Sea Stories

Who Scuttled Britain’s Navies

For over 400 years the great maritime powers of Europe waged sea wars to curb or destroy Britain’s predominance as a maritime nation. All failed and by 1900 Britain without question ruled the waves.

The Golden Jubilee Naval Review of 1887 was impressive. An even larger event was planned to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee a decade later.

In total 165 British warships assembled at Spithead and gradually formed themselves into four lines, every five miles in length. These vessels included 21 battleships and 56 cruisers. It was claimed that the total number of ships presented was greater than the combined strength of the other Great Powers.

It was a remarkable display of naval power, although it was the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII who inspected the fleet, rather than Queen Victoria, now too frail to attend.

Her Majesty’s yacht, HMY Victoria and Albert for several days steamed up and down the lines of ships and then anchored off the Renown. The Prince then received the English and foreign admirals on board ship.

From 1939 to 1975 Britain’s Merchant Navy was omnipotent. The crews of the British Merchant Marine vessels numbered over 200,000 highly skilled British seamen.

These officers and ratings were trained in the United Kingdom’s National Sea Training Schools, naval colleges, and attended constant courses in the disciplines of seamanship.

In 1960, one British shipping company alone boasted it could put a ship into any port in the world within 24-hours. Most British vessels were constructed in British shipyards and were British flagged.

SS America 1947

Founded in the 17th century, Britain’s merchant fleet between the two world wars was the largest in the world. By 1939, a third of the world’s merchant ships were British. In the maritime city of Liverpool, it was thought every family had a relative serving in the British Merchant Navy.

Today’s British merchant marine accounts for only 3 per cent of the tonnage carried. It is estimated that the total number of seamen serving in the since decimated service is a little over 20,000, many if not most are of non-British extraction.

MV Columbia Star docking in Los Angeles

The Merchant Navy’s sharpest and indeed its terminal decline occurred from 1955.  By 1975, ‘the navy that once ruled the waves’ had shrunk and was mainly ferry-based transport with foreign crews.

Michael Walsh trained as a 16-year old deck rating early in 1959 at the British Sea Training School, Sharpness, in Gloucestershire. Michael has the distinction of being one of the last surviving seamen who served on the RMS Britannic.

The author Michael Walsh on the foredeck of the RMS Britannic upon which superliner he was awarded his Steering Ticket.

The 27,000-tonne vessel was the last of the White Star Line’s ocean liners (1834 – 1960). The White Star fleet was best known for the RMS Titanic and the great liner’s ill-fated voyage.

The author went on to sail under the flags of nearly 20 different British registered shipping companies. By the time he had reached the age of 24-years of age the young seaman had visited and worked in over 60 countries throughout various parts of the world.

The author as a 16-year-old cadet at the National Seat Training School, Sharpness, Gloucestershire.

The Leaving of Liverpool is an amusing and informative illustrated collection of 55 first-hand experiences and exploits of the author and his shipmates.

Today, there is a growing fascination for what is now recognised as the zenith of Britain’s 400-year old merchant marine, the vessels and great shipping companies of the past, and especially of the seafarers and their then way of life.

From the day of its publication, The Leaving of Liverpool has proved to be a great success with bulk orders regularly being placed. This subject in this first-hand account form has never before been published. It offers a unique opportunity for consistent high sales not only in the United Kingdom but abroad.

Related Books The Leaving of Liverpool and All I Ask is a Tall Ship by Michael Walsh.

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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WHEELEUROPE ARISE TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROESMEGACAUST,  DEATH OF A CITYWITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTERTHE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and IIFOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAKIMMORTAL BELOVEDTHE ALL LIES INVASIONINSPIRE A NATION Volume IINSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG,  THE RED BRIGANDSRANSACKING THE REICH ,    SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS  SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH:  JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS ,   The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise , THE DOVETAILS , SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S  and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

MICHAEL WALSH NOVELS

The revenge of a predator is a city-vigilante epic better than Death Wish A LEOPARD IN LIVERPOOL , 55 lavishly illustrated first-hand stories by a Liverpool sailor THE LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL, Latest Killer-Thriller From Michael Walsh the City Vigilante Supremo The Stigma Enigma , A powerful thought-provoking paranormal romance The Soul Meets, How to form a naughty ménage a trois THE DOVETAILS and SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S.

Latest Michael Walsh bestsellers: Those who fall victim to the taxman, banks and moneylenders are victims of legalised mugging  DEBTOR’S REVENGE, The Business Booster shows you how to double your profits not your workload THE BUSINESS BOOSTER 

MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 64 books include best-selling RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL, AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS,  THE LAST GLADIATORS, A Leopard in Liverpool, RISE OF THE SUN WHEELEUROPE ARISE, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, THE ALL LIES INVASIONINSPIRE A NATION Volume IINSPIRE A NATION Volume II, and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

The author’s books available for purchase by visiting his website BOOKSTORE, and POETRY  links.

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BOOKS THAT CHALLENGE, INSPIRE, INFORM Michael Walsh, ‘Writer of the Year’ with a strong global following. Nearly 65 interesting Amazon book titles famed for changing and improving lives. CLICK TO VIEW

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