In our lecture organised in conjunction with the History department of Lancaster University, Dr Scott Lindgren, standing in for Professor Eric Grove, and a lecturer at the University of Hull spoke on the Maritime First World War in Lancaster University on 26 November. Professor Stephen Decent, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) welcomed the audience which totalled about 90, including 40 LMHG members, Sea & Air Cadets but sadly few from the University. A buffet supper was provided... by the University afterwards.
Dr Lindgren spoke of the effects of the naval blockade upon Germany, that it inevitably took a long time to make an impact but it caused Germany huge economic problems and also considerable starvation. He suggested that because of the certainty of the consequences of this naval blockade the long term outcome of WW1 was ordained once Germany had failed in August / September 1914 to sweep rapidly through the western front. The old, not necessarily fashionable, ships which maintained the blockade were the real workers who achieved the impact of the blockade. He spoke of the skirmishes between the more prestigious surface ships in the North Sea, none of them decisive, and mentioned Jutland, and remarked that there was no need for the Royal Navy to engage in any of these battles; all that was required was that the Grand Fleet remained in being. He also discussed the war in the Mediterranean and the U-boat campaigns against merchant ships and the antagonism of the USA that these caused.
In all it was a thought-provoking talk, especially for those not too aware of the warfare away from the Western Front.
Dr Scott Lindgren has subsequently written: it was an excellent audience, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Q&A afterward. It is always stimulating to have such a good audience, and hopefully to provide a slightly different perspective on the conflict, from the often overlooked naval side.
I hope the evening will encourage full audiences at our future lectures. The next one is on Tue 19 January, a talk on The Cockleshell Heroes by Paul Flint. It will take plce in the Skerton Liberal Club, Lancaster.