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The British Sailor of the First World War (Shire Library)

by Quintin Colville

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In 1914 Great Britain had the largest and most powerful navy the world had ever seen - a well-known fact, but what of the everyday experience of those who served in her? This fully illustrated book looks at the British sailor's life during the First World War, from the Falkland Islands to the East African coast to the North Sea. Meals in the stokers' mess and the admiral's cabin; the claustrophobic terrors of the engine room or submarine; the long separations from loved ones that were the shared experience of all ranks; the perils faced by Royal Naval Air Service pilots in the air; the possessions treasured by sailors while at sea - drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished materials from the National Maritime Museum archives, this is an authoritative and vivid account of lives lived in quite extraordinary circumstances.… (more)
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Like its sister volume, albeit by a different author, this too is an excellent little book and profusely illustrated (many are the excellent works of the marine artist William L Wyllie). Life in the Royal Navy was not a comfortable existence in peacetime one hundred years ago but it was even more uncomfortable during the First World War and this book gives a good picture of that discomfort - it makes my naval career, in the last 22 years of the Cold War, seem pretty easy! Mistakes I can recall are (a) the photograph of Dame Katharine Furse is back to front (page 64) - it's the right way round in Shire Publication 828, about the WRNS (page 7) - and (b) modern authors tend, wrongly, to call a ship's company "a crew" - ship's boats have a crew, a warship has a ship's company - and (c) not describing knighted admirals as 'Sir'. One admiral who is styled with his knighthood is named incorrectly - Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee is how the victor of the Battle of the Falkland Islands (1914) is known. There are some silly mistakes in the index, ( )
  lestermay | Dec 12, 2022 |
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In 1914 Great Britain had the largest and most powerful navy the world had ever seen - a well-known fact, but what of the everyday experience of those who served in her? This fully illustrated book looks at the British sailor's life during the First World War, from the Falkland Islands to the East African coast to the North Sea. Meals in the stokers' mess and the admiral's cabin; the claustrophobic terrors of the engine room or submarine; the long separations from loved ones that were the shared experience of all ranks; the perils faced by Royal Naval Air Service pilots in the air; the possessions treasured by sailors while at sea - drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished materials from the National Maritime Museum archives, this is an authoritative and vivid account of lives lived in quite extraordinary circumstances.

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