Colonial naval culture and British imperialism, 1922-67

By Daniel Spence

Colonial naval culture and British imperialism, 1922-67


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9177-3
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2015
  • BIC Category: History, Naval forces & warfare, Military history, HISTORY / Maritime History & Piracy, HISTORY / Military / Naval, Humanities / Maritime history, Humanities / Military history, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Modern History
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


Naval forces from fifteen colonial territories fought for the British Empire during the Second World War, providing an important new lens for understanding imperial power and colonial relations on the eve of decolonisation.

With sources from Britain, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, this book examines the political, social and cultural impact of these forces; how they fortified British 'prestige' against rival imperialisms and colonial nationalisms; the importance of 'men on the spot', collaboration, 'naval theatre', and propaganda in mobilising colonial navalism; the role of naval training within the 'civilising mission' and colonial development; and how racial theory influenced naval recruitment, strategy and management, affecting imperial sentiment, ethnic relations, colonial identities, customs and order.

This book will appeal to imperial, maritime and regional historians, by broadening our understanding of navies as social and cultural institutions, where power was expressed through the ideas and relations they cultivated, as well as their guns.


'Not since the days when Herbert Richmond occupied Cambridge University's Vere Harmsworth chair in imperial and naval history has the interconnections between the two fields been so studiously regarded by a newer generation of historians comfortable in the historiography of both genres.'
Chris Madsen, North Vancouver, British Columbia, The Northern Mariner, April 2016


Introduction: The origins of colonial naval development

Part I: The Caribbean
The Cayman Islands

Part II: East Africa
Kenya and Zanzibar, pre-1945
Post-war East Africa

Part III: Southeast Asia
The Straits Settlements and Malaya

Part IV: East Asia
Hong Kong, pre-1945
Post-war Hong Kong



Daniel Owen Spence is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State

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