Naval scares, imperial anxieties and naval manhood
Mary A. Conley
Although Britain’s national
identity had long been defined by its position as an island nation, its
relationship to the sea, and its reliance on the navy, British and
imperial identities became even more sharply attached to Britain’s
naval heritage during the Age of Empire. The Royal Navy remained central
to this new phase of imperial conquest that witnessed the expansion of
The Royal Navy’s image problem in War Illustrated magazine
‘What is the British Navy doing?’
‘What is the British Navy doing?’
The Royal Navy’s image problem in
War Illustrated magazine
This chapter examines the representation of the Royal Navy in the
popular British publication War Illustrated, a weekly magazine published
throughout the First World War. The magazine was in its own words
‘a weekly picture-record of events by land, sea and air’, incorporating
maps, photographs and illustrations and the work of war artists alongside
weekly reporting, editorials and informed commentary on the events
problem of the highest order, with which few men could deal, but fortunately the
scientific was by far the strongest side of the committee, which comprised the
name of Sir William Thomson, Dr. Woolley, Professor Rankine, and Mr. Froude.
Engineering emphasises the scientific nature of the
design problems facing the Royal Navy.2
On 12 July 1871 the latest addition to the Royal Navy was launched at
Portsmouth. The usual launch ceremony drew the local population to cast
their eyes over a most unusual specimen of naval architecture. The popular
press understood HMS
On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in
Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French
fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth
centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is
undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim
of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting
deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the
incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances
that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.
The later nineteenth century was a time of regulation and codification, which was part of the Victorian search for reliability and respectability. This book examines the intersection between empire, navy, and manhood in British society from 1870 to 1918. It sheds light upon social and cultural constructions of working-class rather than elite masculinities by focusing on portrayals of non-commissioned naval men, the 'lower deck', rather than naval officers. Through an analysis of sources that include courts-martial cases, sailors' own writings, and the HMS Pinafore, the book charts new depictions of naval manhood during the Age of Empire. It was a period of radical transformation of the navy, intensification of imperial competition, democratisation of British society, and advent of mass culture. The book argues that popular representations of naval men increasingly reflected and informed imperial masculine ideals in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. It explains how imperial challenges, technological changes and domestic pressures transformed the navy and naval service from the wake of the Crimean War to the First World War. How female-run naval philanthropic organisations domesticated the reputation of naval men by refashioning the imagery of the drunken debauched sailor through temperance and evangelical campaigns is explained. The naval temperance movement was not singular in revealing the clear class dimensions in the portrayal of naval manhood. The book unveils how the British Bluejacket as both patriotic defender and dutiful husband and father stood in sharp contrast to the stereotypic image of the brave but bawdy tar of the Georgian navy.
A New Naval History brings together the most significant and interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary naval history. The last few decades have witnessed a transformation in how this topic is researched and understood, and this volume captures the state of a field that continues to develop apace. It examines – through the prism of naval affairs – issues of nationhood and imperialism; the legacy of Nelson; the sociocultural realities of life in ships and naval bases; and the processes of commemoration, journalism and stage-managed pageantry that plotted the interrelationship of ship and shore. This bold and original publication will be essential for undergraduate and postgraduate students of naval and maritime history. Beyond that, though, it marks an important intervention into wider historiographies that will be read by scholars from across the spectrum of social history, cultural studies and the analysis of national identity.
This book provides a broad account of the nineteenth-century cult of King Alfred. It reveals the rich cultural interest of the corpus of texts as a whole. The book redresses a misleading modern emphasis on Arthur and the Victorians, and addresses a genuine gap in the current literature on nineteenth-century medievalism. The book focuses on what was probably the apex of Victorian Alfredianism. It provides the background to this event both in terms of the wider cultural movements and in the sense of the Alfredian tradition which the nineteenth century inherited. The intersection of the cult of Alfred with nineteenth-century British politics is considered in the book, which focuses upon the role that Alfredianism played in debate about the future of the monarchy. The book speculates how the Saxon king was enlisted to vindicate and ennoble those institutions of which Victorian Britain was most proud - notably its navy, law-code, constitution and empire. It examines the conceptions of ninth-century Wessex as a time of immense cultural change - the mirror-image of the nineteenth century - and reviews Victorian appropriations of Alfred's reign as a prestigious starting point for myths of national progress. The book further focuses upon more domestic narratives - the use of Alfred, by Victorian authors, to exemplify moral values, and the rewriting of his life as a parable of error and redemption. Finally, the crucial question of Alfred's decline in fame is addressed in the book, which surveys the diminished interest in the Saxon king after 1901.
Medicine was transformed in the eighteenth century. Aligning the trajectories of intellectual and material wealth, this book uncovers how medicine acquired a new materialism as well as new materials in the context of global commerce and warfare. It studies the expansion of medicine as it acquired new materials and methods in an age of discovery and shows how eighteenth-century therapeutics encapsulates the intellectual and material resources of conquest. Bringing together a wide range of sources, the book argues that the intellectual developments in European medicine were inextricably linked to histories of conquest, colonisation and the establishment of colonial institutions. Medicine in the eighteenth-century colonies was shaped by the two main products of European mercantilism: minerals and spices. Forts and hospitals were often established as the first signs of British settlement in enemy territories, like the one in Navy Island. The shifting fortunes on the Coromandel Coast over the eighteenth century saw the decline of traditional ports like Masulipatnam and the emergence of Madras as the centre of British trade. The book also explores the emergence of materia medica and medical botany at confluence of the intellectual, spiritual and material quests. Three different forms of medical knowledge acquired by the British in the colonies: plants (columba roots and Swietenia febrifuga), natural objects and indigenous medical preparations (Tanjore pills). The book examines the texts, plants, minerals, colonial hospitals, dispensatories and the works of surgeons, missionaries and travellers to demonstrate that these were shaped by the material constitution of eighteenth century European colonialism.
While most of the Germans who suffered expulsion during the First World War lived within British shores, the Royal Navy brought Germans from throughout the world to face incarceration in the their network of camp. This book offers a new interpretation of global migration from the early nineteenth until the early twentieth century. It examines the elite German migrants who progressed to India, especially missionaries, scholars and scientists, businessmen and travellers. The book investigates the reasons for the migration of Germans to India. An examination of the realities of German existence in India follows. It then examines the complex identities of the Germans in India in the century before the First World War. The role of the role of racism, orientalism and Christianity is discussed. The stereotypes that emerged from travelogues include: an admiration of Indian landscapes; contempt for Hinduism; criticism of the plight of women; and repulsion at cityscapes. The book moves to focus upon the transformation which took place as a result of this conflict, mirroring the plight of Germans in other parts of the world. The marginalisation which took place in 1920 closely mirrored the plight of the German communities throughout the British Empire. The unique aspect of the experience in India consisted of the birth of a national identity. Finally, the book places the experience of the Germans in India into four contexts: the global history of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; German history; history of the British Empire in India; and Indian history.
Royal tours of the 1800s and early 1900s, and since, have created much documentation, perhaps the most obvious record contained in newspapers and magazines, newsreels and then radio and television broadcasts. Tours expressed and promoted royal and imperial authority, though in some instances they revealed resistance against expansionist designs. The royal visitor was the central actor in a tour, but was surrounded by an entourage of other people and a store of paraphernalia that played essential roles. This book examines how presentation is managed when ambassadors are sent in place of the royal personage. Sultan Alauddin of Aceh mounted a royal tour by proxy in which he was embodied - and concealed - in his gifts and in the humbler persons of his placeholders. Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh, provided a template for later royal tours in three ways. First, he pioneered a new relationship with the Royal Navy as a training institution for British princes. Second, his lengthy visits paved the way for similarly ambitious global tours. Alfred's tours cultivated a range of trusted support staff. Imperial citizenship and even Britishness were embraced by non- English and non- British subjects of the queen. One young prince who was present in Britain at some of the most glittering events was Thakur Sahib Bhagvatsinh, a Rajput who ruled Gondal. The book also discusses Kaiser Wilhelm II's tour, King Sisowath and Emperor Khai Dinh's tour to France, the Portuguese crown prince's tour of Africa, and tours during Smuts's Raj.