The year 2001 marks the centenary of the Royal Navy's submarine service. This volume opens with an examination of the background to the Board of Admiralty's decision in 1900 to buy submarines, bringing to light documents that go a long way toward dispelling the myth that Britain's pre-1914 naval leaders were opposed to the development of the submarine as a major weapon. Indeed, the documents show that senior naval officers and influential civilians in Whitehall believed that the advent of the submarine would revolutionize naval warfare in a way that would bolster the Royal Navy's position as the world's predominant naval power. This edited selection of documents illustrates not only the Admiralty's thinking on the employment of the submarine between 1900 and 1918, it also charts the technical development of British submarines, and explains issues such as why the pioneer submariners came to regard themselves as an élite group within the Royal Navy - and were allowed to become the 'silent service'.
'… a fascinating insight into the early development of the submarine.' Maritime Books - Warship World '… important to all interested in submarine history…' Almanac of Seapower 'No one with a specialist interest in the history of British submarines[…]can afford to be without this volume… the documents[…]contain value extending well beyond the likely interest of the naval specialist… A satisfying array of wartime documents…' English Historical Review '… a fascinating insight into the origins and development of the Royal Navy's submarine service until the end of the First World War…. this book is fascinating reading, both for the period itself, and for an insight into the challenge of translating warfare concepts into practical weapons of war.' The Northern Mariner '… the editor is to be congratulated… an important contribution… deserves a wide readership.' International Journal of Maritime History
Contents: Introduction; Appendix I: First appointments to the Service; Appendix II: Comparative strength, 1914-1918; The development of the submarine; At Portsmouth, 1903-1905; The impact of the submarine upon naval strategic thought; Submarines and fleet submarines; Admiralty re-appraisal of submarine policy, 1913-1914; The war, 1914-1915; Taking stock: wartime experience, 1916-1918; List of sources and documents; Biographical appendix; Index.