Tag: Naval

The A to Z of the Royal Navy Captains’ letters project

Reading time: 11 minutes

This is the first of a planned series of blogs charting the progress of the Royal Navy Captains’ letters volunteer project. In it I make reference to letters which use terminology and refer to practices that may cause offence.

This project, scheduled for completion in 2024, involves cataloguing letters written by Royal Navy Captains to the Admiralty during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (1793-1815). The National Archives holds these letters in 564 boxes in the record series ADM 1, archived by year and the initial letter of Captains’ surnames.

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Maths swayed the Battle of Jutland – and helped Britain keep control of the seas

Reading time: 5 minutes
If you’re about to fight a battle, would you rather have a larger fleet, or a smaller but more advanced one? One hundred years ago, on May 31 1916, the British Royal Navy was about to find out if its choice of a larger fleet was the correct one. At the Battle of Jutland – as the major naval battle of World War I is known in English – these choices were unusually influenced by mathematics.

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What happens now we’ve found the site of the lost Australian freighter SS Iron Crown, sunk in WWII

Reading time: 6 minutes
Finding shipwrecks isn’t easy – it’s a combination of survivor reports, excellent archival research, a highly skilled team, top equipment and some good old-fashioned luck.

And that’s just what happened with the recent discovery of SS Iron Crown, lost off the coast of Victoria in Bass Strait during the second world war.

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D-Day succeeded thanks to an ingenious design called the Mulberry Harbours

Reading time: 4 minutes
When Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 – a bold invasion of Nazi-held territory that helped tip the balance of World War II – they were using a remarkable and entirely untested technology: artificial ports.

To stage what was then the largest seaborne assault in history, the American, British and Canadian armies needed to get at least 150,000 soldiers, military personnel and all their equipment ashore on day one of the invasion.

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The Right of Wreck

Reading time: 8 minutes
With howling westerly winds and in freezing rain, the unforgiving waves push ships closer to the treacherous rocks of the merciless Cornish coastline. The crew has travelled miles with precious cargo, desperately trying to right their course with no modern navigation. In an attempt to save the vessel and themselves, they begin to throw goods overboard.

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From ‘Australia’s Titanic’ to deadly mutineers: 4 infamous shipwrecks found on the Great Barrier Reef

Reading time: 6 minutes
The Great Barrier Reef is incredible, with turquoise water, stunning reefs and white sandy cays. Yet its name infers something quite different – a barrier: treacherous, dynamic and dangerous to navigate.
For millennia, people navigated and traded across the northern coast of Australia and the Coral Sea.
When early European seafarers came face-to-face with the world’s largest coral reef system, it was not the beauty they saw, but a nearly unnavigable structure that could easily sink their ships.

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Women in the Second World War: The sinking of SS Khedive Ismail

Reading time: 7 minutes
On the afternoon of 12 February 1944, travelling in a convoy from Mombasa to Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka), troopship SS Khedive Ismail was struck by two Japanese torpedoes just south-west of the Maldives. Hit directly in the vicinity of its engine and boiler rooms, the ship sank within just two minutes of the attack. Of the 1,506 passengers and crew on board, mostly military personnel, there were little more than 200 survivors.

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