Fittest Of The Fit, Health and Morale in the Royal Navy, 1939-1945

The author and publisher are to be commended for providing a study of the much neglected subject of sailors’ fitness. The Royal Navy has long recognized the importance of its sailors maintaining the highest levels of health and morale even if historians have generally neglected this critical area of the ability to wage war – Very Highly Recommended

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NAME: Fittest Of The Fit, Health and Morale in the Royal Navy, 1939-1945
FILE: R2984
AUTHOR: Kevin Brown
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword, Seaforth Publishing
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 276
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: World War Two, World War 2, World War II, WWII, Second World 
War, Home Front, mobilization, civilians in uniform, hostilities only sailors, war 
at sea, storms, enemy action, fitness, rations, training

ISBN: 978-1-5267-3427-3

IMAGE: B2984.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y5jy9yqs
LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: The author and publisher are to be commended for providing a 
study of the much neglected subject of sailors' fitness. The Royal Navy has long 
recognized the importance of its sailors maintaining the highest levels of health 
and morale even if historians have generally neglected this critical area of 
the ability to wage war –   Very Highly Recommended

The British became known as Limeys because of Royal Navy policy to issue foods 
that would keep its sailors healthy. The Hornpipe dance developed from the exercises 
carried out to maintain physical fitness and health in the confined spaces of wooden 
warships in the days of sail and muzzle-loading cannon. When WWII broke out, 
the Royal Navy already had developed a suite of health and fitness measures that 
had been proven over centuries across the World's oceans and seas.

In 1939, the British naval strength was rapidly expanded. Before the outbreak of 
war, exercises were carried out, mobilizing naval reserves and bringing mothballed 
warships back into service. At the end of the exercises, the Admiralty did not 
demobilize, but prepared for global war, building up supplies of fuel, food and other 
stores at key locations around the World. Warships began to move to their war 
stations. At the same time an unprecedented building program and a greatly 
expanded recruitment effort  saw the Royal Navy grow considerably in size and 
have warships and shore personnel serving across the climatic conditions of the globe.

The reserves included sailors of pension age and many reserves that had been 
demobilized for decades. They had to all be brought up to a common minimum 
level of fitness and their morale had to be maintained. To those returning from 
reserve were added large numbers of civilians recruited or drafted into RN service. 
For them, they had to learn about technologies and working conditions that were 
new to them and to experience the vast extremes of conditions in global naval service.

The author has followed the measures introduced from the induction of new sailors 
through to seasoned naval personnel working under testing and extreme conditions. 
It is a fascinating story and immensely important to understanding the requirements 
on naval personnel. The the RN knew the care of their personnel was vital in 
maintaining capabilities, particularly at sea when sailors removed from service due 
to illness or unfitness could not be replaced until the ship returned to port. That 
degraded ship performance and placed even greater pressure of the remaining crew 
members. The author has also made this book understandable by placing everything 
in context with other British services and with US Navy practice, painting a rounded 
picture.