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Response to Review of Rum, Sodomy, Prayers, and the Lash Revisited: WinstonChurchill and Social Reform in the Royal Navy, 1900-1915

I am grateful to Dr Morgan-Owen for his thoughtful and generous review of Rum, Sodomy, Prayers and the Lash Revisited. In the book, I sought to challenge some frequently taken-for-granted preconceptions about both the Royal Navy and Winston Churchill in the first decade and a half of the 20th century. As he notes, these include the idea that the Admiralty was so inherently reactionary as to be incapable of undertaking meaningful reform and that in becoming First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill jettisoned his radical enthusiasm of the past in favour of an exclusive interest in martial concerns. Both of these tropes are to say the least contestable and a focus on Royal Navy social policy allowed them to be challenged simultaneously. The book seeks to show that the Churchill Admiralty of 1911-15 had a largely progressive reformist agenda when it came to the conditions and regulations that governed the lives of British sailors. Dr Morgan-Owen, whose knowledge of the Admiralty in this period is second to none, believes that the book succeeds in this aim. I am delighted to accept such an accolade.