This page will contain a series of posts about the British Royal Navy during the First World War. They will be published as close to the 100th anniversary of the events being described as my other commitments permit.
There will be frequent mentions of the First Lord of the Admiralty and the First Sea Lord. These are different positions, but sometimes confused.
The First Lord is the political head of the Royal Navy, equivalent to the US Secretary for the Navy. This post was sometimes held by an admiral in the 18th and early 19th centuries, but was always held by a politician by this period.
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy, equivalent to the US Chief of Naval Operations, and is always a serving admiral.
I am now a contributor to The Dreadnought Project, a naval history wiki focusing on naval history in the period 1880-1920. Unlike Wikipedia, it uses primary sources. Most of my contributions are updated versions of entries on battles already posted here. In most cases, the updates are not much more than adding links to The Dreadnought Project’s comprehensive database of entries on WWI naval offices and ships. However, the entries on the Battle of Helgoland Bight in August 1914 and the sinking of three British cruisers by U9 in September 1914 have been significantly improved by use of the Naval Staff Monographs. These were written between the two world wars by Royal Navy staff officers for internal RN use, which I was unaware of at the time that wrote the initial version. Links to both versions are given below
This list is likely to expand as the series progresses. It includes some books and articles that I have read previously, but which relate to events that have not yet been covered. Websites used as sources of information will be indicated by a link rather than a footnote.
UK National Archives, Kew, London (NA)
CAB 37/115/39 ”Oil Fuel Supply for H.M. Navy”, 1913.
ADM 137/6 ”Persian Gulf, Part 1, 30 July – 31 October 1914”, 1914.
ADM 137/10221 ”S.M.S. Emden: Later Papers”.
UK Government Publications
Naval Staff Monographs (Historical)
These were prepared by the British Naval Staff in the 1920s and 1930s for use by RN officers. They were collected together into a number of volumes, of which the following can be downloaded from this link to the Royal Australian Navy’s website.
vol. i, ‘1. Coronel’, ‘2. German Cruiser Squadron in the Pacific’, ‘3. Falklands’, ‘4. Goeben and Breslau’.
vol. ii ’10. East Africa to July 1916′, ‘5. Cameroons 1914’.
vol. iii ‘6. Passage of BEF’, ‘7. Patrol Flotillas at Commencement of War’, ‘8. Raid on North-East Coast December 16 1914′, ’11. Heligoland Bight 1914, Aug. 28 1914′, ’12. Dogger Bank, January 24 1915.’
vol. iv, ’15. Mesopotamia and Persian Gulf’.
vol. v, ’14. First Australian Convoy.1914′, ’16. China Squadron, 1914 (including Emden Hunt’, ’17. East Indies Squadron, 1914′, ’20 Cape of Good Hope Squadron, 1914′.
vol. vi, ’18. Dover Command 1′.
vol. vii, ’19. Tenth Cruiser Squadron I’, ’25. The Baltic 1914′.
vol. viii, ’21. Mediterranean 1914-1915′.
vol. ix, ’22. Atlantic 1914′, ’23. Atlantic 1915′, ’27. Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands’,
vol. x, ’23. Home Waters Part I August 1914′.
vol. xi, ’24. Home Waters Part II September and October 1914′.
vol. xii, ’28. Home Waters Part III November 1914 – January 1915′.
vol. xiii, ’29. Home Waters Part IV February – July 1915′.
vol.xiv, ’30. Home Waters Part V July – October 1915′.
vol. xv, ’31. Home Waters Part VI October 1915 – May 1916.’
vol. xvi, ’32. Lowestoft Raid April 1916′.
vol. xvii, ’33. Home Waters Part VII June – November 1916′.
vol. xviii, ’34. Home Waters Part VIII December 1916 – April 1917′.
vol. xix. ’35. Home Waters Part IX May – July 1917′.
Unnumbered vol. ’13. Grand Fleet August 1914 – November 1916′, ’14. First Australian Convoy.1914′, ’16. China Squadron, 1914 (including Emden Hunt’, ’17. East Indies Squadron, 1914′, ’20 Cape of Good Hope Squadron, 1914′, ’18. Dover Command 1′. ’19. Tenth Cruiser Squadron I’, ’25. The Baltic 1914.’
PP, Mesopotamia Commission. Report of the Commission Appointed by Act of Parliament to Enquire into the Operations of War in Mesopotamia, Together with a Separate Report by Commander J. Wedgwood, D.S.O., M.P., and Appendices, HMSO 1917 [Cd. 8610].
Published Primary Sources
Chalmers, W. S., ed. The Life and Letters of David, Earl Beatty, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1951).
Churchill, R. S., Gilbert, M., eds Winston S. Churchill, Companion Documents, (London: Heinemann, 1967-75).
Kemp, P. K., ed. The Papers of Admiral Sir John Fisher, (London: Navy Records Society, 1960).
Lambert, N. A., Navy Records Society (Great Britain), The Submarine Service, 1900-1918, (Aldershot: Ashgate for the Navy Records Society, 2001).
Lumby, E. W. R., Policy and Operations in the Mediterranean, 1912-14, (London: Navy Records Society, 1970).
Marder, A. J., ed. Fear God and Dread Nought: The Correspondence of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher of Kilverstone, (London: Jonathan Cape, 1952-59).
Patterson, A. T., ed. The Jellicoe Papers: Selections from the Private and Official Correspondence of Admiral of the Fleet Earl Jellicoe of Scapa, (London: Naval Records Society, 1966-68).
Ranft, B., ed. The Beatty Papers: Selections from the Private and Official Correspondence of Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty, (Aldershot: Scolar Press:, 1989-93).
Corbett, J. S., Newbolt, H., Naval Operations. 5 vols. [Second ed.] (London: HMSO, 1938).
Fayle, C. E., Seaborne Trade. 3 vols. (London: HMSO, 1920).
Hurd, A. S., The Merchant Navy. 3 vols. (London: HMSO, 1921).
Jose, A. W., The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, vol. ix, The Royal Australian Navy, 1914-1918. Ninth ed. (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1941).
Moberly, F. J., The Campaign in Mesopotamia, 1914-1918. 4 vols. (London: HMSO, 1923).
________, Operations in Persia, 1914-1919, (London: HMSO, 1987).
Raleigh, W. A., Jones, H. A., The War in the Air: Being the Story of the Part Played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force. 7 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1922).
Naval Operations by Corbett and Newbolt and The Merchant Navy by Hurd can be viewed online at Naval-History.net. The copies of Naval Operations are of the first edition, published in 1920. The second edition, published in 1938, was revised after new sources became available, notably the German Official History, Der Kreig zur See, and the British Naval Staff Monographs.
The first volume of Seaborne Trade by Fayle and the second volume of The Campaign in Mesopotamia by Moberly can be downloaded from the Internet Archive.
The Royal Australian Navy, 1914-1918 by Jose can be downloaded from the Australian War Memorial.
Secondary Books, Memoirs and Journal Articles
Books below highlighted in bold can be downloaded from the Internet Archive.
Superior Force and other books by G. Miller can be viewed online at navalhistory.co.uk.
Abbatiello, J. J., Anti-Submarine Warfare in World War I : British Naval Aviation and the Defeat of the U-Boats, (London: Routledge, 2006).
Andrew, C. M., Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community (London: Heinemann, 1985).
Bacon R.H.S, The Dover Patrol, 1915-1917, 2 vols (London: 1919).
Bacon, R. H. S., The Life of Lord Fisher of Kilverstone. 2 vols. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929).
Baer, G. W., One Hundred Years of Sea Power : The U.S. Navy, 1890-1990, (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994).
Barker, A. J., The First Iraq War, 1914-1918: Britain’s Mesopotamian Campaign, (New York, NY: Enigma, 2009).
Bell, C. M., Churchill and Sea Power, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
Bennett, G., Naval Battles of the First World War, (London: Pan, 1983).
Black, N., The British Naval Staff in the First World War, (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2009).
Blyth, R. J. et al, eds The Dreadnought and the Edwardian Age, (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011).
Bridgland, T., Sea Killers in Disguise : The Story of the Q Ships and Decoy Ships in the First World War, (London: Leo Cooper, 1999).
Brown, W. M., ‘Avoiding the U-Boats: The Clyde-Forth Oil Pipeline’, Mariners Mirror 90, no. 4 (2004): pp. 427-437.
Campbell, N. J. M., Jutland : An Analysis of the Fighting, (London: Conway Classics, 1998).
Cassar, G. H., The French and the Dardanelles: A Study of Failure in the Conduct of War, (London: Allen and Unwin, 1971).
Churchill, W. S., The World Crisis, 1911- 1918. 2 vols. (London: Odhams Press, 1939).
Clark, C. M., The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, (London: Penguin, 2013).
Dreyer, F. C., The Sea Heritage. A Study of Maritime Warfare, (London: Museum Press, 1955).
Edwards, B., War under the Red Ensign 1914-1918, (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Maritime, 2010).
Gibson, M., ‘”Oil Fuel Will Absolutely Revolutionize Naval Strategy”: The Royal Navy’s Adoption of Oil before the First World War’ In A Military Transformed? Adaption and Innovation in the British Military, 1792-1945, ed. Mahoney, R., Mitchell, S., LoCicero, M. (Solihull: Helion and Company, 2014), pp. 110-23.
Gibson, R. H., Prendergast, M., The German Submarine War, 1914-1918., (London: Constable, 1931).
Gordon, G. A. H., The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command, (London: John Murray, 1996).
Gray, R., Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, 1906-1921, (London: Conway Maritime Press, 1985).
Grimes, S. T., Strategy and War Planning in the British Navy, 1887-1918, (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2012).
Grove, E., ‘The Battleship Dreadnought: Technological, Economic and Strategic Contexts’ In The Dreadnought and the Edwardian Era, ed. Blyth, R. J., Lambert, Andrew, Rüger, Jan (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 165-81.
________, The Royal Navy since 1815 : A New Short History, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
Gunn, D., Sailor in the Desert: The Adventures of Phillip Gunn, DSM, RN in the Mesopotamia Campaign, 1915, (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Maritime, 2013).
Halpern, P. G., A Naval History of World War I, (London: UCL Press, 1994).
________, The Naval War in the Mediterranean, 1914-1918, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1987).
Hankey, M. P. A., The Supreme Command, 1914-1918., (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1961).
________, The Supreme Control at the Paris Peace Conference 1919. A Commentary, (London,, 1963).
Hardy, A. C., Oil Ships and Sea Transport. A Story of Oil in Relation to Its Effect on Sea Transportation., (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1931).
Hawkins, N., The Starvation Blockades, (Barnsley: Leo Cooper, 2002).
Herwig, H. H., The First World War : Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918, (London: Arnold, 1997).
________, ‘Luxury’ Fleet: The Imperial German Navy, 1888-1918, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1980).
Hinsley, F. H., Command of the Sea: The Naval Side of British History from 1918 to the End of the Second World War., (London: Christophers, 1950).
Hough, R. A., First Sea Lord: An Authorized Biography of Admiral Lord Fisher, (London: Severn House, 1977).
________, The Great War at Sea, 1914-1918, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983).
Hurley, E. N., The Bridge to France, (Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1927).
Jameson, W. S., The Most Formidable Thing: The Story of the Submarine from Its Earliest Days to the End of World War I., (London: Rupert Hart-Davis Ltd, 1965).
Jellicoe, J. R., The Crisis of the Naval War, (London: Cassell and Company, 1920).
________, The Grand Fleet, 1914-16: Its Creation, Development and Work, (London: Cassell and Company, 1919).
________, The Submarine Peril: The Admiralty Policy in 1917., (London: Cassell and Company, 1934).
Johnston, I., Buxton, I. L., The Battleship Builders: Constructing and Arming British Capital Ships, (Barnsley: Seaforth, 2013).
Karau, M. D., The Naval Flank of the Western Front: The German Marinekorps Flandern, 1914-1918, (Barnsley: Seaforth, 2003).
Kennedy, P. M., The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, (London: Allen Lane, 1976).
Lambert, N. A., Planning Armageddon : British Economic Warfare and the First World War, (Cambridge, Mass. ; London: Harvard University Press, 2012).
________, Sir John Fisher’s Naval Revolution, (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999).
Layman, R. D., The Cuxhaven Raid: The World’s First Carrier Air Strike, (London: Conway Maritime Press, 1985).
________, Naval Aviation in the First World War : Its Impact and Influence, (London: Chatham, 1996).
Lloyd George, D., War Memoirs of David Lloyd George. 2 vols. (London: Odhams, 1938).
Lochner, R. K., The Last Gentleman-of-War : The Raider Exploits of the Cruiser Emden, Translated by Lindauer, T., Lindauer, H. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1988).
Mackay, R. F.LoCicero M., A Moonlight Massacre: The Night Operation on the Passchendaele Ridge, 2 December 1917 (Solihull: Helion & Company, 2014)., Fisher of Kilverstone, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973).
Mahoney, R., Mitchell, S., LoCicero, M., ed., A Military Transformed? Adaption and Innovation in the British Military, 1792-1945, (Solihull: Helion and Company, 2014).
March, E. J., British Destroyers: A History of Development 1892-1953., (London: Seely Service & Co., 1966).
Marder, A. J., From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow; the Royal Navy in the Fisher Era, 1904-1919. 5 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1961-70).
Martin, C., ‘The Complexity of Strategy: “Jackie” Fisher and the Trouble with Submarines’, Journal of Military History 75, no. 2 (2011): pp. 441-70.
Massie, R. K., Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea, (London: Jonathan Cape, 2004).
________, Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War, (London: Jonathan Cape, 1992).
Miller, G., Superior Force : The Conspiracy Behind the Escape of Goeben and Breslau, ([Hull?]: University of Hull Press, 1996).
Moorehead, A., Gallipoli., (London: New English Library, 1963).
O’Brien, P. P., ed. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, 1902-1922, (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004).
________, British and American Naval Power: Politics and Policy, 1900-1936, (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998).
________, ed. Technology and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century and Beyond, (London: Frank Cass, 2001).
________, ‘The Titan Refreshed: Imperial Overstretch and the British Navy before the First World War’, Past & Present, no. 172 (2001): pp. 146-169.
Offer, A., The First World War: An Agrarian Interpretation, (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989).
Osborne, E. W., Britain’s Economic Blockade of Germany, 1914-1919, (London: Frank Cass, 2004).
Padfield, P., The Battleship Era, (London: Pan Books, 1975).
Pitt, B., Zeebrugge: Eleven VCs before Breakfast, (London: Cassell Military, 2003).
Preston, D., Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the Lusitania. Special Centenary edition. ed. (London: Doubleday, 2015 edition, first published 2002).
Raeder, E., Struggle for the Sea, (London,, 1959).
Roskill, S. W., Churchill and the Admirals, (London: Collins, 1977).
Scheer R., Germany’s High Sea Fleet in the World War, (London, New York,, 1920).
Seligmann, M. S., The Royal Navy and the German Threat 1901-1914 : Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War against Germany, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
Sheffield G., J. M. Bourne, eds, Douglas Haig: War Diaries and Letters 1914-1918 (London: BCA by arrangement with Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005). Thursday 14 June, pp. 299-300.
Sheffield G., Forgotten Victory: The First World War: Myths and Realities(London: Review, 2002).
Simpson, C., Lusitania, (London: Longman, 1972).
Sims, W. S., Hendrick, B. J., The Victory at Sea, (London: J. Murray, 1920).
Smith, C., ‘Dreadnought Science: The Cultural Construction of Efficiency and Effectiveness’ In The Dreadnought and the Edwardian Era, ed. Blyth, R. J., Lambert, Andrew, Rüger, Jan (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 135-64.
Sondhaus, L., German Submarine Warfare in World War I: The Onset of Total War at Sea, (Boulder MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).
Steel, N., Hart, P., Defeat at Gallipoli, (London: Papermac, 1995).
Steffen, D., ‘The Holtzendorff Memorandum of 22 December 1916 and Germany’s Declaration of Unrestricted U-Boat Warfare’, Journal of Military History 68, no. 1 (2004): pp. 215-224.
Stevenson, D., 1914-1918: The History of the First World War, (London: Allen Lane, 2004).
Strachan, H., The First World War: Vol. 1, to Arms, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
Sumida, J. T., ‘British Naval Operational Logistics, 1914-1918’, Journal of Military History 57, no. 3 (1993): pp. 447-480.
________, In Defence of Naval Supremacy: Finance, Technology and British Naval Policy, 1889-1914, (Boston MA, London: Unwin Hyman, 1989).
Tarrant, V. E., Jutland : The German Perspective : A New View of the Great Battle, 31 May 1916, (London: Arms and Armour, 1995).
________, The U-Boat Offensive, 1914-1945, (London: Arms and Armour, 1989).
Terraine, J., Business in Great Waters: The U-Boat Wars, 1916-1945, (London: Cooper, 1989).
Travers, T., Gallipoli, 1915, (Stroud: Tempus, 2001).
Trumpener, U., ‘German Military Aid to Turkey in 1914: An Historical Re-Evaluation’, Journal of Modern History 32, no. 2 (1960): pp. 145-149.
A. Wiest A., ‘Haig’s Abortive Amphibious Assault on Belgium, 1917’, The Historian 54, no. 4 (1992), pp. 671-73.
Yates, K., Flawed Victory: Jutland, 1916, (London: Chatham, 2000).