in From Jack Tar to Union Jack
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Characterisations of Victorian naval manhood imparted the virtues of the imperial manly ideal, valorising discipline, duty and a moral Christian ethos. The rhetoric of naval manhood was reconstructed in part because older images of it were irreconcilable with the demands of empire. Although the First World War was not a naval war, representations of naval manhood responded to and served the war effort, even if in contradictory ways. Celebrations of Jack Cornwell's heroism, forged in the naval battle of Jutland, helped to revive an older vision of manliness defined by duty, discipline and sacrifice in the face of the war's challenge to masculinity. Countless claims to the educational improvement of the naval ratings served as the basis from which the emergent lower-deck reform movement appealed to the Admiralty to improve personnel conditions in the early twentieth century.

From Jack Tar to Union Jack

Representing naval manhood in the British Empire, 1870–1918


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