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The Great Edwardian Naval Feud (Hardback)

Beresford's Vendetta against 'Jackie' Fisher

Maritime

By Richard Freeman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
ISBN: 9781848840836
Published: 17th September 2009
Last Released: 26th October 2009

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This is the story of the clash between two gigantic personalties in the early years of the twentieth century.

On one side was Admiral Lord Charles Beresford. Physically strong, courageous and hot-headed, he was the most popular admiral in the navy. Addicted to the sound of his own voice, he drew crowds of thousands whenever he spoke in public. On the other side was the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir John Fisher. Of humble origin, he had risen through hard work and genius to become the greatest naval reformer that Britain has ever known.

Both men wished to be First Sea Lord. When the prize went to Fisher, Beresford determined to unseat him at any cost. He launched attacks in Parliament, he plotted with Unionist politicians, he leaked state secrets and he courted public opinion. As a popular public figure, no one dared act against him until he finally over-stepped the mark and viciously hounded a rear-admiral out of his fleet.

A Cabinet inquiry followed, sitting for fifteen days. Its five members listened to Beresford's incoherent account of his eight charges. In the end, they dismissed the charges, but failed to show any warm support for either man. Fisher's resignation followed and Beresford's career came to an end.

Well researched and painstakingly detailed. Royal Navy enthusiasts of the Edwardian era will find in this book all their favourite tales of stultifying and hidebound attitudes which engendered in officers a narrow view of their profession, where they were not discouraged but actively dissuaded from thinking.

Australian Naval Institute
 Richard Freeman
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