An engrossing history of life in the Royal Navy at the height of its power.
During the nineteenth century Great Britain ruled the waves. But what was it like sailing aboard her ships?
Men and boys travelled across the oceans of the world in Her Majesty’s ships, from the snows of the Arctic to the malarial swamps of the tropics. They fought the Queen’s enemies on sea and land, chased pirates and slavers, and made contributions to the mapping of the world. They experienced all the brutal conditions that Mother Nature could throw at them, as well as the brutal punishments that were dealt out by their officers.
Yet life as a sailor in Nelson’s navy was very different to that of a sailor at the beginning of the twentieth century, with steam replacing sail and iron replacing wood. John Winton charts these changes as well as the reforms that took place over the century to give insight into how the life of sailor evolved during this period.
Hurrah for the Life of a Sailor draws upon a wide range of sources, from sea ballads to Victorian melodramas and advertisements, from admirals’ dispatches to sailors’ diaries, to provide a comprehensive study of life on the lower-deck in the nineteenth century Royal Navy.
‘Bulging with interesting facts and sidelights and ranging from Arctic rigours to the stoker’s lot on the Road to Mandalay, this is an excellent account of conditions afloat.’ The Observer