I make no apologies for choosing the same subject matter, the Royal Navy, for all the titles in this Selection. As a former officer and before that, artificer, much of my value system and sense of duty has been shaped by my time in the Service and I have an abiding interest in both the Old and the New Navy. These three books deal with different aspects, from the memoirs of a vice admiral who joined when Britain really did rule the waves to an overview of the period of the war against revolutionary France 1793-1800 to the role of the Navy in the Scandinavian trade in the First World War. I commend them to all those interested in our naval history.
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The Royal Navy 1793-1800 by Mark Jessop
When France declared war on Britain in 1793 the Royal Navy barely had enough ships to cope. But eight years later she could claim to be a naval superpower. Author Mark Jessop, who himself served in the Royal Navy, seeks to show how this transformation actually occurred. Using primary sources of the era and secondary sources from the nineteenth century he gives a flavour of the language and opinions of politicians, naval officers and ordinary people swept up in the tumultuous storm of the last years of the the eighteenth century.
With the Royal Navy in War and Peace by Vice Admiral B B Schofield
Brian Betham Schofield served in the Royal Navy for forty-two years, joining in 1908 as a midshipman and retiring in 1950 with the rank of Vice Admiral. His long and varied career included diplomatic and well as command roles, with action in several theatres of war. In retirement he wrote numerous articles and books on naval history. This memoir, written in a graphic yet modest style, is a fascinating insight into a bygone era. The book is fittingly edited by his daughter Victoria, an historian and commentator.
Southern Thunder by Steve R Dunn
A detailed and compelling account of the Royal Navy’s hard-fought campaign in the North Sea to protect Britain’s vital Scandinavian supply lines and deny Germany the food and raw materials that she so badly needed. It is the story of destroyers and U-boats, critical merchant ship losses, the commencement of convoy, and the acute consequences for Germany of the Royal Navy’s ultimate success. First-hand accounts of the fighting from those who took part help create a vivid narrative of this little-known and often ignored aspect of our naval history.
Still looking for bookish inspiration?
You might also like to take a peek at my other BookPicks this year this year
And I have a very limited number of Signed First Editions, which I’m happy to inscribe with a personal message
Jules don’t ever apologise for being a member of the armed forces. Lots of us served me in the Royal Australian Navy like yourself and I make no apologies to any one for my service to my country. Keep up the good work telling us about these books and your own they are a great read.