Lessons in manhood
Boyhood, duty and war
in From Jack Tar to Union Jack
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This chapter offers a case study that delves into the life and death of one boy sailor in order to illuminate how a new egalitarian vision of manhood was best expressed through a naval example. In the midst of First World War uncertainties, the worries about delinquency led to general concerns about the state of British youth and British boyhood. Jack Cornwell's death presented educational authorities with the opportunity to extol the heroic conduct of Cornwell as a model of boyhood. The funeral service intended to serve as testament to Cornwell's heroic act and celebrated duty, obedience and sacrifice. Among the prominent extra-parliamentary and civic efforts to commemorate Cornwell's life were those of the Navy League and the Boy Scouts. The Cornwell Memorial Fund offered an opportunity to spark children's interest not only in the heroic Jack Cornwell but also in patriotism and the strategic importance of the British Navy.

From Jack Tar to Union Jack

Representing naval manhood in the British Empire, 1870–1918


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