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are not great. The experience really an education in itself. of the Japanese navy during It is noteworthy that by such the present war has proved a competent observer as Pro that steam fleets in time of fessor Main of the Portsmouth war pass quite as much time College the men produced in at sea as did the sailing fleets. the past were considered to It is believed that the crews of have an extraordinary capacity certain ships did not set foot for hard mental work when on shore for months. Ships a distinct object was to be may be somewhat less uncom- gained. fortable now than they were in the past, but life on land is It will be interesting and usenow more luxurious, so that ful to trace the gradual change the differences between life in naval education which has afloat and ashore are
un- taken place during the last changed. It is this that tells- century. At the close of the the restraint and confinement French war in 1815 cadets especially-rather than the ab- were entered between the ages solute amount of discomfort. of 121 and 14. Some were
Another well - known and sent straight to sea, others to important advantage of going the college at Portsmouth to sea young is that boys where they underwent a course acquire quickly the habit of of instruction for two years. command and a knowledge of Between the two classes existed men and things, coupled with much antagonism, doubtless a quickness of eye and a readi- due to the diverging lines of ness of resource which do not thought produced
by difference come so easily later in life. of training, and not allayed by This argument only holds in the advantages accruing to the the case of those who are successful “Collegians.
These allowed to take their proper advantages varied from time share in the duties of the ship, to time. At one period the as was the practice in the past. cadet who passed out first was Unfortunately there arose awarded a gold medal, which custom of abandoning this carried with it a lieutenant's practical training in favour of commission on passing in seamere book knowledge. This manship at the age of nineteen. was brought about largely by This was found to be too great the pressure of men who, hav- a prize to be won at the age ing little or no sea experience, of fourteen or fifteen, and was were unable to appreciate the abolished. In 1835 the maxivalue of practical training. mum
reward to the most These argued that naval officers successful cadet was a silver were not taught to think under medal and one year's time. the old system. It was for- After serving six years at sea, gotten that they were trained including any sea time allowed to observe, and acquired habits for meritorious passing out of of order and a knowledge of the college, and being nineteen men and things which was years of age, they were ex
amined viva voce to ascertain fell the Crimean War, and the whether their practical know- changes from sail to steam, ledge was sufficient to qualify from smooth-bores to rifled them for the charge of a ship guns, from wooden ships of the at sea.
No other qualifications line to armoured battleships. were required. Beyond the If war had been studied, and above two years at the Ports- higher education of the right mouth College — which was kind properly encouraged, dura bolished in 1837 — and the ing the period 1839-59, the desultory instruction given by reader is asked to reflect on naval instructors to the limited the difference in
progress number of midshipmen borne in which might have resulted large ships, no further educa- during the eventful period tional facilities were given. 1859-85,-between 1859, when The officers produced were good the Warrior, the first ironclad, practical seamen, and the so- was laid down, and 1885, when called “Collegians” possessed
possessed the imminence of war with a grounding in mathematics, Russia exposed the backward navigation, and cognate sub- state of the navy and initijects; but the majority lacked ated the naval renaissance. the knowledge of the higher Quite twenty years are rebranches of their profession, quired to give full effect to including war, which their pre- radical changes in an educadecessors had acquired during tional system. Would minds the long struggles of the trained to deal with the fundaeighteenth century. War and mental principles of war have its requirements dropped more clung to sails quite so long? or and more out of sight during misreading the lessons of the the long peace.
The leading American Civil War, have sancmen were left to educate them- tioned the building of ships fit selves, and did so. The Admir- only for coast defence ? or have alty gave them no assistance failed to acquire a thorough or encouragement until 1839, knowledge of the new motive when men began to have a power? or have depreciated glimmering of the necessity the efforts of the late Admiral for a higher education. The Colomb to direct naval thought Portsmouth College was then to the study of tactics and reopened, not for cadets but strategy? It is a noteworthy for certain number of fact that the neglect to study officers and mates who were war systematically continued to be instructed for one year. until the year 1900, when the The education given was nar- Board of Admiralty directed row, and was limited chiefly a course to be started to mathematics, navigation, at Greenwich College. It is astronomy, steam, and fortifica- true that the Order of Jantion. War was not studied, uary 1873 establishing the Coland the importance of naval his- lege for the higher education tory was quite unappreciated. of naval officers contained this
To the men thus trained clause :
10. Naval history and tactics, as his ability and capacity were
including naval signals undoubted. It is significant
and steam evolutions. that he was First Sea Lord in But so little attention was paid 1885, and had been so since to this that it was not included 1879. May it be that the in the Regulations dated Nov. Navy's distrust of the “Colember 1888. The Navy was legians ” was to some extoo much occupied with ques- tent well founded in that the tions connected with the ma- higher education which they terial to trouble about such favoured was not of the right matters as strategy and tactics ! kind ? May this not have been due The Crimean War reacted to the influence of the “Col- powerfully on the naval mind, legians,” whose mathematical and paved the way for many training would fit them to innovations steam, armour, deal with questions connected and the rifled gun - and for with ships and their fittings, educational reform. The sysbut would neither help them tem of entry and education, much in the study of war nor which had enjoyed a struggling turn their thoughts in that existence from the year 1729 direction? The late Sir Cooper until its abolition in 1837, Key, the most distinguished was again introduced in 1857. “Collegian,” was the first Presi- But instead of the Portsmouth dent of the Greenwich College, College, a harbour trainingand, as has been shown by the ship-eventually the Britannia late Admiral Colomb, never -was used. The age on entry fully understood the funda- remained practically the same mentals of naval strategy. from 1815 until 1898, when a This must have been due to material increase was made. some extent to his education, The facts are as follows :
It may be noted that during these appear to have passed the eighteenth century the age through the Portsmouth on going to sea varied between Academy, with its two years' ten and seventeen, those who course of instruction. did not join the Academy em- Up to the time of actually barking generally younger than going to sea no great difference those who did. Keppel was existed between the College ten; Rodney, Hawke, and Nelson, system of 1815 and the twelve ; Jervis, thirteen; Dun- Britannia course of 1898. It can and Keith, fifteen; Dun- is true that in 1868 a sea-going donald, seventeen. Not one of training-ship was introduced,
in which the cadets passed one tions, in gunnery on board the year; but this was abolished in Excellent, in navigation and 1873, as it was rightly held steam at the Portsmouth Colthat the fleet itself, with all its lege. During the 'Sixties acvaried experience, must neces- celerated promotion was given sarily give a professional train- to those who took first-class ing far better and more real certificates in the three subjects. than could be obtained amid The examinations thus became the artificial surroundings of a competitive instead of simply special training-ship. In 1902 for a "pass.” The advantages the Britannia was found to be derived from early promotion too small for the increased were so great that this change number of cadets. Regardless soon began to make itself felt, of past experience, a sea-going and was wide-reaching in its training-ship was started to results. Although candidates provide the necessary accom- only went to the Excellent and modation.
The professional College to pass, they were training of the boys would allowed time in each have gained by drafting them to prepare for examination. direct into the fleet, but Under the pressure of comspecial training-ship was more petition, demands were first favourable to producing officers made to equalise these times of the same pattern and to for all, and then to extend the passing of examinations. them with a view to education What would the modern Navy instead of merely preparation., be without superficial examin- When the Greenwich College ations !!!
was opened this was done. It is in the education after Commencing 1st January 1874, leaving the training-ship that the gunnery course
in the the great and vital change was Excellent was fixed at three made. For a practical train- months, and that for navigaing unsurpassed was gradually tion at the College at six
substituted a very inferior book months. Subsequently were V education. A Chinese system added a pilotage course, and in
of examinations was the engine 1882 a torpedo course in the by means of which this was Vernon. By 1886 the system brought about.
had been entirely changed, and The original examination in was then as follows: Cadets seamanship for the rank of entered at ages between twelve lieutenant was
and thirteen and a half passed “pass” to ascertain whether two years in the Britannia, the candidate was competent went to sea between fourteen to take charge of a ship at sea, and fifteen and a half, served and was conducted by three at sea five years less the time captains or commanders, as allowed out of the Britanniabeing most interested in seeing one year being the maximumthat the officers under them passed in seamanship and joined were efficient. This was sup- the College between nineteen plemented by "pass” examina- and twenty and a half. They
now passed through the follow- The effect of these examining courses of instruction: at ations on the naval service has Greenwich, for navigation and been profound. The profesmathematics, six months; in sional career of the present Vernon, for torpedo, one month ; generation has been governed in Excellent, for gunnery, three by ability to pass examinations months; at Portsmouth, for rather than by their practical pilotage, two months. This professional knowledge. So consumed, including leave and much has depended upon the interruptions of various kinds, result of the examinations that about fifteen months. The age practical training at sea has on completing the whole varied been sacrificed to prepare for between 203 and 2112 years. them. The qualifying sea
Those who passed the best service has been reduced. This examinations were immediately was six years during the sailpromoted, and gained upwards ing era, five years and six of two years over their con- months in 1859, and only three temporaries. As in the case years and six months in 1900, of the gold medal of the Ports- including Britannia time in mouth College with its lieu- each case, which might be tenant's commission, this was twelve months as a maximum considered so excessive that an in 1859 and four months in attempt was made to mitigate 1900. Midshipmen have been it. In 1891 was introduced a so largely withdrawn from the graduated scale, based on the ordinary duties of their ships classes of certificates obtained. for the purpose of attending This scale made accelerated school, that they have not had promotion applicable not only sufficient opportunity to acto those who took all first-class quire practical knowledge of certificates, but to others who the working and management passed less well. The competi- of ships, their fittings, equiption was extended by this to a ment, and armament. Unlike much larger number of officers, their predecessors, they have instead of limiting it to those in not made themselves familiar the first flight. At the same with the practical working time, it was recognised to be of the motive power. They futile to attempt to pass the have become lieutenants, notwhole body of sub-lieutenants withstanding that they unthrough the same mathematical doubtedly possessed less knowcourse, thus confirming the ledge of these matters than opinion given by Professor their predecessors. This has Main of the Portsmouth Col. been recognised in so far lege twenty years before. The that, whereas formerly when a Greenwich course was divided midshipman passed in seamaninto two parts of three months ship for the rank of lieutenant each, the first only being com- he was held to be qualified to pulsory. This was the first take charge of a ship, such is sign of a reaction against the now not the case. He must system.
now, after passing all his ex