Teaching naval history

#41
My concern is how we teach this to the un-interested 17 year old who left school precisely to avoid being 'taught' about things like this. Perhaps it should be aimed at LRLC and SRLC?
By putting it across in a way which is very different to how history would have been taught in his/her school.

One advantage is that the history will be being taught in context; what bores many kids in history lessons is that the content seems so distant and hence irrelevant.
 
#42
As an aside, something which I have always found very poignant when I have been in the Ypres area has been meeting groups of young Army recruits who have been taken there. I spoke to one of the Officers escorting them around and he told me that he takes groups there regularly.
 
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Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#43
There was a time, early 1980s when new entry ratings who were exempt NAMET as it was then or achieved 1 - 1 at the first attempt undertook a mini staff course while everyone else went to NAMET lessons. The course covered:

The Role of the Royal Navy Past and Present

NATO and the Warsaw Pact in World Affairs

Sea Power in the 20th Century

The Role of the Royal Marines

Service Letter Writing

and the preparation and presentation of a short illustrated talk.

I don't know if such a thing (updated) is still part of Ratings' basic training but it stoked my interest in wider learning about the Service early on. Service / Defence writing was dull as as a dull thing and 30 years on, it still is.
 
#45
I was a Ganges sprog and we were taught naval history. We also got two books, one on naval history in general and the other was the navy VCs. At school in the 40s and 50s we only really got the Nelson story then at Ganges a whole host of information was given to us. It wouldn't harm to teach it in schools but then it's warfare generally and a bit too much for the modern little darlings. :glasses8:
 

Taffd

Lantern Swinger
#46
Well seeing as I'm partly responsible for the thread on ARRSE, I suppose I'd better comment.

I don't recall being taught RN history at Ganges, though that doesn't mean that I wasn't. I understand the way Corps history helps meld Booties into what they become and how it underpins their ethos of today but my point, specifically about the RN, was that I couldn't understand how teaching me RN history would make me proud, or prouder of the service or my part in it. Further, and again specifically for the RN, I don't see how it would help generate esprit de corps.

A bit like being English. I can't envisage a time when I might state aloud that I'm proud of being English, or feel the need to enhance any esprit to do with being English. Similarly with the RN

Swaggering about in bell bottoms, partaking of the delights of foreign climes made me feel good about being a matelot, not something that Nelson might have done, said, or achieved.

History, I like for its own sake.
 
#47
Recruits have programmed lessons during the Initial Naval Training ten week course that are entitled History of the Royal Navy. This used to consist of a video but now they are actively researching naval history including Trafalgar and Nelson on the Internet. The lessons are also augmented by a Royal Naval Association veteran and makes full use of the interactive Heritage Centre exhibit in HMS Raleigh. They are also given a lesson on naval uniform and its origins.
 
#48
What about animal history in the RN - just to kick off we have had famous dogs (Just Nuisance etc) , monkeys etc.
HMS Excellent - Whale Island - has lions buried on West Battery how did they come to end up there?, peacocks resided there, and at the end of the 60's I worked on the farm there (where the car park is now - behind the gatehouse) There were 2 horses (Charlie & Dolly), a pony (cant remember her name) and 3,000 chickens in what was known as the deep litter method (sort of indoor free range)!! I used to ride Charlie behind West Battery, and took him into the Whaley Club - across the dance floor - for a bet during a Sunday dinner time sesh. I took Dolly & cart around the Island delivering eggs, and taking bedding from bedding store to laundry and back. I was often in the Reg office for 'speeding' but once we were on the road behind the drill shed Dolly went like the clappers till we reached the end near the Royal Yacht berth. We (me & Scouse Ambrose) added a premium to chickens plucked & dressed and that was our ale money as was what we made selling manure, & while the horses paddled by the causeway, we collected cockles and boiled them in our kettle, then made a brew afterwards -we was 'ard !!!
 
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Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#49
The lions were part of the Whaley zoo and had to be shot at the beginning of the war.

As if there wasn't enough history ..

Mortlock of the Wolverine's Newfoundland dog that helped him repel French boarders
Collingwood's dog Bounce
The bear that Intrepid brought back from Russia in 1916 that escaped in Chatham dockyard
Simon the Amethyst cat
Innumerable monkeys bred from a pair in a cage beside the sick bay in Terror - all little buggers for biting people, especially after tot time
The goats Maidstone took out to Gib in '56 in a coop marked 'Reg Office'
The captain's rabbit in RFA Fort Charlotte
And maybe 13 billion cockroaches
 
#51
I was a Ganges sprog and we were taught naval history. We also got two books, one on naval history in general and the other was the navy VCs. At school in the 40s and 50s we only really got the Nelson story then at Ganges a whole host of information was given to us. It wouldn't harm to teach it in schools but then it's warfare generally and a bit too much for the modern little darlings. :glasses8:

Might have been mentioned, but I am sure we did GNK lessons, General Naval Knowledge. Pretty sure I'm not making it up??
 
#52
What about animal history in the RN - just to kick off we have had famous dogs (Just Nuisance etc) , monkeys etc.
HMS Excellent - Whale Island - has lions buried on West Battery how did they come to end up there?, peacocks resided there, and at the end of the 60's I worked on the farm there (where the car park is now - behind the gatehouse) There were 2 horses (Charlie & Dolly), a pony (cant remember her name) and 3,000 chickens in what was known as the deep litter method (sort of indoor free range)!! I used to ride Charlie behind West Battery, and took him into the Whaley Club - across the dance floor - for a bet during a Sunday dinner time sesh. I took Dolly & cart around the Island delivering eggs, and taking bedding from bedding store to laundry and back. I was often in the Reg office for 'speeding' but once we were on the road behind the drill shed Dolly went like the clappers till we reached the end near the Royal Yacht berth. We (me & Scouse Ambrose) added a premium to chickens plucked & dressed and that was our ale money as was what we made selling manure, & while the horses paddled by the causeway, we collected cockles and boiled them in our kettle, then made a brew afterwards -we was 'ard !!!
All very interesting, but don't you think it would be a bit time consuming to include that lot in basic training? Could bin military training, fitness training and swimming test maybe...
 

wet_blobby

War Hero
Moderator
#53
I'm not a fan of the "sit down and learn" method of teaching history to the new recruit. I feel it's something that should be soaked up, that's why somewhere like BRNC is so good. As a young thruster in the late 80's early 90's Jack was worried about an attack on its baby officers so a few of us Booties were sent down there to give them a shoulder to cry on, whilst taking my rifle for a walk around the place I was enthralled with all the history and artifacts that surrounded me, I really enjoyed bimbling around the place the history on display would make any museum proud. Also the way the Corps teaches it's history is quite good. As TT mentions the Drill instructers are the Corps history teachers and they drip feed the recruit history all the time whilst also teaching you to shave/make your bed/iron/walk/polish etc. There's plenty of time during a recruits initial training period to drip feed information whilst teaching him/her something else as well. The important historical stuff like Nelson/Trafalger/DDay etc should be known about before the recruit turns up to start training, if nothing else it shows an interest in their intended career. what needs teaching is the ethos and traditions of the service.
 
#54
Just tell the newbie tars there will be a free game download for passing a naval history test and you will have solved the whole problem!!!!! :homework:
 
#55
Coming in to this topic late on and I really cant be bothered to trawl through 6 pages I am just going to throw in my 2 pennies worth.

Yes the Navy needs to teach History. After working much more with RM and Army units in my career than actually being with the blue side of things I have found it a shock coming back and seeing how little pride in our organisation we actually have as a collective group. I knew many a bootie who could name every VC winner the corps has had and even more that could spiel off the order to create the regiment in the first place (not the correct term i know) and this was even after 12 hours drinking when they had forgotten there names.

The Navy could do a lot worse than try and instil some pride in to its people. A good start would be to pick an event in History and promote this date as something the Juniors can turn in to an annual piss up. The corps birthday or regimental days in the army are something the navy is missing yes the officers have traf night and the seniors have pickle night but the juniors have nothing and its a shame.

If people felt proud of the service they were in I am sure it would end up being cost efficient as they would act more professional and dare I say get more job satisfaction and even stay in. I find it sad to see a booty saying pusser shouldn't have to pay for this when his background is from a service that has such a high regard for themselves and the highest percentage of people who just LOVE IT than any other.

Maybe this has turned in to a ramble but I have had a drink and I hope you can pick out what i am trying to say at least.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#56
During the early years of my naval career I was "drip-fed" naval history/general knowledge from a variety of sources, including my elders. I had an intimate understanding of the routines and procedures for the Gangway and Bridge. When I was the Routines Office Writer, I took pride and pleasure in adding things like "On this day in history..." or "Flag/Symbol of the Day" on Daily Orders. In later years, I noticed things like that disappeared and thus many young sailors' knowledge about significant (and some not so significant) details seemed lost; in fact, some were ignorant of the things that I took for granted when I was their age.

On my first ship as an LREG, I was Chief QM and would be responsible to signing off the ABs Task Books for Boatswain's Mate and Helmsman. Their mistake was that they assumed I would just sign the task off without asking questions - wrong. I would make all ABs (and newly-promoted LHs) sit a BM/QM Board, covering all aspects of their respective duties and responsibilities, including a detailed understanding of flags, pennants, bells, boatswain's call, salutes and even boat hailing (an old concept but no less relevant), as I had done on my first ship when I was an experienced 17-year old JS(S). No doubt some were pissed off at me for not signing off their Task Books without question but my primary reason was that I wanted them to understand what they were expected to do and to take pride in it, as they (as Gangway Staff) were the first impression a visitor would get of the ship. I like to think that they saw the value in what I taught them (and hopefully, in keeping with the 'historic' theme, they passed on that knowledge and advise to others).

Another example: prior to my days as a Regulator I was LHWOD on HMS Nonsuch and was preparing for a TOWEX. I went down the Quarterdeck to get some equipment and noticed a gaggle of young ABs goofing. I asked them why they weren't involved in the evolution and they replied: "Don't have to - it's not in my Task Book!" I was amazed: here was the opportunity to take part in an event that doesn't take place too often and it was likely that in a few years, the very same young ABs would be Killicks in charge of a Part of Ship and would be expected to take part/charge of similar seamanship evolutions. Suffice to say, they were soon "encouraged" to help out - Task Book tasks or not - and some soon realised the benefit of what they had done. You can't 'teach' knowledge and experience...

(Apologies for the slight thread drift) :oops:
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
#58
Would it not be possible to hand each potential recruit a booklet on Naval history and tell them that when they have their interview they may be questioned on it? A cheap and reasonably simple way of getting them started.

When I started with pusser in 1960 there was no leave at all for the first month. For the first three Saturdays we were taken out for various trips. A tour of HMS Victory, we climbed the mast at HMS St. Vincent (kinell) and went aboard a destroyer alongside in Pompey, not much but a start in the services history.
 

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