Annual Naval Meetings

First held in Bristol in April 1979, the annual naval meeting features presentations from well-known academic historians and authors as well as enthusiasts, researchers, divers and veterans.

Now held in Bristol on the first Saturday in June each year, each meeting starts with discussion of he answers to a pre-meeting quiz before moving on to illustrated presentations. Each meeting will feature a keynote speaker who delivers the annual D.K. Brown memorial lecture and there is also a warship identification quiz. Each meeting includes a range of presentations including topics from the First and Second World Wars, the post 1945 period and one other subject.

Sponsored by WARSHIPS

Presentations in recent years have included:

  1. The development of the Victorian battleship in the late 19th Century.
  2. WARRIOR versus GLOIRE.
  3. Diving the wreck of the cruiser MANCHESTER.
  4. Royal Navy AA gunnery during the Second World War.
  5. The performance of Japanese submarines during 1941 – 45.
  6. The development of the fast submarine in the Royal Navy post 1945.
  7. The scuttling of the French Fleet at Toulon in November 1942.
  8. The German invasion of Norway in 1940.
  9. Mers el Kebir July 1940.
  10. The Royal Navy and the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940.
  11. The 21-inch torpedo as the Royal Navy’s principal anti-ship weapon during the First & Second World Wars.

These meetings are also an excellent opportunity for naval enthusiasts to get together and discuss their interests with like-minded people as well as having the opportunity to purchase naval photographs and books at very reasonable prices.

Should you wish to attend an annual naval meeting please contact the organiser at

Reports of Past Meetings

38th Annual World Ship Society Naval Meeting: 28th May 2016

About 40 members attended the 38th Annual Naval Meeting, which was held in the Hawthorns, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UQ on Saturday 28th May 2016, started at 10.30 and ended at 17.00.

Dr Innes McCartney, who delivered the ninth DK Brown lecture entitled Diving the Jutland Wrecks, started proceedings by describing the circumstances surrounding the loss of so many warships during the First World War’s largest naval battle on 31st May/1st June 1916. He explained how, by using the latest multi-beam technology mapping technology, cutting-edge image creation and physical surveys of the wrecks, he was able locate and evaluate the condition of the wrecks thereby providing answers to long-answered questions as well as some startling new revelations. His ground -breaking research, which has generated the first new information about this infamous battle for 80 years, resulted in a profusely-illustrated and very well-received presentation. Not unexpectedly, Innes’ fine lecture generated considerable discussion during a wide-ranging Q & A session.

After lunch, Professor Andrew Lambert gave a fascinating lecture entitled Inventing the modern ship - and the modern world, Charles Napier, Aaron Manby and J.M.W. Turner. Andrew evaluated Turner’s work in relationship to the defeat of Napoleon, the growth of the British Empire and the consequent need for the United Kingdom to embrace advances in marine technology. This beautifully crafted, highly engrossing and thoroughly enjoyed presentation was so much more than mere art appreciation and left us all with a much better understanding of Turner and his work.

Our third speaker was Dr Ed Hampshire, who in a talk entitled John Nott’s 1981 Infamous Defence Review, discussed the behind the scene machinations that led up to the ill-conceived White Paper that, but for the Falklands War, would have reduced the Royal Navy to little more than an anti-submarine escort force. Ed explained the drivers behind the defence review and how various key personnel in the MoD at that time attempted to implement Government policy so as to maintain Army strength in Germany at the expense of flexible naval forces. All-in-all it was a fascinating account of the events just prior to the war in the South Atlantic and it triggered a considerable number of Q & As.

The final speaker was Dr Aidan Dodson, who in a presentation entitled After the War: the Allies and the Fate of the German Navy after 1918, described how the units of the High Seas Fleet were disposed of after the Armistice. After outlining the fate of those ships interned in Scapa Flow, Aidan explained the fate of those vessels allocated to the victorious Allies, the basis upon which that allocation was made and went on to outline their subsequent service careers. This was yet another well-researched and well-illustrated paper covering a lesser known aspect of the First World War.