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Fabulous Admirals

By: CDR Geoffrey Lowis (717/35914)
Publisher: Ebenezer Baylis & Sons
(From the John Laffin Library)

Britannia ruled the waves: never was this more indisputable than sixty years ago, when she had at her disposal the world's mightiest array of battle squadrons - and perhaps the world' most astonishing collection of characters commanding them, in the guise of admirals. The Navy's supremacy had been virtually unchallenged for the best part of a century: land this accumulation of confidence, combined with the autocracy, power and independence that was bestowed on a commander-in-chief, resulted in a proliferation of personality on the grand scale. Often the eccentricity of those old commanders was only matched by their courage and integrity.

Came the Dreadnought, Fisher, and efficiency: and most of the old grace, pomp and nonsense had to go overboard. Now the guided-missile age has swept away the rest of it: so the author has thought to preserve, while some can still remember them, something of the legend and the glory that hung around those fabulous admirals - not the deeds that made them famous in history, but the words and habits which kept their memory alive in wardroom and mess-deck. In all ranks of the Royal Navy there was a feeling and tradition of full-blooded fun. This book records some of it, with boisterous assistance from Jack Broome's illustrations.

August 2008

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