Admiral Describes Himself As “Lucky First Sea Lord”

Posted on October 31, 2019

Admiral Tony Radakin was giving the annual Gallipoli Memorial Lecture at the Defence Think-Tank RUSI, as he looked back on the lessons that could be learnt from the Gallipoli campaign from a 21st Century maritime perspective.

In 1915 as Commander of the Fleet, Winston Churchill was unimpressed by the humdrum, yet effective work of the Royal Navy protecting merchant shipping and blocking German supply route in the North Sea and the Atlantic, and craved action.

During his speech, the First Sea Lord also said he wanted the Royal Navy today to promote a greater understanding of what he called the “military instrument” across Whitehall and the country.

With two new aircraft carriers newly afloat – although not operational, and the new £1.25billion contract to build five new frigates having just been signed, he was keen to stress the senior service’s value for money.

“Navies are things you use every day at peace and war, at home and abroad, on, under and above the water.

“In today’s world of constant competition, we can deliver constant presence, and that makes sound economic as well as strategic sense,” Adm Radakin added.

While the annual Gallipoli Memorial Lecture seeks to expose the flaws in this costly and unsuccessful campaign, the First Sea Lord pointed out it was the mistakes of Gallipoli which led to the successes of the Normandy landings 29 years later.

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