Arthur Pollen (1866-1937) trained as a barrister but eventually became a successful businessman. In 1900 he became interested in the problem of aiming naval artillery after witnessing a practice firing at sea. From that time he formulated his ideas for a system of firing accurately at long range and in 1906 he persuaded the Admiralty to co-operate in the development of his proposals.
However, Pollen’s ideas were not adopted as an influential group of naval officers supported another system, the Dreyer method of fire control, although some of Pollen’s ideas were used. In 1913 Pollen finally abandoned his attempts to get the Admiralty’s support. Promising negotiations with foreign navies were disrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. The volume consists of correspondence between Pollen and various naval officers as well as technical papers before 1916.
The poor performance of British gunnery, particularly at the Battle of Jutland, led the Admiralty to order a redesign of fire control equipment in 1916 After the war Pollen was awarded £30,000 in compensation for ideas which were used without his knowledge or permission. From 1927 Pollen’s ideas lay behind standard fire control equipment issued to British ships.