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Conference on early 20th Century Anglo-German naval arms race to be held in Portsmouth

The Anglo-German naval arms race during the early twentieth century and the Great War at sea before the Battle of Jutland is the focus of a three-day conference at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth from Wednesday to Friday July 16th – 18th and includes the rare opportunity to enjoy dinner on board HMS Victory.


Keynote speakers from around the world include Professor Nicholas Rodgers, Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford; prolific naval history author, US-based Professor Norman Friedman and Australian naval historian and analyst Rear Admiral James Goldrick.


The conference programme will cover topics from the arms race and popular culture through the use of intelligence to economic warfare in war and peace.


Tickets are available online here   or by contacting


Tickets start from £75 for students and include all light refreshments, lunches, dinner on board HMS Victory and a wine reception within the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s newly-opened 20th century  HMS – Hear My Story and  Racing to War exhibitions. 

Baker. Soldier. ‘Sailor’

The story of Alfred Smith as a baker, a soldier and a ‘sailor’ is told in the different items kindly donated by his family. When the First World War broke out Alfred Frank Smith was a baker in Sussex; to 'do his bit' he joined the local Volunteer Training Regiment - a sort of Home Guard - but then in 1916 he opted to join the Royal Navy and go to sea.

However, instead of joining a ship he became an infantry soldier in the Royal Naval Division and, despite being a married man of 26, he was classified as a Boy Sailor! He was assigned to the 'Hood ' Battalion as a Lewis Gunner and sent to fight in the trenches in France. On the 28th September 1918 he was hit in the chest by a German bullet which lodged itself close to his heart. Luckily the bullet was at the end of its flight and it didn't cause serious damage. It was enough though to take Alfred out of the fight and into a convalescent camp at Blandford in Dorset where, wearing his blue hospital uniform, the local people would take him into their homes for meals. Demobilised in 1919 Alfred bought a Newsagent & Tobacconist shop in Lewis. He had 10 children and died in 1974 with the German bullet still lodged close to his heart.