“Fear God and Dread Nought”

HMS Dreadnought 1906 IWM b

Brainchild of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Jacky Fisher, HMS Dreadnought, commissioned in 1906, revolutionized naval warfare. (Photograph courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

Her name, which became synonymous with “battleship,” was taken from the personal motto of Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord (professional head of the Royal Navy) Sir John “Jacky” Fisher “Fear God and Dread Nought”. Admiral Jack pushed the radical new design through the bureaucracy of the Royal Navy by threats and demotions and bullying and trampling on anyone who got in his way.

Not a nice man, Sir Jacky Fisher but history doesn’t judge him for his faults as a man but for his brilliance as a naval leader. Save Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fisher, few in high places saw the mortal danger posed by the Germans when the Anglo-German naval race began nor did anyone want to admit that the Royal Navy was being strangled by tradition. New ship designs were urgently needed and it was Fisher who saw this more clearly than anyone and rang the alarm bell.

HMS Dreadnought 1906 IWM c

Deck scene aboard HMS Dreadnought circa 1910. 

(photo courtesy of Imperial War Museum)

HMS Dreadnought 1907 IWM

HMS Dreadnought at underway at slow speed, 1907.

Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

HMS Dreadnought as flagship of Home Fleet 1907

HMS Dreadnought underway in 1907 as flagship of the Home Fleet.

Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

HMS Dreadnought 1906 IWM d

A striking starboard bow portrait of the battleship HMS Dreadnought

(photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

HMS Dreadnought 7

HMS Dreadnought

(photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

Ironically, Fisher was the first naval leader to recognize that aircraft made battleships obsolete………..something he said in 1920!

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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