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The Royal Navy has always been seen as an English institution, despite a large Scottish contribution, from Admiral Duncan at Camperdown in 1797 to Andrew Cunningham in the Second World War. The Royal Navy's most dramatic effect on Scotland, aside from its role in the British Empire and European wars, was in suppressing the Jacobite campaigns from 1708 to 1746. This book breaks new ground in telling the stories of almost forgotten campaigns, such as the submarine war in the Firth of Forth in 1914-18. In two world wars, and since the 1960s, a large proportion of the Navy's power has been based in Scotland, from the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow to Trident submarines at Faslane. Most British sailors of the Second World War had part of their training in Scotland, and the famous base at Tobermory was only one of many. Yet, the Navy never felt at home in Scotland. As one Scottish admiral put it, 'In both wars the Royal Navy flooded into Scotland to make use of our deep water ports and sea lochs for large-scale and safer anchorages. After each war the Navy unimaginatively retreated en masse to the Channel.' The book ends with a unique account of the setting up of the controversial missile bases in the Holy Loch and Gareloch. Brian Lavery then looks at the future in order to determine the effect devolution and possible independence might have on Scotland and the Royal Navy.
- Birlinn, November 2012
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