Rum, Sodomy, Prayers, and the Lash Revisited: Winston Churchill and Social Reform in the Royal Navy, 1900-1915

ISBN : 9780198759973

Matthew S. Seligmann
208 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jun 2018
Send mail

'Naval tradition? Naval tradition? Monstrous. Nothing but rum, sodomy, prayers and the lash.' This quotation, from Winston Churchill, is frequently dismissed as apocryphal or a jest, but, interestingly, all four of the areas of naval life singled out in it were ones that were subject to major reform initiatives while Churchill was in charge of the Royal Navy between October 1911 and May 1915. During this period, not only were there major improvements in pay and conditions for sailors, but detailed consideration was also given to the future of the spirit ration; to the punishing and eradicating of homosexual practices; to the spiritual concerns of the fleet; and to the regime of corporal punishment that underpinned naval discipline for boy sailors. In short, under Churchill, the Royal Navy introduced a social reform programme perfectly encapsulated in this elegant quip. And, yet, not only has no one studied it; many people do not even know that such a programme even existed. This boo


1 Pay, Promotion, and Democratization
2 Rum
3 Sodomy
4 Prayers
5 The Lash

About the author: 

Matthew S. Seligmann was born in London. He was educated at the universities of Edinburgh, Pennsylvania, and Sussex and has held posts at the University of Northampton and Brunel University London, where he is currently professor of naval history. An expert on the Anglo-German naval race and Anglo-German relations before and during the First World War, he has written numerous books and articles on this subject, as well as making radio and television appearances.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.