Imperial challenges and the modernisation of the fleet
in From Jack Tar to Union Jack
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This chapter argues that Victorian naval reforms forced the navy to improve lower-deck conditions in order to recruit more men. It explains how and why the navy expanded in the nineteenth century, and then how this expansion affected manpower and personnel reforms. As the responsibilities of the navy had broadened in the forty years after the Napoleonic Wars, technological advances made the modernisation of the British fleet possible. The chapter focuses upon the passage of the Continuous Service Act, which effectively introduced a standing navy, the challenges of raising and meeting manning levels by recruiting from the merchant marine, and the training of boys for service. Public celebrations of the navy increased amidst the imperial and domestic challenges of the new Edwardian age. It examines the rationale and development of lower-deck reforms in pay, pensions and promotions over the course of the late-Victorian and Edwardian period.

From Jack Tar to Union Jack

Representing naval manhood in the British Empire, 1870–1918

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