incarcerated in prisons throughout southern England. Once these were full it became necessary to […] Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Seadogs and their Parrots: The reality of ‘Pretty Polly’

By Megan C. Hagseth

The relationship between sailors and tropical birds is often ignored because of its association with swashbuckling pirates and their winged sidekicks. Links to pirates in popular culture such as Treasure Island’s Long John Silver and Captain Flint have led to many misconceptions about the social functions of avian pets in the seafaring community. The transportation […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration

Obituary: Ray Ernest Sutcliffe (1940-2018)

By Hugh Murphy

The wide and varied interests of a pioneer of the filming of maritime archaeology. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Lewis Ross Fischer (1946-2018)

By Hugh Murphy

The  considerable contribution to maritime history. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The Early life of Thomas Luny, Marine Artist

By Tacy Rickard

While speculation must surround the early life of Thomas Luny, he appears to have had maritime connections through his father, a merchant ship’s captain who traded with Jamaica. His connections with Shadwell and other maritime districts of London are also clear. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Notes from a Published Treatise in an Ordinary Eighteenth centuryShipwright’s Journal

By Phillip Reid

An interesting copy of a treatise on the proportions used in ship building, the result of years of experience. The sources of the information are explored. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

Documents. Two sets of fighting instructions, 1914

By Stephen McLaughlin

The two sets of tactical instructions relate to the defeat at the Battle of Coronel of Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

An Anatomy of Speculative Failure: Wm Doxford & Sons Ltd, Sunderland, and the Northumberland Shipbuilding Company of Howdon on Tyne, 1919–1945

By Hugh Murphy

This article investigates the impact and consequences of speculative capital-gaining ownership of several UK shipbuilding firms after 1918, with emphasis on the Sperling Combine’s Northumberland Shipbuilding Company of Howdon on Tyne and its acquisition in 1919 of the Wear shipbuilders and marine engine builders, Wm Doxford and Sons Ltd. The Sperling Combine’s modus operandi was […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Paying the Prize for the German Submarine War: U-boats destroyed and the Admiralty Prize Fund, 1919–1932

By Innes McCartney

This paper examines how the Admiralty paid prize money to the Royal Navy for the destruction of U-boats in the First World War. The research shows that the method by which it did so was distinct from the standard prize process, primarily because of secrecy surrounding the anti-U-boat effort. Prize payments were only made by […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Submarines

A Model of HMS Vindictive as Fitted for the Zeebrugge Raid, 1918

By Alistair Roach

HMS Vindictive’s role in the Zeebrugge raid on St George’s day 1918 is well known to First World War naval historians but details of her conversion for the event are difficult to ascertain. The work carried out at Chatham dockyard prior to the raid was shrouded in secrecy with very few details being recorded at […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Navies | Ship Models & Figureheads

A New Battle Fleet: The evolution of the Ottoman sailing navy, 1650–1718, revealed through Venetian sources

By Guido Candiani

Between 1650 and 1718 the Ottoman navy developed a new fleet of sailing warships in response to similar developments in the Venetian navy. The Venetian government was kept informed of Ottoman naval developments through ambassadors’ reports from Constantinople and accounts from admirals during wartime. The files in the Archivio di Stato di Venezia therefore preserve […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Vegetius and Taccola: Was medieval writing on war at sea of any practical use?

By Susan Rose

For much of the medieval period little time was devoted to the discussion of how war should be waged at sea. Discussion on war was often based on the writings of Flavius Vegetius Renatus, from the late fourth or early fifth century. His short treatise De re militari is based on the works of earlier […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

The Stump-Topgallant or Jubilee Rig: Realities and misconceptions

By Frank Scott

An account of the different ways in which the masters of sailing ships attempted to make them more economical by dispensing with lofty sail plans. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: War Course Attendance at Greenwich from 1900 to 1904

By Simon Harley

A ‘war course’ was taught to naval officers at Greenwich from 1900 to 1914, and this note lists the officers who attended between 1900 and 1904. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Note: An Offshore Hydrographic Survey by the Royal Navy in 1798

By M. K. Barritt

In 1798 St Vincent ordered an urgent examination of an alternative anchorage for the Mediterranean fleet south of Cape Spartel.  This account describes the methods used to carry out the survey and its shortfalls. Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

‘Suitable to the Meanest Capacity’: Mathematics, navigation and self-education in the early modern British Atlantic

By Mordechai Levy-Eichel

How was elementary mathematical learning initially acquired in early modern England and the wider Atlantic world? What kind of mathematics was being emphasized? What kind of materials and methods were employed? What were the motivations of those learning the subject? This article argues that a large part of early modern mathematics was self-taught, began informally, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Mariners Ashore in the Eighteenth Century: The role of boarding-house keepers and victuallers

By Derek Morris and Ken Cozens

Seamen from Royal Navy ships were boarded in the 1740s with Betty Wright, a lodging-house keeper of Gosport, Hampshire. Her surviving account books together with the wills of hundreds of mariners open up a new light on the life onshore for these men, in a previously unrecorded manner, and enable lodging houses, victuallers and the […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

‘& thus ended the buisinisse’: A buggery trial on the East India Company ship Mary in 1636

By Derek Massarella

Not much archival information survives about buggery trials at sea in the seventeenth century. A trial aboard the East India Company’s ship, the Mary, at Surat in 1636 is an exception and is well documented. This article provides a detailed account of the trial, placing it within the broader contexts of naval discipline, the judicial […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

The Wreck of the Dutch East India Company Ship Haarlem in Table Bay, 1647, and the Establishment of the ‘Tavern of the Seas’

By Bruno EJS Werz

On Sunday 25 March 1647, shortly after five o’clock in the afternoon, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship Nieuw Haarlem or Haarlem was wrecked in Table Bay, off the coast of South Africa. The events that followed had far-reaching consequences for the history of South Africa. Fifty-eight of the crew were repatriated by accompanying […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Case of the Roman Transom Bow

By Vittorio Bovolin

The discovery of a Roman boat with a transom end during the construction of a Metro line in Naples has reopened the discussion about whether this end is the bow or the stern of the boat. This issue was debated through the twentieth century and still continues today. Discussion so far has mainly been focused […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: American Whalers in Britain

By Kenneth Cousins and Derek B. Morris

A new understanding of the social and economic groups involved in the Pacific whaling industry has been developed, and this article brings to the attention of interested researchers the wide range of  websites now available. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Engineer Captain Nikolai Saczkowski and the Yenisei

By George Bailey OBE

This description of the careers of Engineer Captain Saczkowski and the Yenisei illuminate the period at the start of the first World War when British submarines assisted the Russian Baltic fleet. Read More

Filed under: Baltic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

Note: New Light on the Battle Off the Virginia Capes: Graves vs Hood

By Michael J. Crawford

A new version of the narrative describing the battle off the Virginia Capes, in which the logs of Hood’s ships are investigated to find the truth. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

S. O. Makarov’s Diary from His Visit to Russian America in 1864

By Andrei V. Grinëv & Richard L. Bland

A translation of documents by S.O. Makarov deals with Makarov’s visit to Russian America in 1864 has not previously been available to specialists on Russian America. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Linguistic Facts as a Reflection of Changes in Seafaring: Is a ship still a ‘she’?

By Milena Dževerdanović-Pejović

Linguistic facts reflect a lot about the world. There is an inherent linguistic and pragmatic belief that ships are feminine. The fact that the third-person pronoun ‘she’ is used when reference is made to a ship has become an unquestionable language fact in seafaring. Yet changes in the modern world and shipping, which has been […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

The Royal Navy’s Principal Warfare Officer Course, 1972–2015

By Andrew Livsey

The Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) course, which trains officers to direct warships on operations, has for the last 40 years been a key determinant in how the Royal Navy has fought. Four of the last six First Sea Lords, the professional heads of the Royal Navy, have been PWOs. This article explains why the course […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics

The French Pacific Division and the Chincha Islands War (1864–7)

By Alexandre Sheldon-Duplaix

The Chincha Islands War, fought between Spain and its former colonies of Peru and Chile from 1864 to 1866, took place while France was trying to impose an Austrian emperor on Mexico with the growing concern that the United States might intervene in both conflicts. Threatening French investments and interests in the two Latin American […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

‘So Complete Was Our Victory! So Complete Their Ruin!’: An analysis of the battle of Çeşme, 1770

By Philip MacDougall

This article presents an analysis of why a technically advanced Ottoman fleet of overwhelming numerical superiority operating in its home waters should have been decisively defeated by a Russian fleet operating in totally unfamiliar waters and hampered by a divided command structure, with no truly safe harbour to fall back on and with ships manned […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Obituary: Countess Mountbatten of Burma CD, DL (1924-2017)

By Hugh Murphy

The contribution of the Countess Mountbatten of Burma and her family to the Society. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: John Pennington Bethell (1925-2017)

By John M. Bingeman

The contribution of John Bethell to research through a long and varied career. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Richard Hill (1929-2017)

By Frank Scott

The contribution of Richard Hill to the navy and naval affairs. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Battle of Jutland’s Heritage Under Threat: Commercial salvage on the shipwrecks as observed 2000 to 2016

By Innes McCartney

This paper presents the most recent ndings up to August 2016 of the extent to which the shipwrecks from the battle of Jutland have been exposed to salvage for metals. Commercial salvage of the wrecks is not new and archival research has traced salvage activity as far back as 1960. However over the last 15 […] Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

Thomas Cavendish’s Visit to Puná Island in 1587

By Susan Maxwell

In 1587 Thomas Cavendish reached Puná Island, Ecuador, where he planned to overhaul his fleet and replenish his supplies. This article describes the visit to the island, the surprise attack by Spanish soldiers and the eventual departure towards Mexico. Most discussions rely only on two English primary sources for Cavendish’s circumnavigation: N. H.’s account in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Writing the Battle: Jutland in Sir Julian Corbett’s Naval Operations

By Andrew Lambert

This article examines the origins, development and purpose of Sir Julian Corbett’s account of the controversial battle of Jutland. Naval Operations is seen as an extended analysis of how British strategy was intended to work and why it had failed on this occasion. The argument was carefully constructed to explain the failure without challenging the […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Navies

The Jutland Paradox: A keynote address

By Eric Grove

The battle of Jutland was a paradox, a massive naval engagement with little result. Thousands of men were lost in an indecisive clash that settled nothing. This account sets out its author’s interpretation of the battle. Key reasons for the battle being indecisive were the contrasting characters of the British Grand Fleet’s commanders. Admiral Jellicoe, […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Books for Training Officers in the Eighteenth- century Spanish Navy

By Manuel-Reyes García Hurtado

The creation of academies for midshipmen brought about technological, scientific and educational developments in the eighteenth-century Spanish navy. In these academies midshipmen received the most advanced theoretical and practical training of the time. The Spanish monarchy made all the necessary resources available for the acquisition of books printed abroad for military libraries. This explains the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration

Thomas Cavendish’s Visit to Puná Island in 1587

By Susan Maxwell

In 1587 Thomas Cavendish reached Puná Island, Ecuador, where he planned to overhaul his fleet and replenish his supplies. This article describes the visit to the island, the surprise attack by Spanish soldiers and the eventual departure towards Mexico. Most discussions rely only on two English primary sources for Cavendish’s circumnavigation: N. H.’s account in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Strategy & Diplomacy

Obituary: Richard Oliver Goss (1929-2017)

By Hugh Murphy

The contribution to maritime economics  and the Nautical Institute, of the editor of Maritime Policy and Management. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: John Reynolds

By John Bingeman

The contribution to historic buildings by an ex-mariner turned architect. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: John Armstrong (1944–2017)

By Hugh Murphy

The contribution to  maritime history by the author and lecturer. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The “Henri Grace A Dieu”

By R C Anderson

Anderson compares three images of the above ship and wonders whether they are the same vessel. One engraving is dated 1523 which means it is much earlier than previously believed. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Richard Mount, London Shipowner

By Mark Howard

There were complications for the owner of shares, like Mount who owned shares in a series of large  commercial sailing vessels. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Document: The Wartime Diaries of Convoy Signalman George Robins

By Nick Robins

A personal record of life as a convoy signaller  in merchant convoys during the second World War. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | WW2
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

‘We Are a Modern Navy’: Abolishing the Royal Navy’s rum ration

By Richard Moore

The Royal Navy’s daily ration of free rum to sailors was abolished in 1970. Abolition was never justi ed on cost grounds, unlike so many other British defence decisions. Rather, rum was no longer in keeping with a navy of guided missiles and sensitive electronics. The decision was nevertheless many years in the making. The […] Read More

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

Singing for the Nation: Balladry, naval recruitment and the language of patriotism in eighteenth-century Britain

By James Davey

During the eighteenth century the ballad was one of the most important vehicles of mass communication. The Royal Navy was a consistent and popular subject for ballads and hundreds of songs were published with a distinct naval theme. This article analyses the nature of naval ballads, and investigates their potential political, social and cultural roles. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

‘Zeal Intelligence and Intrepidity’: Naval irregular warfare and the War of 1812 on the Lakes

By Benjamin Armstrong

The history of the War of 1812 has been dominated by scrutiny of the duelling frigates, squadron actions, and the British blockade of American ports. Yet, during the con ict from 1812 to 1815, sailors and marines were just as likely to be involved in maritime raiding operations and other irregular missions as they were […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812 | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Navies

Did Vessels Beach in the Ancient Mediterranean? An assessment of the textual and visual evidence

By Gregory F. Votruba

The practice of beaching seafaring ships in the ancient Mediterranean is a widely accepted phenomenon. This paper examines the evidence for beaching and outlines the various methods, tools and technology employed. While habitual beaching for seafaring vessels is testi ed for the Geometric Period Aegean, for later periods the evidence is primarily negative. With the […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Obituary: Martyn Heighton (1947-2016)

By Matthew Tanner

A tribute to a friend and colleague Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: “English Iliads”

By C Cunninghame Graham

The author quotes a different version of the Iliad, recorded in MM Volume 1, Issue 12, but can offer no explanation of the variation. Read More

Filed under: Dutch Wars | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Marstal Maritime Museum

By Annemette Aracama

The Maritime Museum at Marstal displays the ancient and unchanged connection between this island and its environment. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Merchant Marines

At War with the Navy

By Colin Jones

The small ships taken up by the Australian navy were of small account to the navy but of far more importance to their owners.  These case studies reveal the local implications of such dealings. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

The Tip of the Spear: Captain Henry Hotham and the blockade of Brest and L’Orient

By Martin Robson

The diaries of Captain the Honourable Henry Hotham from 1810 and 1811 reveal the conditions at sea during the blockade he kept of Brest and L’Orient, which required exceptional fortitude and seamanship. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Sweet Fanny Adams Revisited

By Tony (A.L.) Rice

The background to the often retold story of the death of Fanny Adams and the myth that her remains were found in a tin of meat, correcting the previous notes in The Mariner’s Mirror over many years. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Etymology of Squiligee and Squeegee

By William Sayers

An attempt to define the origin of words both connected to the removal of excess water. It is one of the vagaries of language that sailors should have become seascullions, labouring to remove excess water after swabbing the great bowl of the ship, like the land-bound cooks’ boys washing dishes and scrubbing pots in medieval […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: Marstal Maritime Museum

By Annemette Aracama

The opening of a new museum at Marstal is welcomed.  The archive of models, ship portraits, marine and navigation gear will now be housed in more spacious surroundings, allowing the centuries of marine activity here to be properly documented. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: A Close Examination of an Ancient Naval Artefact

By Aldo Antonicelli

An identification of an ancient bronze artefact as a secondary ram. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Weapons

Document: Vice-Admiral Bethell’s Third Fleet Battle Orders, about 1914

By Simon Harley

There is a frightful dearth of battle orders for this period. Those orders that are known to exist relate to the principal British fleet, which was the Home Fleet from 1909 to 1912 then First Fleet of the Home Fleets (1912–1914). Bethell’s orders, never before published, are an important addition to our knowledge of tactical […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | North Sea
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: At War with the Navy

By Colin Jones

Small civilian craft were taken up by the Australian navy during the Second World War, and this account details the experiences of some of them. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Pacific
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft

Low Labour Intensity and Overmanning in the Royal Dockyards, 1815–1914

By James Haas

Low labour productivity and overmanning were a very old and intractable problem in the royal dockyards, but only acquired political prominence in the later nineteenth century. This article examines the working practices of the dockyards and the political ramifications of the poor working practices. In time of war large numbers of men are required to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Steamships of the Russian-American Company, 1839–1867

By Andrei V. Grinëv

This article analyses the development of steamship construction and the operation of steamships in the former Russian colonies in Alaska in 1838–67. This aspect of the economy of Russian America proceeded with the active co-operation of representatives of the United States and their technical support. The first steamship Nikolai I was completed in 1839 at Novo-Arkhangel’sk. The […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

The Royal Yacht Isabella of 1683: Identification and principal dimensions

By Kelvin Moneypenny & Dorin Paul Bucur

The Isabella of 1683 was the last yacht built for Charles II. Although in the past her name has been associated with several images, this yacht has never been fully identified. The process of identification will add detail to a suite of drawings made around 1696 by the seventeenth-century Venetian etcher Vincenzo Coronelli and to a painting […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Connecting Past and Present: Maritime museums and historical mission

By Lincoln Paine

This article explores different approaches that maritime museums might consider to enlarge their audience and enhance their mission. In particular, it focuses on how we can incorporate the innovative research into ancient and contemporary structures of maritime trading networks by historians, archaeologists and others to broaden our geographic and thematic focus, and take on a […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

N ote: The Tip of the Spear: Captain Henry Hotham and the blockade of Brest and L’Orient

By Martin Robson

Commissioned in 1810 to command HMS Northumberland in the Channel Fleet and to blockade the French coast, the honourable Henry Hotham’s diaries, logs and letters have been used to give the reader details of the dangers, difficulties and successes of this vital element of the Napoleonic war at sea. Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: Sweet Fanny Adams Revisited

By Tony Rice

The gruesome murder of Fanny Adams, widely reported in 1867, coincided with the issue of tinned beef to the Royal Navy from the naval suppliers at Deptford.   Typical naval black humour caused the contents of the tins to be referred to as ‘Fanny Adams’.  This has led to a century of questions and answers […] Read More

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

Note: Etymology of Swiligee and Squeegee

By William Sayers

Various derivations of these words are examined, from medieval French and terms of the sea.  Sayer’s conclusion is that the sailor removing excess water from his vessel is using the same tool as a kitchen boy in a medieval household. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: The Digitisation of the Board of Longitude Archives

By Alexi Baker

The digitisation of this important archive has made possible research into new and valuable areas of study. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Student Strikebreakers: The 1934 West Coast waterfront strikes and the SS Mariposa

By Douglas Sprague

The West Coast strike by longshoremen which affected all shipping was broken by students from college or university. This is a personal account of the cruise of SS Mariposa, crewed by student strikebreakers. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: A British Account of the Action off Cape Sarych, 1914

By Toby Ewin

By chance a Royal Navy officer was an eyewitness to the engagement between the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the German ships operating with the Ottoman fleet. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: The Wreck of the ‘Apostle’ San Bartolomé (1597)

By José Luis Casaban

The location of this Spanish wreck dating from 1597 has been disputed, but documentary evidence reconstructs the events which led to its loss. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

Note: On the First Use of the Term ‘Chronometer’

By Wolfgang Koberer

This brief note records the first usages of the term ‘chronometer’, dating from 1713 in William Derham’s Physico-theology, and Matthias Wasmuth’s Arcanum Navarchicon of 1684. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

From galleys to square riggers: The modernization of the navy of the Kingdom of Sardinia

By Aldo Antonicello

By the middle of the eighteenth century most navies operating in the Mediterranean had replaced their galley fleets with sailing navies. The Kingdom of Sardinia was one of the last to make the transition, acquiring its first square rigged ships in 1763. The galleys were decommissioned and a completely new naval administration was created. The […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Caesar’s crossing of the Adriatic Countered by a Winter Blockade During the Roman Civil War

By Ian Longhurst

During the Roman Civil War that broke out in 49 bc between Julius Caesar and Pompey naval operations played a critical role. In order to confront Pompey’s army quickly in the Balkans, a major amphibious crossing of the Adriatic was undertaken by Caesar’s army. The text of Caesar’s Civil War and other sources, including Lucan’s […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: A British Account of the Action off Cape Sarych, 1914

By Toby Ewin

An account using hitherto unpublished documents, examines the first engagement between the Russian Black Sea fleet and the modern German ships ‘sold’ to the Ottoman empire in 1914. Read More

Filed under: WW1 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

Note: The Wreck of the ‘Apostle’ San Bartolomé (1597)

By José Luis Casabán

An examination of the possible sites of the wreck of the post-Armada San Bartolomé and its eventual location at Mundaka Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Early Modern) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Navies

Note: On the First Use of the Term “Chronometer’

By Wofgang Koberer

A discussion of the earliest use of the term ‘chronometer’ as an instrument for keeping time. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: The Use of Chronometers to Determine Longitude on East India Company Voyages

By Simon C. Davidson

Evidence that a chronometer was used on early commercial voyages to determine longitude. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note:The Galician Lugsail: An old form of fore-and-aft sail

By Jesús Blanco-García

An explanation of the characteristics of the lugsail still used in Galicia Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Ballast Logs

By Frank Scott

A discussion of the use of ‘ballast logs’ to stabilise commercial sailing ships as they unloaded their cargo Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: The Figurehead/Badge of the Mary Rose 1510–45

By David Pulvertaft

The history of the Mary Rose and its figurehead, with detailed explanations of its design and purpose. Read More

Filed under: Tudors | English Channel | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

Document: ‘A Distinct Point in Modern Naval Tactics’

By Simon Harley

These are claimed to be the first written orders for a squadron going into battle, taking every eventuality into account. Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

‘An Awkward Engine’: Captain Philip Broke’s troublesome relationship with the carronade

By Martin Bibbings

From its first introduction in the late 1770s during the American Revolutionary War the carronade was enthusiastically embraced by the Admiralty for use in its warships, dramatically increasing the firepower and effectiveness of even the smallest vessels. Diminutive in size and weight compared to conventional long guns it was capable of firing heavy-calibre shot, and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Weapons

Diseases Spread by Sea: Health Services and the Ports of the Canary Islands in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries

By Juan Manuel Santana-Pérez

In the Canary Islands the sea was as a defence against disease. There was a constant fear of epidemics arriving by sea, not only because of the potentially high death toll, but because it could have a seriously detrimental effect on trade. As well as the local impact of disease, health control was important because […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Popular Topics | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Paddle Wheels for Sailing Men-of-War

By Joseph Eliav

In 1720 Monsieur du Quest, a French engineer, presented to the Royal Society a paper titled ‘A Method for Rowing Men of War in a Calm’ in which he proposed to install man-operated paddle wheels on British sailing ships. The paper documented sea trials he had performed in 1693 with his invention installed on a […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Some English Sailing Terms with Norse Antecedents: Weather side, luff, tack, beat to windward

By William Sayers

Key terms in the English vocabulary of sailing to windward appear anomalous in dictionaries organized by mainstream English headwords. The Old Norse language, with Anglo-Norse and Anglo-Norman French as linguistic intermediaries, along with early medieval Scandinavian sailing technology are proposed as the source for this important word cluster. The tacking terms of ‘weather’, ‘beat’, ‘tack’ […] Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Obituary Alan McGowan 1928-2016

By Jonathan Coad

An appreciation of the life and work of Alan McGowan Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Biography

Note: The Portrait of the Alexandra of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

By A.B. McLeod and A.M.G. McLeod

This description of the ship portrait examines the period and location of the portrait, as well as the ship’s cargo and crew. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Merchant Marines

Fact and fiction: What happened at Pabellon de Pica and Huanillos on 9 May 1877?

By Frank Scott

A careful unpicking of the fact and fiction behind the ‘eyewitness’ account of the tsunami. Read More

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

The portrait of the Alexandra of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

By A.B. McLeod and A.M.G. McLeod

A close study of this ship portrait reveals a great deal about the period in which she operated and the owner/manager responsible for her. Read More

Filed under: North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Tyrrhenian Naval Iconography During the First Ice Age: the origin of Etruscan ships

By Francesco Tiboni

Starting from a critical analysis of some of the most important evidence concerning Etruscan maritime activities, the evolutionary line linking the ninth-century BC Villanovan clay models to the sixth-century BC figures of Etruscan ships is re-evaluated. Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Art & Music | Ship Models & Figureheads

Gas Lion: The first Clyde-built gas carrier and a micocosm of Norwegian shipping

By Stig Tenold

This article, based on primary sources in Norway and Scotland, tells the history of Gas Lion, the first gas tanker built on the Clyde. The ship was delivered in 1968 from Scotts’ of Greenock to Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi (KGJS), a newly established shipping company from Bergen, Norway. In addition to the history of the ship […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Upper Clyde Shipbuilders 1971-2 and Edward Heath’s U-turn: how a united workforce defeated a divided government.

By Roy Foster

This article examines the political crisis resulting from the denial of government financial support for Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in June 1971 and the subsequent reversal of policy. It uses government departmental and Cabinet Office papers to argue that the key turning point came in September 1971 when Lord Rothschild’s Central Policy Review Staff produced its […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

Refining the Steam Coaster: Scotland’s contribution

By Roy Fenton

This article explores the origins and development of a small but significant type of merchant ship, the bulk-carrying steam coaster. They were built in considerable numbers, made an important contribution to industrialization, and their design is largely perpetuated in modern motor coasters, but they have not been well served by shipping historians. An analysis is […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

The Bentinck Boom: its history and probable misattribution

By Frank Scott

The Bentinck boom was a common labour-saving feature in Greenland whalers and British coastal craft in the nineteenth century, notably the collier brigs. Its design, advantages and limitations are all discussed, as is its interesting etymology, and the probability that its invention has been incorrectly attributed to Captain John Bentinck RN as a result of […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Fact and Fiction: What happened at Pabellón de Pica and Huanillos on 9 May 1877?

By Frank Scott

The striking eyewitness accounts of shipwreck are examined and the truth separated from the very good story. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: ‘To Sett Downe All the Villainie’: accounts of the sodomy trial on the fourth East India Company Voyage (1609)

By Cheryl Fury

A reconciliation of the accounts of this most unusual trial for sodomy on board a merchant ship, which reveals a great deal about shipboard life in the early seventeenth century. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: Matthew Flinders in HMS Providence, 1791-93

By Madge Darby

This brief note corrects the statement that Matthew Flinders was demoted to able seaman by Captain Cook during his expedition of 1793. Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea

Note: ‘Her Majesty’s Bad Bargain’: Richard Johns and his naval pension

By Jeremy Rowett Johns

This note records the career of Richard Johns who drew a naval pension for 60 years following the engagement between HMS Reindeer  and USS Wasp in 1814. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Document: Captain Beaufort on the Sensation felt by Drowning Man

By courtesy of Maldwin Drummond

This document records the experience of Francis Beaufort when he nearly drowned as a midshipman in the frigate Aquilon. Read More

Filed under: French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

Old Methods Versus New: a Comparison of Very Large Crude Carrier Construction at Scott Lithgow and Hyundai Heavy Industries, 1970-1977

By J. Y. Kang, Song Kim, Hugh Murphy & Stig Tenold

This article compares and contrasts Very Large Crude Carrier shipbuilding at Scott Lithgow’s Glen shipyard, Port Glasgow, Scotland and Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard, Ulsan, South Korea, initially to the same design, and VLCC shipbuilding in the United Kingdom, 1970–77 in general, at the two other United Kingdom shipyards capable of constructing VLCCs, Swan Hunter on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Reconstructing the Design of the American Civil War Semi-submersible CSS David

By John D. Littlefield

The American Civil War saw the need for many quickly conceived experimental projects in naval warfare. CSS David, a semi-submersible torpedo boat, proved to be an important innovation as it spurred development of both the modern torpedo and submarine. Historians superficially mention ‘Little David’ when discussing the historic attack of the Union blockader New Ironsides on 5 October […] Read More

Filed under: American Civil War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Submarines

The ‘Navalisation’ of Ireland: the Royal Navy and Irish Insurrection in the 1840s

By Jerome Devitt

This article examines the role played by the Royal Navy in the deterrence and suppression of Irish nationalist movements in the early Victorian period, particularly Daniel O’Connell’s 1843 ‘Repeal Association’ and the 1848 Young Ireland Rising. The navy was seen as ‘encouraging the loyal and overawing the disaffected’ both in how it acted, and in […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Document: ‘I was at the helm when Preussen ran aground’

By courtesy of Rolf C.F. Warming

This newly translated memoir is a detailed first-hand account of the demise of the Preussen beneath the chalk cliffs of Dover. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Measuring Britain’s Merchant Shipbuilding Output in the Twentieth Century

By Ian Buxton, Roy Fenton & Hugh Murphy

This article reports on work done to arrive at a reliable estimate of British shipbuilding output in the twentieth century. Three datasets are considered: the annual figures of the Shipbuilding Conference, those of Lloyd’s Register and those of the British Shipbuilding Database (BSD). Differences between the figures are explored and reconciliation attempted by examining the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

On a New Bearing: the Reorganized Royal Australian Navy at War in Vietnam

By Steven Paget

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) made a modest but important commitment of a single destroyer to the Vietnam War on a rotational basis between March 1967 and September 1971. The contrast between the deployments of the American-designed and built Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyers and the British-designed Daring class destroyer, HMAS Vendetta, represented the […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

Political Discussions Onboard HMS Crocodile: David Samwell, James King, and the Historical Implications for Captain Cook’s Third Voyage

By Lance Bertelsen

James King and David Samwell wrote two of the most important journals of Captain James Cook’s third voyage and later produced the most important eighteenth-century publications describing the controversial circumstances of Cook’s death. This article presents previously unpublished excerpts from Samwell’s letters describing political discussions between the two onboard HMS Crocodile in 1781, a period during which […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

The Ships from Herodium

By Yaacov Kahanov, Deborah Cvikel, Silvia Rozenberg, Yakov Kalman, Rachel Chachy & Roi Porat

Ships are depicted in two nautical scenes in the unique wall paintings discovered in the Royal Room next to the private small theatre of Herod the Great at Herodium near Jerusalem. The walls of the Royal Room were finely adorned with wall paintings and stucco decorations, dated to about 20–15 BC. The first scene, on […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Medieval Ship Graffiti in English Churches: Interpretation and function

By Matthew Champion

The freshly conducted survey of ship graffiti has discovered shared characteristics, meaning and functions. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: Graffiti of British Ships at La Algeria Castle

By Alejandro Martín López

An examination of the graffiti found in the castle used to house prisoners during the eighteenth century. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Popular Topics | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Merchant Navy: A myth reviewed

By Pieter van der Merwe

This examines the use of the term ‘Merchant Navy’ and the determination of King George to grant the formal title. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Note: ‘You are a Very Naughty Admiral Indeed’

By Lorna M. Campbell and Heather Noel-Smith

An account of a letter written  by Lady Caroline Warren to Sir Edward Pellew   Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Benjamin T. Hill’s HMS Victory Collection

By Rodney Hilton Brown

An account of the Nelson and HMS Victory memorabilia collected by Benjamin Hill Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: Staghorn

By John H. Harland

The use of the term ‘stag horn’ to describe a mooring bollard Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

Russian Ship Names: Ships on the Shores of Russian America

By Andrei V. Grinev translated by Richard L. Bland

For this article the names of all Russian ships that travelled to the shores of Alaska during the Russian–American period are collated. These include small vessels of merchant companies that helped the Russians colonize the multitude of islands in the Aleutian chain and South Alaska, warships of the Russian navy, and the sailing ships and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines | Navies

Agincourt Sound Revisited

By Michael Barritt

At the resumption of hostilities in 1803 after the Peace of Amiens, Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, now commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, renewed his interest in Sardinia as a logistical base for the blockade of Toulon. The story of the selection of an anchorage, known in the British fleet as Agincourt Sound, situated in the Maddalena Islands […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Napoleonic War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Navies | Science & Exploration

Coaling Warships with Naval Labour, 1870-1914: ‘I wish I could get hold of that man who first found coal.’

By Steven Gray

The expansion of a steam-powered Royal Navy in the period 1870−1914 made vessels utterly dependent on coal. Getting this coal aboard warships was dirty, exhausting, and dangerous work. Even in 1914, it was still largely done by hand and, increasingly, it was the job of the ships’ crews to perform this task. Thus coaling was […] Read More

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

Angry Voices on the River Bank: a Reinterpretation of Two Aquatic Classics

By Michael Bender

At least some of the meaning of the maritime for the English has come to them through its portrayal in the various media, such as paintings, poetry and literature. This relationship appears to have been particularly relevant during the late Victorian and Edwardian era, when the need of the population to understand the sea and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music

Lord Nelson and Earl St Vincent: Prize Fighters

By Grahame Aldous QC

The lengthy prize litigation over the proceeds of Spanish treasure conducted between 1801 and 1803 involving Lord Nelson and Earl St Vincent is often referred to, but little understood. Using contemporaneous records, correspondence and law reports, this article considers the original prize captures that gave rise to the dispute, the tactics adopted by the litigating […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Atlantic | Napoleonic War | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Administration | Navies

Note: The Port of Glasgow

By Martin Bellamy

A number of photographs showing the river and port of Glasgow have been discovered in the Museum. Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines

The Evolution of the Windlass in the Nineteenth Century

By John H. Harland

The handling of anchor cable on merchant ships was the subject of much innovation in the early nineteenth century. In warships anchor cable was handled by capstans operated by large crews. On merchant ships, with restricted space and manpower, a windlass was preferred. This article examines the development of the hand-powered windlass from the traditional […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship

US Slave Trading on the Rio Pongo: Evidence from the Capture and Trial of the Spitfire of New Orleans, 1845

By Bruce Mouser

In March 1845 vessels of the British and American surveillance squadrons cooperated in the capture of the schooner Spitfire of New Orleans which was collecting a slave cargo at the Rio Pongo on Africa’s western coast. This article considers the context of that collaboration, the trial of the Spitfire‘s captain in Boston, and the complex methods that slavers […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Miscellaneous

Spanish Naval Strategy and the United States, 1763–1819

By Ivan Valdez-Bubnov

This article examines the naval strategies conceived by the Spanish government to deal with Anglo-American expansion in North America. The political, social and diplomatic aspects of this process have been thoroughly approached by historiography. However, its impact on Spanish naval policy has received little attention. After the Louisiana purchase, the Spanish navy made a plan […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: Commerce Warfare in the Atlantic, 1917: SMS Moewe

By Robin McNish

An account of the sinking of the SS Otaki by the German SMS Moewe in 1917, written by the son of the chief officer at the time. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | WW1 | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Navies

Note: Commerce Warfare in the Atlantic, 1917: SMS Moewe

By Robin McNish

This corrects a statement in MM 2014/3 p335 that SMS Moewe was withdrawn from Atlantic waters in 1916. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

Document: The Trial of the Isabella of Dundee, 1846

By courtesy of Innes A. Duffus

An example of one of the records from the guildry court books of Dundee, dated 1809 to 1894, is presented here. It is an unusually detailed case against a skipper and his alleged lack of seamanship, business acumen and sobriety, who did not come back with nearly enough guano in 1846. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

A Statement of Hopes? The Effectiveness of US and British Naval War Plans Against Japan, 1920–1941

By Douglas Ford

This article reconsiders the traditional claim that the setbacks which the US and British naval forces faced during the opening stages of the war against Japan in 1941–2 were the result of poor strategic planning. It illustrates how, during the decades leading up to the outbreak of the Pacific War, naval staffs drew up a […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: The Åland Maritime Museum

By Hanna Hagmark-Cooper

The Director of the Aland Maritime Museum describes its exhibitions and its artefacts. Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Twentieth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: John Cleveley the Elder’s ‘The Floating Out of the Cambridge’: Problems and patrons

By A.B. McLeod and A.M.G. McLeod

The Floating Out of the Cambridge 1755 is a pre-eminent example of the artist John Cleveley’s style. Th authors have examined this work in detail and have investigated the identity of the patron who commissioned the work. Read More

Filed under: Seven Years’ War | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Class Warfare and the Selborne Scheme: the Royal Navy’s Battle over Technology and Social Hierarchy

By Oliver Johnson

In 1902 Second Naval Lord Jackie Fisher and the Earl of Selborne, the First Lord of the Admiralty, announced a scheme which would fundamentally change the way cadets for the engineering, executive and Royal Marine branches were entered and trained. Known as the Selborne Scheme this was designed to give equal status to executive and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea

Foreign Ships in the Fleet of the Russian–American Company (1799–1867)

By Andrei V. Grinëv

The Russian–American Company fleet (1799–1871) provided communication between the Asian and Baltic ports of Russia and the distant Russian colonies in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. At the beginning of its existence its fleet consisted exclusively of Russian-built ships, but gradually came to be made up of ships built in England, the United States, Germany […] Read More

Filed under: Baltic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

The Voyage of Leucippe and Clitophon: a New Interpretation

By Deborah Cvikel, Yaacov Kahanov, Baruch Rosen, Hadas Saaroni & Ehud Galili

As told in a novel of the second century ad, the couple Leucippe and Clitophon boarded a ship sailing from Beirut to Alexandria. The ship, apparently a 20-metre-long coaster, set out on a SW course, driven by an easterly wind. On the third day the wind shifted abruptly to the south-west, and the sea rose. […] Read More

Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Science & Exploration

A Reappraisal of the Life and Work of Basil Lubbock

By Michael Leek

Basil Lubbock was a pioneering author and maritime historian who laid the foundations for the study of merchant sailing ships. His knowledge was based on practical experience as a seafarer under sail, extensive archival research and discussions with seamen and sailing ship managers. This article reassesses his life as an adventurer, seaman, soldier, yachtsman and […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Commerce Warfare in the East Central Atlantic during the First World War: German Submarines Around the Canary Islands, 1916–1918

By Javier Ponce

This article examines German U-boat operations in and near the neutral territorial waters of the Canary Islands as well as British and Spanish responses to these operations. The strategic importance of the area around the Canaries, where trade routes from South America to Europe converged with those from West Africa and the Cape, would determine […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW1
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

An Assessment of Voyage Memoirs of the Erikson Era

By Frank Scott

The many Erikson voyage memoirs are assessed as a group to establish their value to the historian, and their limits. The cultural differences between the Anglophone ‘adventurer’ trainees, and the Ålander/Finnish professional trainees and crew are illuminated, along with working conditions, training, and the experiences of the few women. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

The Richard Affair: Rising Tensions Between the United States and the United Kingdom, 1806

By Leo Hershkowitz

In 1806 an American merchant seaman was killed by a shot from the British warship HMS Leander which was trying to enforce its right to stop and search for contraband goods. This relatively minor incident is little remembered in history but at the time attracted the attention of King George III, his ministers, President Thomas Jefferson, other […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | War of 1812
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Strategy & Diplomacy

Duelling in the Royal Navy

By Mark Barton

Articles on duelling tend to concentrate on specific duels or are systematic studies focusing on wider society. This article aims to bring together the challenges and duels identified from primary sources such as naval officers’ memoirs, lists and journals and identify what this says about the behaviour of the service from the mid-eighteenth century to […] Read More

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

Observational Methods and Procedures for the Mariner’s Astrolabe

By Nicolàs de Hilster

The practical assessment of the accuracy of the mariner’s astrolabe has been the subject of discussion in The Mariner’s Mirror. This article gives further insight on this topic, based on period knowledge and statistical analysis of period and modern data. In addition, reference to more modern studies on this topic is given in an attempt to […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Richard Liley: Master Mariner and Trinity House Pilot

By Andrew Muirhead

A small tattered notebook reveals all that Richard Liley left behind after a career at sea and as a Trinity House Pilot. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Merchant Marines

The Italian Naval War in the Mid-Atlantic: Blockade Runners and Submarines in the Canary Islands (1940–1943)

By Juan José Díaz Benítez

This article studies the real value of the Canary Islands for the Italian navy not only as an area of submarine operations but also as refuge for the Italian merchant fleet. To verify this hypothesis unpublished Italian, German and Spanish primary sources have been consulted. From information gathered from these sources, it can be seen […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Strategy & Diplomacy | Submarines

Conrad, the Yarn and the Location of the Marlow Stories

By Michael Bender

Maritime history is centrally concerned with man’s changing relationship with the sea. One important way of understanding this relationship is by examining contemporary writings concerning the sea and sailing on it. A particular rich area of such writings is fictional accounts; and the greatest exponent of British maritime fiction is Joseph Conrad (1857–1924). This paper […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous

Between Shoal and Wall: the Naval Bombardment of Akko, 1840

By Yaacov Kahanov, Eliezer Stern, Deborah Cvikel & Yoav Me-Bar

HMS Pique bombarded Akko during the attack by a British–Austrian–Ottoman fleet on the Egyptian-held town on 3 November 1840. Three of her cannonballs were discovered during renovation of the El-Shazliya Mosque in Old Akko, embedded in an inner eastern wall facing the sea. Reduced scale experiments simulating the firing of cannonballs at this wall were conducted by […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Weapons

The Royal Yacht Henrietta of 1679: Identification and Principal Dimensions

By Kelvin Moneypenny & Dorin Paul Bucur

In 2012 the attention of the authors was drawn to a pen-and-ink drawing in the style of the Van de Veldes. This paper sets out to identify the subject of this drawing as the Henrietta yacht of 1679. It then proceeds to define the main dimensions of Henrietta and in particular that she was built with a more upright […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | East India Company | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Art & Music | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: On the Attempt to Assess the Accuracy of the Astrolabe

By Wolfgang Köberer

A study of the accuracy of an astrolabe, taking into account previous studies, concluding that the instrument and the observer were more likely to be accurate than the maps he might be using. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Some Aspects of the Life and Career of William Sutherland

By Cris Mallagh

This paper offers some new insights into aspects of the life and work of the shipwright William Sutherland (1668–1740). He went to sea in 1679 and advanced to master carpenter by 1692. Afterwards he served three years as quarterman at Portsmouth under his uncle William Bagwell. At Deptford in 1715 he became embroiled in controversies […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

From Lateen to Square Rig: the Evolution of the Greek-owned Merchant Fleet and its Ships in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

By Apostolos Delis

Between the middle of the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries shipping became a major economic activity for many Ionian and Aegean communities. The growth of the merchant marine of the Ionians and Aegean Greeks under both Venetian and Ottoman sovereignty, and that of the kingdom of Greece after 1830, are examined in relation to shipping […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Naval Resources and the British Defeat at Yorktown, 1781

By Richard Middleton

Although most of the blame for the disaster at Yorktown fell on the generals, the role of the navy was equally crucial. Had the fleet converged on Chesapeake Bay in sufficient numbers, the army of Lord Cornwallis would have been rescued and the war perhaps ended differently. Responsibility for this failure has never been adequately […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | American Revolution
Subjects include: Administration | Battles & Tactics | Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

Some Aspects of the Life and Career of William Sutherland

By Cris Mallagh

This paper offers some new insights into aspects of the life and work of the shipwright William Sutherland (1668–1740). He went to sea in 1679 and advanced to master carpenter by 1692. Afterwards he served three years as quarterman at Portsmouth under his uncle William Bagwell. At Deptford in 1715 he became embroiled in controversies […] Read More

Filed under: Spanish Succession | Other (Early Modern) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

The Law and Language of Private Naval Warfare

By N. A. M. Rodger

Piracy and privateering figure very extensively in history, and in current affairs, but much of the discussion is undermined by the common failure to define the terms and understand the legal distinctions between them. Moreover it is essential to consider with care the translation of languages and legal systems. The paper attempts to clarify the […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (Early Modern) | Pirates | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Lay of Rope

By John Harland

An explanation of the reasons behind the terms ‘right-hand lay’ and ‘left-hand lay’.  The fact that ‘clockwise’, ‘with the sun’ and ‘right-handed’ mean the same thing in the maritime world,  whereas twine direction in nature is almost all right-handed.  The Note moves from hemp to wire rope and the uses to which it will be […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Use of Benchmarks in the Popular Reporting of Commercial Shipping: Is the Titanic an appropriate measure to convey the size of a modern ship?

By Paul Stott

A discussion of the use of often meaningless benchmarks by which to measure size and weight, and a suggestion as to which would be meaningful comparators. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Note: Parbuckling

By William Sayers

The origins of the word ‘parbuckle’ are examined together with its variants Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: An Influential Membership: the Society for Nautical Research 1911-1913

By Hugh Murphy and Derek J. Oddy

This description of the early membership of the Society notes the proportions of naval members as opposed to those of the legal and academic professions, with shipowners and shipbuilders also important. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Document: The Wardroom Mess Accounts for HMS Leyden, 1809

By courtesy of Nicholas Blake

In 1809 HMS Leyden was fitting in Sheerness for the Walcheren expedition. On 29 March, Captain John Spearing RM joined her, and became the mess caterer. Captain Spearing was not an accomplished accountant; he was extravagant and failed to take or keep receipts, and in August the mess accused him of embezzling part of the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | North Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Navies

Note: The Royal Dockyard Schools and their Education System

By Frank E. King

The education of shipyard apprentices evolved in response to the need of the yards for skilled workmen in different categories.  This Note outlines the careers of the apprentices who did best in the examinations, and who therefore progressed to the next level of employment.  What was taught is outlined as well as how it was […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards

Note: Henry Bell’s Comet: The account book for 1820

By Peter McOwat

This account of the first steam ship, which operated on the route to Fort William  from September 1819, is derived from an account book of the vessel’s operation in 1820. The income and expenditure is recorded, as well as names and wages of crew. The passengers are also listed, giving a social commentary on the […] Read More

Filed under: Nineteenth Century | Other (Nineteenth C) | Shipwrecks | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Tactics of Sixteenth Century Galley Artillery

By Joseph Eliav

The use of artillery in Mediterranean galley warfare was often perceived as being restricted to the firing of single salvos at very short range before ramming and boarding the enemy ship enabled the main fight in close combat. The article contests the reasons contemporary literature gives for this tactic and argues that it was both […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Weapons

Maritime Logistics and Edward I’s Military Campaigns: what can be Learnt from the Surviving Documentation?

By Susan Rose

This article examines the use made of shipping to support Edward I’s military campaigns. It concentrates particularly on the period 1299-1301 looking in detail at fleets assembled on the west coast in 1299-1300 and the east coast in 1300-1 to provide logistical support to English armies fighting in Scotland. The evidence relating to these fleets […] Read More

Filed under: Late Middle Ages | English Channel | North Sea
Subjects include: Administration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

Competition in the Merchant Steamship Market, 1889-1914

By David Humphreys

The merchant steamship market in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was dominated by the UK shipbuilding industry but past studies have portrayed a market characterized by the strong relationships between UK shipbuilders and shipowners where competition between firms was the exception rather than the rule. The objective of this article is to shed […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Shipworm, Hogbacks and Duck’s Arses: the Influence of William May on Sir Robert Seppings

By Alan Lemmers

The improvements in shipbuilding by Sir Robert Seppings in the early nineteenth century represent one of the last major revolutions in the age of the wooden sailing warship. However, little is known about Seppings’s sources of inspiration, a blank that this article attempts to fill in to some extent. Recent historical finds confirm that Seppings […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Biography | Shipbuilding & Design

Notes made by Thomas Harriot (1560-1622) on Ships and Shipbuilding

By Jacqueline Steal

Notes made by Thomas Herriot in about 1608 on the vocabulary and technicalities of ships and shipbuilding offer an insight into the practical world.  He wrote about the ideal height of a mast, on fashion pieces, ropes and other topics. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

The Application and Scheme of Paintworks in British Men-of-War in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

By Peter G. Goodwin

The question of the authenticity of the colour scheme for the preserved HMS Victory has been the subject of some debate. This article uses historical evidence and technical analysis of paint samples to draw conclusions about the external and internal appearance of HMS Victory and other ships of this time in both the British and […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel | French Revolution
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: Capstans Handling Chain: Gordon and Barbotin

By John Harland

This note pursues that previously published in MM (99:1) dealing with the transition from hemp to chain. The invention of a chain messenger to be captured by a capstan was claimed by Messrs Gordon and Co in London and by Capitaine Benoit Barbotin in France. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Fid and Marlinspike Etymologies

By William Sayers

The earliest use of the word ‘fid’ is explored, with Thomas Harriot’s use of the word at the beginning of the seventeenth century noted. The connection between fids and marlinspikes  is explained. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: Problems in Correctly Identifying a Shipwreck

By Martin and Sheilah Openshaw

The difficulties of identifying wrecks are outlined, with particular reference to the wreck which has been called the Hartburn or the Start.  The other possible candidates are examined, and the collision between HMS Surprise and Netley Abbey is recounted in detail. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Note: The Compression Carriage or Hardy Carriage

By Aldo Antonicelli

This Note corrects an assertion made by John Harland in MM (99:1) that Admiral Hardy was the inventor of  the ‘compression carriage’ used for carronades between 1830 and 1850. The carriage was designed by General William Millar, but was abandoned ‘on account of its weight, complication, liability to become deranged or be rendered useless ..’ Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Weapons

HIJMS Wakamiya and the Early Development of Japanese Naval Air Power

By Jonathan Parkinson

The British merchant steamship Lethington was captured by the Japanese in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War, converted into a seaplane tender in 1914 and then transformed into the aircraft carrier Wakamiya in 1920. At Tsingtao in September 1914 she became the first vessel in history to handle naval aircraft in action. This paper examines the early moves by the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Weapons

Bridport Harbour: The Rise and Decline of a Coastal Port

By P. A. B. Thomson

Bridport is an interesting case study of a port created in an unlikely place to meet local industrial demand. A protected harbour only from the 1740s, it was successful enough to be consolidated and expanded in the 1820s. It enjoyed a 30-year heyday before railway competition started to bite into its trade. Traditional exports of […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines

The Application and Scheme of Paintworks in British Men-of-War in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

By Peter G. Goodwin

The question of the authenticity of the colour scheme for the preserved HMS Victory has been the subject of some debate. This article uses historical evidence and technical analysis of paint samples to draw conclusions about the external and internal appearance of HMS Victory and other ships of this time in both the British and French navies. An investigation […] Read More

Filed under: Nelson | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Miscellaneous | Shipbuilding & Design

The Growth of Plymouth Naval Base and European Tensions, 1717–32

By Christopher Ware

Between 1715 and 1727 Britain sent nine substantial squadrons to the Baltic to safeguard its interests. However, as the situation in the north of Europe began to settle, distrust began to increase again between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar and trade in the West Indies. Fighting at Gibraltar in 1727 led to an extended period […] Read More

Filed under: Spanish Succession | Austrian Succession | English Channel
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Gun and Corsia of Early Modern Mediterranean Galleys: Design Issues and Rationales

By Joseph Eliav

An early modern Mediterranean galley carried its main piece of artillery on a wheelless mount inside the raised centreline gangway (the corsia). The gun mount stood on two well-lubricated rails that sloped downwards from fore to aft. In its firing position, the gun was in the bows and when fired recoil propelled it all the way […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

Note: ‘Born under an unlucky planet’: The voyages and travels of Owen Roberts, mariner, 1739–1831

By Anthony Tibbles

An account of an eighteenth century sailor, in some detail, in his own words.  Owen Roberts experienced 50 years at sea, some in the slave trade, and this is a remarkable insight into an ordinary life at sea. Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: Baron de Bode and His Capstan

By John Harland

The capstan patented in 1836 was designed to be used with a chain messenger by which the               passage of cable was not interrupted.  The Note also contains details of the de Bode family and their historic claim to restitution under the Treaty of Paris for the value of […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | French Revolution | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Ship Handling & Seamanship

A Crisis that Never Came: the Decline of the Antarctic Whaling Industry in the 1950s and 1960s

By Bjørn L. Basberg

The twentieth-century Antarctic whaling industry had from the beginning been led by Norwegian companies and companies from a few other nations with strong Norwegian ties, especially Britain. This article analyses the decline and final closure of this part of the industry in the 1950s and 1960s. The nations that had dominated the industry were then […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Antarctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Managing a Global Enterprise in the Eighteenth Century: Anthony Calvert of The Crescent, London, 1777–1808

By Gary Sturgess and Ken Cozens

Camden, Calvert & King, a major London shipping firm of the late eighteenth century, was one of the first medium-sized enterprises in Britain to operate on a global scale. They are well known to historians of the African slave trade and Australian convict transportation, but they also sent vessels to the Continent and the Americas, […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | East India Company | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Vessels and Networks: Shipowning in North-West England’s Coasting Trade in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

By Peter Skidmore

The article examines vessel ownership in the coasting trade of north-west England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Earlier work undertaken in the 1960s and 1970s identified differences in ownership patterns that were thought to have some social and economic significance. This work seeks to provide explanations for the differences by examining ownership […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines

‘A Practical Skill that was Without Equal’: Carsten Niebuhr and the Navigational Astronomy of the Arabian Journey, 1761–7

By Lawrence Baack

Carsten Niebuhr was the astronomer/cartographer for the Danish expedition to Arabia in 1761–7. He established the practicality of Tobias Mayer’s lunar distance method for determining longitude, which became the predominant basis for the determination of longitude in the last decades of the eighteenth century. Niebuhr was also a pioneer in the application of astronomy to […] Read More

Filed under: Mediterranean | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Biography | Science & Exploration

Obituary: Michael K. Stammers AMA FSA

By Campbell McMurray

Mike Stammers, who died in January 2013, will be best known as the first Keeper of Maritime History at Merseyside County Museums and from 1986 Keeper of Merseyside Maritime Museum. Mike also served on the Board of Trustees of NMM Cornwall, was a member of the original National Historic Ships Committee, and served on the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Note: Paucity of Shipwrights in Royal Naval Dockyards during the Second World War

By Frank E. King

This account details an attempt to improve the quality and number of shipwright apprenticeships during the second world war.  It details the numbers involved, the examination results obtained  by the candidates and reasons for the candidates choosing other trades.  It was written as the result of personal experience. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Note: Death of a Seaman: The murder trial of two master mariners

By iain Rodger

This account of the trial for murder of two master mariners who were involved in the drowning of a drunken cook is seen in the light of verdicts in other cases of insubordination in the merchant service. Read More

Filed under: Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: Some Clarifications But Yet More Questions Regarding the Early Days of the New Zealand Frozen-meat Trade

By Hugh Murphy and Derek J. Oddy

The authors revisit the work they did earlier on the business interests of Sir James Caird, and explore the published accounts of Turnbull, Martin & Co at the end of the nineteenth century.   Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

The Transition from Hemp to Chain Cable: Innovations and Innovators

By John Harland

The advent of chain cable in 1812 resulted in changes in the way ground tackle was handled by the Royal Navy. Ships had to be capable of handling both hemp and chain cable, and the capstan was fitted with sprockets to maintain grip on chains.  Devices to arrest the cable as it ran out were […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

‘A Place for Managing Government Chronometers’: Early Chronometer Service at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

By Yuto Ishibashi

This article analyses the early nineteenth-century formation of an institutional framework for the distribution of chronometers in the Royal Navy with particular emphasis on the role played by the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. In the early 1820s the observatory was transformed into a storehouse for the majority of government-owned timepieces. This article focuses on the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

Preservation by Shipwreck: the Memory of William Mackay

By Michael Titlestad

In 1795 an English East India Company country ship, the Juno, was wrecked in the Bay of Bengal. The buoyancy of her teak cargo arrested her sinking, and her 72 crew and passengers sought refuge in the rigging that protruded above the waves. Three years later her second mate, William Mackay, published his Narrative of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Turbulent Waters: Sea Raiding in Early Modern South East Asia

By Robert J. Anthony

Between 1500 and 1860 piracy in South East Asia was a multinational enterprise, involving European, American, Chinese, Japanese, and indigenous sea raiders. Although Western pirates occasionally made their way into South East Asian waters, they never posed as much of a threat to the prosperity and stability of the area as the buccaneers had done […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Pirates | Pacific | Other (location)
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

Note: Ships in Bottles and Their Origins in the Late Nineteenth Century

By Michael Stammers

The advent of machine-made bottles towards the end of the nineteenth century provided a stimulus for sailors, lighthouse keepers snd their ilk to show their dexterity. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

Note: The Shadwell Waterfront in the Eighteenth Century

By Derek Morris and Kenneth Cozens

London’s tax registers for the pre-1800 period are now available on line, and this note uses a case study of the Shadwell waterfront to reveal the information contained within them. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines

Note: Practical Assessment of the Accuracy of the Astrolabe

By Robin Knox-Johnston

Having been developed by the Arabs as a means of finding direction, the astrolabe and the attendant tables needed by the navigator were refined over the centuries until replaced by the backstaff Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (Early Modern) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

The Third Alan Villiers Memorial Lecture 2013: The Naval War of 1812 in International Perspective

By John Hattendorf

The lecture provided an overview of scholarship as it stood as bicentenary celebrations were just beginning in 2012. At that point there remained a notable difference between American, British and Canadian historical interpretations about why this war was fought, what the effects were of military and naval operations, and to what extent such operations affected […] Read More

Filed under: War of 1812
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Strategy & Diplomacy

From Cannon to Steam Propulsion: the Origins of Clyde Marine Engineering

By Michael Moss

This article revisits the origins of the Clyde’s marine engineering works’ contribution to steam propulsion, much of which has previously relied upon hagiographical accounts from contemporaries such as Robert and David Napier. It highlights the role of the Board of Ordnance during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in expanding its private sector suppliers of […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Science & Exploration | Weapons

Othello, ‘Turn[ing] Turks’ and Cornelis de Bruyn’s Copperplate of the Ottoman Port of Famagusta in the Seventeenth Century

By Michael J.K. Walsh

Cornelis de Bruyn’s copperplate engraving of Famagusta, Cyprus, reproduced in Reizen van Cornelis de Bruyn door de vermaardste Deelen van Klein Asia (Delft, 1698) may at first sight seem unremarkable. Upon closer inspection, however, it offers some valuable insights into, and raises some important questions about, the Ottoman port of Famagusta and its relationship with the ‘West’. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Harbours & Dockyards

Sea Travel at the End of the Middle Ages Based on the Account of the Embassy to Spain and Portugal given by Roger Machado (1489)

By Michel Bochaca

This article assesses the journal of Roger Machado, Richmond Herald to King Henry VII, who journeyed on a diplomatic mission by sea from Southampton via Plymouth and Falmouth to Spain and Portugal to meet the Catholic Monarchs, and returned six months later landing in Padstow, Cornwall. Machado’s journal is one of the few late fifteenth-century […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | English Channel
Subjects include: Biography | Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship

Depiction of Indo-Arabic Ships on an Eighteenth-century Sea Chart

By Norbert Weismann

A sea chart of the Red Sea, which was probably drawn up around the early to mid- eighteenth century in India and given to the Royal Geographical Society in 1835 by Burnes, shows 25 depictions of ships. The age of the sea chart was determined in different ways. These depictions of ships were examined for […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Working a Bristol Channel Trading Ketch around 1950

By Peter Thomson

These are the recollections of a mariner who worked in a trading ketch until it was impossible to get either crew or cargo. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines

Note: ‘A Difficult Peson to tackle’: Admiral of the Fleet Sir Gerard Noel

By Richard Hill

The discovery of additional papers belonging to Sir Gerard Noel has brought to light some details which he might have wished to suppress at the height of the controversy at the end of his serving career.  Ranging from the period during which he was a junior sea lord to the China station, and then to […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Biography | Weapons

Obituary: John Munday MA FSA

By Pieter van der Merwe

John Munday, who died in April 2012, was Honorary Secretary of the Society from 1979 to 1984 and subsequently became one of its Hon. Vice-Presidents. His whole career was spent at the National Maritime Museum, starting in 1951 and retiring in 1984. Commencing as Assistant Keeper and Librarian he rose through the ranks and ended […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Austin Farrar Memorial Article 2012: Technology and the Four-masted Commercial Sailing Ship 1875-1950

By Frank Scott

Four-masted barques were the workhorses of the last days of commercial sail. This article considers how different they were from their predecessors, and how their development included a final boom in square rig shipbuilding. It also discusses the degree to which they benefited, or not, from technical developments in the maritime world. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Unravelling the Mystery of the Comet Engine

By Martin Bellamy

The Comet was the first commercial steamship in Europe, and this gives the evidence for the engine used. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: in Search of a Ship? Identifying the vessel in Harriet Martineau’s A Month at Sea

By Charles Dawson

The transatlantic voyage in a sailing packet described by Martineau in her autobiography took place in  a ship with a fictitious name, the identity of which is established through clues in the text. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

Note: The Hong Kong Maritime Museum: New premises for its seventh anniversary

By Stephen Davies

The new permanent location of this Museum is in the centre of Hong Kong’s historic Victoria Harbour. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Note: Brixham Trawlers

By Peter Thomson

The conversion of the Brixham Trawler fleet from cutter to ketch rig, and their ultimate sale to Scandinavia. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Far from the Water’s Edge: Hayes Boatyard, an inland boatyard in England

By Alison Leighton

The Hayes Boatyard was developed as a result of a powerful father-and-son partnership in the very heart of England. From making agricultural machinery, the innovative engineers diversified into steam powered ship building. They took advantage of a small canal, leading to the Grand Junction Canal, which gave access to the sea. They built vessels destined […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Unravelling the Mystery of the Comet Engine

By Martin Bellamy

The succession of engines fitted to the first commercial steamship in Europe. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Eyewitness Images of Buccaneers and their Vessels

By Benerson Little

This article describes and discusses several eyewitness illustrations of buccaneers (flibustiers) created by cartographers who made maps and charts of French Caribbean ports during the 1680s. The illustrations are highly detailed and provide new information regarding the appearance and arms of these famous sea rovers, as well as of at least one of their vessels. […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Caribbean
Subjects include: Art & Music | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Fate of Louise: a Maine-built ‘down-easter’ at Grytviken Harbor, South Georgia Island

By Charles Lagerbom

Located in a tiny harbour of Cumberland Bay, South Georgia Island is one of the last remaining examples of a Maine-built ‘down-easter’. The barque, burnt to the waterline with one of her steel masts lying haphazardly across her remains, is what is left of the Louise. While not much remains now, Louise was one of the first vessels involved […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Merchant Marines | Whaling & Fishing

The Oar System of the Venetian Quinquereme

By Joseph Eliav

Hardly a book or article on early-modern naval matters fails to address the Venetian quinquereme built by Vettore Fausto in 1526–9. Yet the design of that ship and particularly the design of her unique five-man oar system have remained an enigma, which this article aspires to resolve. After showing that a five-man system based on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Manpower & Life at Sea | Shipbuilding & Design

Obituary: Michael P. J. Garvey FCA

By Hugh Murphy

Peter Garvey, who died in March 2012, was the long-serving Company and Membership Secretary of the Society for Nautical Research. His role was both time-consuming and hugely important. He gained enormous pleasure from the interaction with the members and Officers of the Society and as the first contact for members and prospective members he ably […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Obituary: Brian H. Patterson

By Hugh Murphy

Brian Patterson, who died in 2012, was Curator and Keeper of Historic Boats at the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust. He was largely responsible for their restoration and for building up the collection of Royal Naval service craft. Besides being a long standing member of the Society, Brian was an active member of the Small […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

A Winter in Yalong Bay

By Stephen Davies

In December 1784 the two ships of the last voyage of the Swedish East India Company’s Third Charter wintered in Yalong Bay on the south coast of Hainan Island, China. This was an unusual event and someone in one of the ships involved, the Gustaf Adolph, chose to commemorate the experience with a variety of China […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific | East India Company
Subjects include: Art & Music | Merchant Marines

Note: Sir James Caird’s Bust: a tale of three heads

By Pieter van der Merwe

The story behind the marble and stone busts of Sir James Caird. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Note: The Effect of Catharpings on Shroud Tension and Mast Displacement

By Bob Cann

A discussion, with illustrations Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Speculating Gig Boats, ‘Shilling Sickers’ and Riggers: a Social History of Mersey Watermen

By Michael Stammers

Watermen in small boats performed a range of functions in ports and anchorages both large and small around the British Isles. They acted as tenders, berthed and moved ships, carried crews, passengers and luggage and helped in salvage work. There has been a great deal of research on port labour but this has concentrated on […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

A Ludicrous Travesty? James R. Napier and the Lancefield

By Martin Bellamy

When James R. Napier’s shipyard failed in 1861 he was left with the small steamer Lancefield, which he had built to a novel design on his own account. After failing to find a buyer he established a marginally profitable service from Ardrossan to Belfast, but came up against the might of the Glasgow & South Western […] Read More

Filed under: Irish Sea | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Nostalgia and Imagination in Nineteenth-century Sea Shanties

By Kelby Rose

Shanties were an everyday feature in the lives of nineteenth-century merchant sailors. In their primary function, shanties were used to co-ordinate the heavy physical labour of a group of seamen required to handle a sailing ship effectively. The lyrics of shanties, however, reveal a secondary use of the songs—collective nostalgic expression. Through a thematic analysis, […] Read More

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

Repair Records of the Eighteenth-century Navy: the Missing Data

By Barrington Rosier

The Admiralty Progress Books provide the historian with a near continuous record of the building, repair and maintenance of Royal Navy ships over a period of more than two centuries, from around 1700 to 1912. This article analyses information on repairs from the Progress Books that cover the eighteenth century, including discussion of the data […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Navies

Note: The Sale Steamboat Company Ltd, Sale, Victoria 1890-1928

By Colin Jones

This examines the economics of operating a steamboat company to an inland town on the Australian coast. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Whaling & Fishing

Note: Beer Luggers

By Peter Thomson

This brief note continues the explanation begun in MM May 1999 of the luggers operating out of Beer. They used power for trawling and so used larger boats. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

Note: Davy Jones’s Locker by W. L. Wyllie, RA: a new addition to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, supported by the Macpherson Collection Endowment Fund of the SNR

By Roger Quarm

This examines the picture, bought for the NMM by the Society, and the wide ranging interests of the artist. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Note: The Effect of Cartharpings on Shroud Tension and Mast Displacement

By Bob Cann

This note develops the description of catharpings given in MM August 2009 by John Harland, examining the effects on models of the tension and mast displacement. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: The Marine Engine Output of Fenton, Murray & Co, Leeds, 1795-1844

By Paul Murray Thompson

The history of the marine engine component of this textile production firm reveals that for a time they were serious contenders in rivalry with Boulton & Watt steam engines.  Having provided engines for marine use from 1813, these were used in the Mediterranean until 1842. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Shipbuilding & Design

Obituary: Ole Crumlin-Pedersen

By Hugh Murphy

Ole Crumlin-Pederson, who died in October 2011, was the founder of the Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, and director of its Centre for Maritime Archaeology. He made a huge contribution to Danish and wider maritime archaeology and his impressive research achievements in this field were widely recognized. In Roskilde, in addition to recovering five eleventh-century Viking […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

Importing Nautical Knowledge: Nineteenth-century Specialized Journalism in Spain

By Itsaso Ibáñez, Luis-María Fernández-Martínez & Esperanza Díaz

In Spain, the advancement of science in the nineteenth century was hindered by political instability within the country. Very little domestic scientific production took place, and even less was done to keep abreast of the advances taking place abroad. In scientific and technical disciplines, knowledge transfer occurs primarily through specialized journals, whose readers may effectively […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

Miniature Ships in Designed Landscapes

By Alistair Roach

Miniature sailing ships were seen on lakes in a number of English parks and gardens during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and were often used for mock naval battles (naumachia), but were also sailed purely for pleasure, or perhaps to provide a focal point within the estate. Between 1689 and 1815 Britain was involved in […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

Social Politics and the Midshipmen’s Mutiny, Portsmouth 1791

By S. A. Cavell

In 1791 Thomas Leonard, a midshipman assigned to duty aboard HMS Saturn, refused to subject himself to the masthead punishment ordered by his First Lieutenant and triggered a series of events that came to be known as the Midshipmen’s Mutiny. The incident involved the young gentlemen of the Channel Fleet and made visible a break […] Read More

Filed under: English Channel | Mutiny & Discipline | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies

The Jade Dragon Wreck: Sabah, East Malaysia

By Michael Flecker

A shipwreck was recently discovered by fishermen divers just off the northernmost tip of Borneo. While it was heavily looted in the space of a couple of months, an official excavation has resulted in some important discoveries. The ship, dated to about 1300 AD, was of the South East Asian lashed-lug tradition and the ceramics […] Read More

Filed under: High Middle Ages | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

The Society Annual Lecture 2011 HMS Trincomalee (1817): a Frigate spanning three centuries, also known as TS Foudroyant from 1902 to 1989

By David Smith OBE FNI RN

The lecture covers the complex history of the 38-gun Fifth Rate frigate Trincomalee over nearly 200 years in which her varied career and service to the nation, whether in naval or civilian use, has been brought into focus. Those who wish to read her full story and access technical details and references will find them […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | North Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: A Teenage Mariner’s War: 1940–45

By Archie Munro

This account of the convoys to Malta was told to the author by Arthur Young who was at the time a teenaged indentured apprentice in the Clan Line.  He experienced the bombing raids which accompanied ten passages to and from Malta.  Young went on to experience the war at sea in different oceans. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines

Note: Cooking aboard Merchant Ships in the Classical World

By Derek Irwin

This detailed account of cooking facilities used aboard merchant ships in the classical world  uses archeological as well as literary evidence to support the argument that food was both carried and prepared on board during overnight passages in the Mediterranean. Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics | Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Manpower & Life at Sea

The Austin Farrar Memorial Article 2011: Documentation of Working Sailing Craft in the British Isles in the 1930s

By P.A.B. Thomson

This lecture documented the disappearance of working sailing vessels from the 1920s onwards. Acknowledgement of this prompted Frank Carr to publish the survey Vanishing Craft, and to involve the SNR in undertaking detailed documentation of the disappearing world. The quick response by the Society and a research fund brought 160 plans, but once the fund […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

Parliamentary Politics and the Singapore Base: a Surplus of Opinions and Few Answers, 1918–29

By Raymond W. Westphal Jr

At the close of the First World War, the British government continued to examine how to defend an empire that spanned the globe. This challenge was compounded by a number of debt-conscious members of the House of Commons and post-war governments who were eager to reduce defence spending. Thus the challenge for the Royal Navy […] Read More

Filed under: Interwar | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Miscellaneous

Note: The Explosion of the Fort Stikine, Bombay, 14 April 1944

By Derek Ings

An eyewitness account of the explosion which took place while the highly explosive cargo was being unloaded from Fort Stikine in Bombay. Read More

Filed under: WW2 | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Merchant Marines | Weapons

William Campbell and the Harrington: Privateering in Chilean Waters in 1804

By Michael Ellery & Philip Gidley King

An account of the seizure of the San Francisco de Paula and Extremeña from Chilean ports by the armed merchant snow Harrington, Captain William Campbell, in 1804. Britain and Spain were not then at war and on the arrival of all three vessels off the Australian coast in March 1805 they were detained by Governor Philip Gidley King pending instructions […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

British Seapower and the Mysore Wars of the Eighteenth Century

By Philip Macdougall

The naval aspirations of Hyder Ali (1760–82) and Tipu Sultan (1782–99), rulers of the southern Indian state of Mysore, is a much neglected subject. In creating a naval force, that clearly emulated those of the European nations, it was seen as a means of first neutralizing the power of the British before being ultimately used […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

Note: Anchor-painter, Bow-painter: Etymology

By William Sayers

This discusses the origin of the word ‘painter’ as opposed to shrouds or other ropes. Read More

Filed under: Medieval | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Handling & Seamanship

Some Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century French Trials of Square-rigged Warships Tacking

By Patrice Decencière

There are but a few insights of how sailing ships really behaved when tacked, though many factors might affect the time to complete the manoeuvre. This article is concerned with French tacking trials of square-rigged warships in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and introduces data on comparative performance. Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Navies | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Documentation of Working Sailing Craft in the British Isles in the 1930s

By P.A.B. Thomson

This lecture describes the role of the Society in the project to document working smiling craft on the British Isles during the early decades of the twentieth century. Read More

Filed under: English Channel | North Sea | Irish Sea | Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Leisure & Small Craft | Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design | Whaling & Fishing

Obituary: Lt Cdr Thomas F. (Tom) Peppitt RD RNR

By John Bingeman and Keith Chittenden

Tom Peppitt, who died in 2011, was an active member of the Small Craft Committee (SCC), later the Heritage Craft Committee (HCC). Shortly after joining the SCC he became its Secretary and in 2008 edited the Heritage Craft Committee Newsletter. Much of his career was spent at sea and having spent two years in the […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography

The Basis for South Korea’s Ascent in the Shipbuilding Industry, 1970–1990

By Lars Bruno & Stig Tenold

The last 50 years have seen a dramatic shift in the hegemony of the shipbuilding industry. Today more than 90 per cent of the world’s newbuilding orders have been placed at yards in South Korea, China and Japan. South Korea emerged as a major shipbuilding nation in the period from 1970 to the late 1980s, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Shipbuilding & Design

‘Hit Hard, Move Fast and Sustain Action’: the Replacement of the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Warfare Squadron and the Rationale for HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid

By Ian Speller

This article examines the circumstances in which the old ships and craft of the post-1945 Royal Navy’s Amphibious Warfare Squadron were replaced by the new assault ships HMS Fearless and Intrepid. It analyses the impact on the requirement for amphibious forces of the change in emphasis in the late 1950s from major war contingencies to a new focus on […] Read More

Filed under: Post WW2 | Other (location)
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy | Weapons

Entirely the Most Absurd and False Narrative that was ever Deliver’d to the Publick’: an Inquiry into what Really Happened on George Shelvocke’s Privateering Voyage

By Tim Beattie

It has been generally agreed that the two contemporary published accounts of the privateering expedition undertaken in 1719 by John Clipperton and George Shelvocke are thoroughly unreliable and the writers, in the words of O. K. Spate, ‘hard liars both’. Recent studies, by Glyndwr Williams (1997), Philip Edwards (1994) and Jonathan Lamb (2001 and 2004) […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C) | Indian Ocean | Pacific
Subjects include: Administration | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

The Rio Pongo Crisis of 1820 and the Search for a Strategy for the Anti-Slavery Squadron off West Africa

By Bruce L. Mouser

This article focuses upon the conundrums faced in 1820 by an officer of the Anti-Slavery Squadron and by a slave trader resident upon the African coast, neither of whom was certain of the rules of engagement or what might be expected from the other. In this case, forces allied with the slave trader fired upon […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Strategy & Diplomacy

The Pechili Trader: a Hull Lines Plan

By Michael Trimming

This article is concerned with the submittal of an original hull lines plan, extracted from reliable contemporary evidence, and primarily based on an outstanding scale model of an authentic traditional Northern China sea-going sailing trading junk: the Pechili (Kiangsu) Trader. It addresses specific challenges to the naval architect from established scholars of Chinese junks. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Merchant Marines | Shipbuilding & Design

Note: Quay Voices in Glasgow Museums: An oral history of Glasgow dock workers

By David Walker

An insight into the lives of those who worked in  Glasgow docks, from their own accounts. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Internal Waterways
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

Note: The Loss of the MV Dara 8 April 1961

By Robin Knox-Johnston

An account of the loss by fire after an explosion of the MV Dara. Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Merchant Marines

Note: Patent Topgallant and Topmast Fids

By John Harland

A re-visitation of the subject first authoritatively described 30 years ago, in the light of newly available contemporary texts. Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

Le Corsaire idéal: the Life of Dublin Mariner Patrick Dowlin, c. 1756–96

By Seán T. Rickard

This article assesses the little-known or documented history of Irish bucker,2 American privateer and French naval officer Patrick Dowlin, encompassing the period of the American War of Independence. It also provides information regarding Dowlin’s closest compatriots and describes several ruses used by smugglers, privateers and their armateurs at sea or ashore in achieving their goals. […] Read More

Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Irish Sea | Pirates | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

‘This Great Complex Concern’: Victualling the Royal Navy on the East Indies Station, 1780–1815

By Martin Wilcox

The East Indies station was the largest and most challenging area in which the Royal Navy operated during the long eighteenth century. Although operations on the station are well understood, its administration has until recently been the subject of little research. This article, which builds upon work by the author on the victualling of the […] Read More

Filed under: Napoleonic War | French Revolution | Indian Ocean | East India Company
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics

The First Alan Villiers Memorial Lecture: Naval Capability in the Early Modern Period: An introduction

By Jeremy Black

This lecture focuses on the geopolitical consequences of Portuguese entry into the Indian Ocean, the most significant instance of a major change in naval capability in this period. Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Indian Ocean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Merchant Marines | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy