Title

The Perils of Command in the British Navy

Presenter Information

Claire Hanberg

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 301

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

British, Navy, Fiction

Abstract

This is a creative thesis project focusing on leadership in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Era, during which the Royal Navy played an important military role while fostering its own unique society. The mystique and romance that surrounds the Royal Navy often clashes with equally held notions of a brutal and unforgiving institution of war, two extremes that must be navigated to seek an accurate picture of the Royal Navy and British society of this period. My research will explore naval structures including promotion, command, discipline, society, and shipboard life. I have studied primary source documents, secondary research, and other works of naval fiction set during this era. The research involved in this project will culminate in a piece of short historical fiction focusing on a First Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy. The lieutenant faces a dilemma of ethics and of duty in that his ship is on the eve of battle and his captain is unfit to command. The lieutenant is compelled to act against his captain to spare the crew, but must consider that doing so will invite a court martial and, likely, his death. The climax of the story will be the lieutenant’s decision about what action to take against the captain and how he justifies it. The story will raise questions about duty, honor, and personal sacrifice. My presentation will also highlight my creative process and experience as an author of historical fiction attempting to produce an accurate and engaging story.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Liahna Armstrong, Anne Cubilié

Department/Program

English

Additional Mentoring Department

English

Additional Mentoring Department

Douglas Honors College

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May 21st, 1:30 PM May 21st, 1:50 PM

The Perils of Command in the British Navy

SURC 301

This is a creative thesis project focusing on leadership in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Era, during which the Royal Navy played an important military role while fostering its own unique society. The mystique and romance that surrounds the Royal Navy often clashes with equally held notions of a brutal and unforgiving institution of war, two extremes that must be navigated to seek an accurate picture of the Royal Navy and British society of this period. My research will explore naval structures including promotion, command, discipline, society, and shipboard life. I have studied primary source documents, secondary research, and other works of naval fiction set during this era. The research involved in this project will culminate in a piece of short historical fiction focusing on a First Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy. The lieutenant faces a dilemma of ethics and of duty in that his ship is on the eve of battle and his captain is unfit to command. The lieutenant is compelled to act against his captain to spare the crew, but must consider that doing so will invite a court martial and, likely, his death. The climax of the story will be the lieutenant’s decision about what action to take against the captain and how he justifies it. The story will raise questions about duty, honor, and personal sacrifice. My presentation will also highlight my creative process and experience as an author of historical fiction attempting to produce an accurate and engaging story.