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Navalism and Masculinity Before the First World War

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Negotiating Masculinities and Modernity in the Maritime World, 1815–1940

Part of the book series: Global Studies in Social and Cultural Maritime History ((GSSCMH))

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Abstract

The Navy League and the Imperial Maritime League sought to garner public support for strengthening the Royal Navy in the years leading up to the First World War. These ‘navalists’ were preoccupied also with the quantity of reservists available to the Royal Navy. The supply was not only inadequate, they argued, but the problem was exacerbated by the employment of ‘aliens’ in the merchant marine and the suspicion that British men were not adequately fit to serve or willing to train. To meet these challenges, navalist rhetoric was wrapped up in gendered ideas of patriotism, wherein British men had to prepare for conflict, British women had to encourage them, and ‘lascars’ and foreign seamen were deemed unsuitable and suspect.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    W. Mark Hamilton, “The ‘New Navalism’ and the British Navy League, 1895–1914,” Mariner’s Mirror 64, no. 1 (1978): 37–44.

  2. 2.

    Niall Fergusson, “Public Finance and National Security: The Domestic Origins of the First World War Revisited,” Past and Present 142, no. 1 (1994): 141–68; Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery (London: Allen Lane, 1976), 179.

  3. 3.

    Nicholas A. Lambert, Sir John Fisher’s Naval Revolution (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999): 305.

  4. 4.

    Quintin Colville, Elin Jones, and Katherine Parker, “Introduction: Gendering the Maritime World,” Journal of Maritime Research 17, no. 2 (2015): 97–101.

  5. 5.

    Matthew C. Hendley, Organized Patriotism and the Crucible of War: Popular Imperialism in Britain, 1914–1932 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012), 3–10.

  6. 6.

    E.A. Humphrey Fenn, “For my Country: What can I do?, Specially written for Boys,” Navy 18 (May 1913): 136.

  7. 7.

    Jan Rüger, “Nation, Empire and Navy: Identity Politics in the United Kingdom, 1887–1914,” Past and Present, 185 (2004): 159–87.

  8. 8.

    John C. Mitcham, Race and Imperial Defence in the British World, 1870–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016): 2.

  9. 9.

    John Tosh, ‘Hegemonic Masculinity and the History of Gender’, in Stefan Dudnik, Karen Hagemann and John Tosh, ed., Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004): 55.

  10. 10.

    Matthew Johnson, “The Liberal Party and the Navy League in Britain before the Great War,” Twentieth Century British History 22, no. 2 (2011): 137–63; N.C. Fleming, Britannia’s Zealots, Volume I: Tradition, Empire and the Forging the Conservative Right (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019): 55–60.

  11. 11.

    Anne Summers, “Militarism in Britain before the Great War,” History Workshop Journal 21 (1976): 104–23.

  12. 12.

    Correspondence between Arnold White and Lionel Yexley, 1901–1902, Arnold White Papers, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, WHI/1. Yexley later complained that the NL had not done enough: Lionel Yexley to Patrick Hannon (NL secretary), 10 October 1911, Patrick Hannon Papers, Parliamentary Archive, Westminster, HNN/2/1.

  13. 13.

    Arnold White, The Views of Vanoc: An Englishman’s Outlook (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1910).

  14. 14.

    Rozina Visran, Ayahs, Lascars, and Princes: Indians in Britain 1700–1947 (London: Pluto Press, 1986), 34–54.

  15. 15.

    W. Mark Hamilton, “The Nation and the Navy: Methods and Organization of British Navalist Propaganda, 1889–1914” (PhD diss., University of London 1977), 116.

  16. 16.

    Navy League Journal [Navy], no. 6 (December 1895): 1.

  17. 17.

    Marianne Czisnik, “Commemorating Trafalgar: Public Celebration and National Identity,” Trafalgar in History: A Battle and Its Afterlife, ed. David Cannadine (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 139–54.

  18. 18.

    Arthur J. Marder, The Anatomy of British Sea Power: A History of British Naval Policy in the Pre-Dreadnought Era, 18801905 (London: Frank Cass, 1972), 48–55.

  19. 19.

    A.J.A. Morris, The Scaremongers: The Advocacy of War and Rearmament, 1896–1914 (London: Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1984); Frans Coetzee and Marilyn S. Coetzee, “Rethinking the Radical Right in Germany and Britain before 1914,” Journal of Contemporary History 21, no. 4 (1986): 515–37.

  20. 20.

    Hamilton, “New Navalism,” 38.

  21. 21.

    In 1908 the NL listed the following school branches: Bradfield College, Radley College; Tonbridge School; West Downs, Winchester; Ludgrove, New Barnet; Eastbourne College; Sedbergh School; Repton; St Christopher’s School, Eastbourne; St Aubyn’s School, Rottingdean; Cottesmore School, Brighton; Edmundsbury School, Eastbourne; Aberdeen Grammar School; Boxgrove School, Guildford; Gresham’s School, Holt; Castle Park, County Dublin; Windlesham House, Brighton; Northaw Place, Potter’s Bar; Connaught House School, Weymouth; Elstree School, Hertfordshire; Perse School, Cambridge; Wycombe Abbey School; Devonshire House, Bexhill, Navy, 13 (October 1908): iv.

  22. 22.

    Navy 23 (May 1897): 1–2.

  23. 23.

    Navy 11, (July 1906): 172–73.

  24. 24.

    Marder, Anatomy, 55.

  25. 25.

    Tosh, ‘Hegemonic Masculinity’: 47; Hendley, Organized Patriotism, 11–66.

  26. 26.

    Erskine Childers, The Riddle of the Sands (1903; London: Folio Society, 1992), 108–109; Burke Wilkinson, The Zeal of the Convert: The Life of Erskine Childers (New York: Second Chance Press, 1985), 70.

  27. 27.

    Andrew Lambert, Admirals: The Naval Commanders Who Made Britain Great (London: Faber and Faber, 2008), 307.

  28. 28.

    Hamilton, “New Navalism,” 124.

  29. 29.

    N.C. Fleming, “Imperial Maritime League: British Navalism, Conflict, and the Radical Right, c.1907–1920,” War in History 23, no. 3 (2016): 296–322.

  30. 30.

    Boy’s Own Paper, 26 December 1885, 207.

  31. 31.

    Michael Paris, Warrior Nation: Images of War in British Popular Culture, 1850–2000 (London: Reaktion Books, 2000), 83–109.

  32. 32.

    H.F. Wyatt, “What is the Use of the Navy to You (Intended for Boys in Elementary Schools),” Navy, no. 21 (March 1897).

  33. 33.

    Stephanie Olsen, Juvenile Nation: Youth, Emotions and the Making of the Modern British Citizen, 1880–1914 (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014).

  34. 34.

    Morning Post, 3 February 1898, 3.

  35. 35.

    Harold Frazer Wyatt and L. Graham Horton-Smith, Keep the Flag Flying (London: Imperial Maritime League, 1910), 43.

  36. 36.

    W.F. Wyatt, “War as the Supreme Test of National Value,” Nineteenth Century (February 1899): 216–25.

  37. 37.

    Harold Frazer Wyatt and L. Graham Horton-Smith, The Passing of the Great Fleet (London: Sampson Low, Marston and Company, 1909), 523.

  38. 38.

    Junior Branch, Imperial Maritime League: First Annual Report: 1 January 1909–31 December 1909, Lionel Horton-Smith Papers (HSM), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

  39. 39.

    Imperial Maritime League (Junior Branch) [newsletter] 3 (May 1909).

  40. 40.

    Imperial Maritime League (Junior Branch) 36 (February 1912).

  41. 41.

    Mrs Frewen Lord to all IML branches, 7 January 1911, HSM; Junior Branch Imperial Maritime League Annual Report, 31 December 1911, HSM.

  42. 42.

    Rowland Hunt MP to Mrs Frewen Lord, May–July 1913, British Library, Vol. 5: Imperial Maritime League: History: 1913, IML/5.

  43. 43.

    IML circular to all members, 24 July 1913, IML/5.

  44. 44.

    IML Record, July 1914, 1.

  45. 45.

    Hamilton, “New Navalism,” 42.

  46. 46.

    Navy 15 (March 1910): 53.

  47. 47.

    Navy 19 (March 1914): 60, 70.

  48. 48.

    Navy, 17 (January 1910), 22; Navy, 17 (April 1910), 107; Navy, 17 (August 1910): 223.

  49. 49.

    Navy 20 (February 1915): 42–43; Jeff Bowersox, Raising Germans in the Age of Empire: Youth and Colonial Culture, 1871–1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

  50. 50.

    George Robb, British Culture and the First World War (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 128.

  51. 51.

    Navy 13 (December 1908): 370–71.

  52. 52.

    Navy 11 (July 1906): 172–73.

  53. 53.

    Navy 15 (February 1910): 67.

  54. 54.

    Navy, 11 (January 1906): 21–22.

  55. 55.

    Alicia Percival attributes correctly the origins of the Sea Cadets to the aim of sending them into the merchant service, but overlooks the racial motivation; see Alicia Percival, Youth Will Be Led (London: Collins, 1951), 139.

  56. 56.

    C. McL. McHardy, British Seamen, Boy Seamen and Light Dues (London: Navy League, 1899).

  57. 57.

    See, Navy 9, 2 (February 1904), 54–56.

  58. 58.

    Reprinted in Navy, 9 (February 1904): 41.

  59. 59.

    Navy, 10 (October 1905): 243–44.

  60. 60.

    Hamilton, ‘Nation and the Navy’: 128.

  61. 61.

    Navy 16 (May 1911): 120–21.

  62. 62.

    Mary A. Conley, From Jack Tar to Union Jack: Representing Naval Manhood in the British Empire, 18701918 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009); Christopher McKee, Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy, 19001945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

  63. 63.

    Minutes of Proceedings at the Navy League Conference to Consider the Position of this Country if Involved in War with Regard to the Adequacy 1.—Of the Navy 2.—Of the Food Supply Held at the Royal United Service Institution Thursday, June 23, 1898 (London: Spottiswoode, 1898), 30–33.

  64. 64.

    Navy League, British Seamen for British Ships (London: Navy League, 1900), 1–2.

  65. 65.

    Navy League, British Seamen, 2–3.

  66. 66.

    Navy 15, no. 12 (December 1910): 322.

  67. 67.

    P.J. Waller, Democracy and Sectarianism: A Political and Social History of Liverpool 1868–1939 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1981), 188–206.

  68. 68.

    Navy 11 (September 1904): 243–44; Navy 16 (May 1909): 132–35.

  69. 69.

    Colville, Jones, and Parker, “Introduction,” 99.

  70. 70.

    Laura Rowe, Morale and Discipline in the Royal Navy during the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 20–52.

  71. 71.

    J.M. Grant [Headmistress of St Leonard’s School, St Andrews, Fife], “The Woman’s Page: Navy League Work in Girls’ Schools,” Navy 11 (May 1906): 109.

  72. 72.

    Navy 12 (January 1907): 10–11. It was not until the First World War that women were permitted to take a more active role in the Royal Navy: Jo Stanley, A History of the Royal Navy: Women and the Royal Navy (London: I. B. Tauris, 2017).

  73. 73.

    Navy 20 (November 1915): 335; Navy 21 (September 1916): 242.

  74. 74.

    Navy 23 (October 1918): 96, 98.

  75. 75.

    Navy 24 (April 1919): 48.

  76. 76.

    Duncan Redford, “Collective Security and Internal Dissent: The Navy League’s Attempts to Develop a New Policy towards British Naval Power between 1919 and the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty,” History 96, no. 321 (2011): 48–67.

  77. 77.

    The Times, May 13, 1976: 5.

  78. 78.

    www.sea-cadets.org, accessed 20 September 2019

  79. 79.

    N.C. Fleming, “Navalism, the ‘Rising Generation’, and the First World War,” Histories, Memories and Representations of Being Young in the First World War, ed. Maggie Andrews, N.C. Fleming and Marcus Morris (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020): 97–118.

  80. 80.

    Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 321.

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Fleming, N.C. (2021). Navalism and Masculinity Before the First World War. In: Downing, K., Thayer, J., Begiato, J. (eds) Negotiating Masculinities and Modernity in the Maritime World, 1815–1940. Global Studies in Social and Cultural Maritime History. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-77946-7_11

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