Teaching naval history


War Hero
The font of Corps history (within the serving Corps, stand fast the museum) is the drill shed at Lympstone, it is from there that the DL's enforce the learning of Corps history upon the drill square, and of course during induction, lets face it it's not hard to teach someone to walk, so their main role is teaching history, including a visit to the Corps museum, HMS Victory and a battlefield tour in France.
Now I know the Corps is just a drop of history compared to the senior service, but could the same system work at Raleigh?


War Hero
Given the exigencies time-wise at HMS Raleigh and BRNC, I wonder whether there is scope for giving out a nicely produced publication and supplementing that with just a couple of sessions, perhaps one when they are given out and another one later on. It could, perhaps, be based on the History content included on the website:

History | Royal Navy

It would probably be seen by new entrants' families too, thus having a PR bonus to its issue.

I do think, by the way, that, in general, recruits from earlier generations knew more about naval history. Some of it they gained at school, some of it by hearing about it from members of their families. I suspect that if shoppers around the country were stopped this weekend and asked what they knew about naval history, the most comprehensive replies would come from the older generation.
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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?


War Hero
Super Moderator
Alfred, that was really the basis of my post, when they're being taught how to do various evolutions or how to wear their rig, the background as to why they do it can be incorporated. Whether it goes in and stays in is another matter.


War Hero
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.


War Hero
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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War Hero
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.


War Hero
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:


Lantern Swinger
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.
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.


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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