Ships of the Royal Navy
By Oscar Parkes
Publisher: Sampson Low,Marston and Co. 1922 194 Pages
PDF 86 MB
This book is written for those who feel more than a passing interest in what is still our First Line of Defence ; to whom a ship should be a living entity, something to be recognised and understood with a little of technical knowledge and a memory of what has been and not merely to be regarded as a grey hulk of steel with a name. To those who would seek acquaintance with the Fleet, the present naval literature seems either too technical, or else not sufficiently so—there is no happy medium between the naval annuals and the picture books. For this reason my aim has been to try and steer a middle course and to treat with the various types of ships in a semi-technical way which I hope will be neither too advanced for the ordinary reader, nor too elementary for those with a more critical knowledge.
At the present moment the Navy is going through a period of depression. New construction is languishing, the Washington Treaty has caused a clean sweep to be made of all the older battleships and battle-cruisers, and smaller vessels which would normally be maintained in reserve for many years to come are constantly being placed on the sale list. For all that, the passing of the old order tends to emphasize the importance of the gradual transformation of the Fleet which is proceeding almost unnoticed. By far the most interesting units which will soon be put into commission are the aircraft carriers " Eagle " and " Hermes " and by the courtesy of the Directors of Naval Construction and Naval Intelligence I have been enabled to prepare and include sketches of these ships as they will appear when completed ; the same applies to the " Emerald " a new light cruiser. In these classes of ships naval rivalry is steadily growing, and in the " carriers " we have already gained a substantial lead, both in numbers and design. No other nation has as yet completed a fast carrier, or for a long time will have the material for experimental purposes which we now possess, while the possibility of carrying the aerial offensive to enemy coasts by such means is likely to act as a strong check upon indiscriminate air raids in future wars. As regards the details given for the various classes, I have drawn upon data culled from " Fighting Ships " and official sources, and such short notes as the exigencies of space have permitted are the result either of personal observation or trustworthy information. It is proposed to publish a fresh edition of this book each year, and for that reason I shall welcome criticism and suggestion as to its scope in the future.
Finally I have to thank Messrs. Gieves, Ltd., for the willing help and courtesy they have extended in the matter of tne bulk of the photographs reproduced ; without their assistance the book could never have been so fully illustrated as has now been found possible. To the Publishers I am, as always, grateful for a kindly tolerance towards my importunities in the matter of alterations and additions due to the transient nature of the naval situation, and delay occasioned by the demands of my professional work.