c/o GPO London

 

 

 

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HMS Victory at Portsmouth naval base, 2008

 

The location of any Royal Navy warship in World War Two was a great secret, as it should have been. All ships had the same address, for example

HMS Victory

c/o GPO

London

(that is: care of the General Post Office, London)

Since all Royal Navy logistic and administrative systems were set up to support individual ships, all bases on land were named for ships as well. One was always assigned to a ship. This simple expedient prevented disruptive changes in the system of administration which worked well.

Officers and ratings assigned to the Admiralty or various government officers in London were, and still are, carried on the books of HMS Victory; Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

She was built in the Royal Navy’s Chatham Dockyard and officially commissioned in 1778 as a first-rate ship of the line carrying 104 guns. HMS Victory was placed in dry-dock at Portsmouth naval base in 1922 where she remains, the oldest warship in the world still in commission. (The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship still afloat)

She serves as the flagship of the First Sea Lord or professional head of the Royal Navy.

Photo of HMS Victory courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hms_victory.JPG

 

Great Britain Comes Close to Starvation in World War One

German U-Boats Played Havoc with British Food Imports in World War One.

While we associate German U-Boats primarily with World War Two, they played an active role in World War One and came close to cutting off Great Britain from her food imports. The number of merchant ships sunk by the primitive German U-boats of the first war is astonishing.

Partly this was due to the stupidity and mule-headed stubbornness of the British Admiralty who refused to put into place a convoy system which had been used in every war fought by the British against a maritime power back through the ages.

Such a system had been used by Great Britain in centuries past and the instructions from the 1700s on how to form and escort a convoy don’t read much differently than those issued late in World War One.

Fortunately, the Royal Navy had leaned its lesson and merchant ships were ordered to sail in convoys almost as soon as the war had broken out. In a burst of foresight, the Admiralty had actually put in place the structure and personnel to implement this before the war came.

 

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World War One British Ministry of Food poster issued in 1917 urging people to eat less bread since Great Britain had to import a significant of her wheat supplies.

(all images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

Below is the commentary on this poster from the Imperial War Museum.

“An enormous, crusty loaf of bread, marked ‘EAT LESS BREAD’, sits on the grassy top of coastal chalk cliffs. In the background, partly obscured by the loaf, are silhouettes of warships of the British Grand Fleet set against a vivid yellow sky. text: SAVE THE WHEAT AND HELP THE FLEET. EAT LESS BREAD.”

“During the First World War, merchant shipping bringing imported food supplies into Britain was extremely vulnerable to German U Boat attack. By 1917, 400 Allied ships a month were being sunk. Although wheat was imported from new sources and Britain’s own harvest reached record levels, the government actively encouraged economy.

“The poster is neither subtle nor sophisticated. However, it does give an interesting insight into the controlled war economy established by Lloyd George. Not only was industry reorganised and food supplies rationed, but also individual freedoms were radically constrained. The poster calls on the individual to voluntarily contribute to these changes and makes a direct link between their actions and the wider war effort.” (Commentary from the Imperial War Museum)

 

 

 

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 Another World War One poster issued by the British Ministry of Food urging people to eat less bread.

 

 

 

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Of course, complete victory depends on each citizen not eating so much damn bread! 

 

 

Posted by writer Charles McCain, author of the World War Two naval epic:

An Honorable German

SAYS NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR NELSON DeMILLE

“A truly epic and stirring tale of war, love, and the sea. An Honorable German is a remarkable debut novel by a writer who…seems he was an eyewitness to the history he portrays in such vivid detail. An original and surprising look at World War II from the other side.”

To purchase copies including Kindle and Nook click here:

http://charlesmccain.com/an-honorable-german/

For a signed and personally inscribed first edition hardback go to this specific link on author’s website:

http://charlesmccain.com/buy-an-honorable-german/