Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett has officially launched a book that highlights important maritime aspects of the Great War, at an event at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
In All Respects Ready: Australia’s Navy in World War One by Navy historian Dr David Stevens, was commended to the assembled group including descendants of First World War veterans, former and current serving personnel.
Vice Admiral Barrett described the book as the most comprehensive and authoritative account of the Australian Navy’s involvement in the war and one that sets a new benchmark in our understanding of the role of the Australian Navy in the Great War.
He drew on his recent attendance at First World War commemorations in Papua New Guinea, Western Australia and in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to describe those early engagements as critical to a broader maritime campaign aimed at securing Australia’s vital interests.
"For the remainder of the First World War the overwhelming bulk of Navy's experience was the ceaseless campaigning to drive the enemy from the seas and to secure our troops and trade," Vice Admiral Barrett said.
"The Navy's war was conducted over the horizon - still crucial to Australia but out of sight and overwhelmed in the popular memory by the scale of casualties on the Western Front.
"However, the rapid securing of Australia's region and security of our links to the rest of the world - our maritime lifelines - was an outstanding achievement for the the young Royal Australian Navy," he said.
A four year research and writing project, In All Respects Ready is the first detailed account of Australia's role in the Great War at sea since the late 1920s when the naval volume of the official history series was published.
It features previously unpublished photographs and especially designed figures and maps and also makes use of untapped archival records, intelligence reports and private diaries not available to the author of the official history.
Aimed at both scholars of naval history and the general reader, In All Respects Ready uses a combination of ship and personal narratives set against the campaigns in which they served. Each chapter concludes with a story of a particular individual, some well known, others long forgotten but each story reveals a particular aspect of Australia's naval experience from the early preparations for war to the Armistice in 1918 and its implications.
In All Respects Ready: Australia’s Navy in World War One is published through Oxford University Press - Australia (2014).