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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.

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Daniel Owen Spence

mention of its crime, violence, and poverty. No great sense of war or danger is conveyed. Instead, the TRNVR’s duties are described as ‘dull work’ which ‘in some small way’ will help bring about British victory: Their jobs in the Trinidad Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve are not exciting, and carry few

in Colonial naval culture and British imperialism, 1922–67
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Daniel Owen Spence

only oil-producing territory in the formal Empire, and Britain’s primary source in the western hemisphere: the island of Trinidad. Since the First World War, the Royal Navy had moved from coal powered to oil fired ships, making the security of Trinidad in the service’s direct interest. 51 The Trinidad Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (TRNVR) was formed to defend this supply, whilst also serving a

in Colonial naval culture and British imperialism, 1922–67
Abstract only
Daniel Owen Spence

During the Second World War, out of a population of just over 6,500, around 800 Caymanians served in the British Merchant Navy with another 201 in the Trinidad Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (TRNVR). Caymanians possessed a hereditary link back to Britain, a connection visibly reinforced by their lighter physical complexion compared to other West Indians. Although within a colonial naval force such as the TRNVR Caymanians garnered more respect than their West Indian colleagues, they were still viewed as inferior to regular British sailors. Upon their arrival at the TRNVR base in Staubles Bay, Caymanians encountered a foreign environment, poor facilities, professional neglect, and lack of proper uniform and medical care, causing many to fall ill. As with the sailors, the collective wartime experience at home strengthened Caymanian identity beyond skin colour, with the Islanders united in prayer for the safe return of their men.

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

mutiny in 1946 involving over 10,000 Muslim and Hindu personnel from sixtysix ships and shore establishments, an event that triggered the start of Britain’s Indian withdrawal.34 Elsewhere, the sole colonial naval force in the Caribbean, defending Britain’s largest oil-producing colony, was the Trinidad Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Insufficient numbers of Trinidadians volunteered, however, fuelling a belief that ‘most Trinidadians do not like the sea’.35 In reality, they preferred higher-paid construction work on the American bases established there following the 1940

in A new naval history