During the Second World War, over 9,000 men from several colonies, protectorates and mandate territories fought for the British Empire. These forces represented a significant shift in naval policy towards the recruitment of colonial manpower at a time of distinct pressures on British imperialism. This book examines the impact of colonial naval forces, by analyzing the 'official' and 'subaltern' sources in the United Kingdom, the Caribbean, East Africa, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. The Trinidad Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (TRNVR) was formed to defend the island's oil supply to British oil-fired ships. The book also looks at the experience of the Cayman Islanders who volunteered to serve in the TRNVR. An East African case study focuses on Kenya and Zanzibar before and after the Second World War. The Kenya Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (KRNVR) was the first colonial naval force in the British Empire; local naval forces were also formed in Zanzibar and Tanganyika. In the analysis of Southeast Asia and the Malacca Straits, the book discusses, inter alia, origins of Malaya's naval forces, and analyses the issues of force expansion and 'Malaysianisation' during the Malayan Emergency and decolonisation. There was an initial reluctance on the Navy to recruit the Chinese, but with their overwhelming majority in Hong Kong, their enlistment in the Hong Kong Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (HKRNVR) was unavoidable. The post-war evolution of Hong Kong's naval force as it adjusted to the roles of Communist China's emergence and Britain's declining world are also examined.

Between 1850 and 1913, the navy almost quadrupled in size, from 39,000 to 146,000 men. British naval expansion during the late nineteenth century resulted from a variety of developments – diplomatic tensions, naval scares, imperial uncertainties, internal domestic pressures and new technologies – which forced the navy to modernise its ships and to professionalise its men

in From Jack Tar to Union Jack

Naval heroism in the mid-Victorian family magazine v 8 v Naval heroism in the mid-Victorian family magazine Barbara Korte If the history of Britain can be seen through the prism of its navy, the history of the Royal Navy can be viewed through the prism of the heroic. Such a view is particularly informative regarding relations between the navy and the nation because heroes and heroisms are constructs through which communities negotiate their identities and their defining ideals and values. Heroes are, as Geoffrey Cubitt notes, ‘endowed by others … with a

in A new naval history
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Warrant officers in the Royal Navy, 1775–1815

Particular skills v 1 v Particular skills: warrant officers in the Royal Navy, 1775–1815 Evan Wilson Warrant officers are the forgotten men of the Georgian navy. Above them, commissioned officers have received substantial historical attention, beginning with, but not limited to, the ever-increasing biographies of Nelson.1 Below them, the lower deck has come under growing scrutiny, much of it focused on the question of impressment.2 Warrant officers of wardroom rank, on the other hand, have only been studied in fits and starts. These men – the master, the

in A new naval history
Experiencing and imagining the military in the long nineteenth century

This collection explores the role of martial masculinities in shaping nineteenth-century British culture and society in a period framed by two of the greatest wars the world had ever known and punctuated by many smaller conflicts. Bringing together contributions from a diverse range of leading scholars, it offers fresh, interdisciplinary perspectives on an emerging field of study. Chapters in this volume draw on historical, literary, visual and musical sources to demonstrate the centrality of the military and its masculine dimensions in the shaping of Victorian and Edwardian personal and national identities. Focusing on both the experience of military service and its imaginative forms, it examines such topics as bodies and habits, families and domesticity, heroism and chivalry, religion and militarism, and youth and fantasy. The collection is divided into two sections: ‘experiencing’ and ‘imagining’ military masculinities. This division represents the two principal areas of investigation for scholars working in this field. The section on experience considers the realities of military life in this period, and asks to what extent they produced a particular kind of gendered identity. The second section moves on to explore the wider impact of martial masculinities on culture and society, asking whether nineteenth-century Britain can be regarded as a warrior nation. These two sections ultimately demonstrate that the reception, representation and replication of masculine values in Britain during this period was far more complex than might be assumed.

The Royal Navy and the South Pacific labour trade

officers, the Australian colonial governments, the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Societies in London, and British government departments including the Admiralty. Public outrage, fanned by humanitarian publications and the agitation of sympathetic members of Parliament, produced the Pacific Islanders Protection Act in 1872 1 and an extension in the boundaries and resources of the Royal Navy’s Australian

in Guardians of empire

maritime protection. New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand formed small auxiliary naval units over the succeeding decades, though they were legislatively restricted to territorial waters. 3 Imperial expansion and technological advances increased the cost of the Royal Navy for British taxpayers. The colonial empire, which derived defensive and economic benefits from

in Colonial naval culture and British imperialism, 1922–67
Race, indigenous naval recruitment and British colonialism, 1934–41

part of a ‘civilising mission’ to ‘develop’ the ‘character’ of a ‘modern’ navy.2 Martial race theory, where certain ethnic groups were considered naturally predisposed to military service, heavily influenced colonial army organisation after the 1857 v 113 v Sociocultural analyses of the Royal Navy Indian Uprising. It served to divide and rule by promoting imperially loyal ethnic groups over anti-colonial ones. For naval recruiters, a distinctive ‘seafaring race’ theory evolved around maritime semantics but with a similar imperial purpose. Utilising transnational

in A new naval history
Social mobility, heroism and naval manhood

through relations to each other – if in contradictory and conflictual ways’. 2 Popular representations of naval manhood in the mid- to late Victorian period highlight this relationship. As the navy served to symbolise both nation and empire, depictions of naval manhood came to embody Victorian manly ideals, which valued masculine attachments to family, home and empire. Yet

in From Jack Tar to Union Jack
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Gender, navy and empire

Sea and the Oxford Book of English Verse , was the incongruity between empire building and the alleged buffoonery of the sailor. In arguing that the British naval man was no caricature of the ‘Jolly Jack Tar’, ‘Q.’, as Quiller-Couch signed his work, recognised the centrality of naval manliness to both the success of the navy and the expansion of the empire. For ‘Q.’, Victorian naval seamen had

in From Jack Tar to Union Jack