THIS book was primarily designed for the use of officers passing through the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, who while requiring to know something of the practical applications of chemistry to their profession if they are to carry out its multifarious duties intelligently and efficiently, have only a very limited amount of time to give to the study of the science. The naval officer nowadays is confronted with conditions which were absolutely unknown to and undreamt of by those who were placed in charge of our old “wooden walls.” Steam and steel and high explosives have completely revolutionised the navies of to-day, and modern men-of-war are the embodiment of the most advanced developments of mechanical, physical, and chemical science. He who would handle these costly creations to the best advantage needs to have acquaintance with the scientific principles upon which their construction, maintenance, and effective employment depend, and what intelligent handling means, and what momentous issues may depend upon it, was demonstrated in a manner which profoundly impressed the whole world in the ever-memorable battle of the Sea of Japan. That object-lesson has given rise to much heart searching on the part of every maritime Power. Whether we are bettering the example of our Eastern ally—whether, indeed, we are really following it—is a matter which gravely concerns this nation. It would, of course, be out of place in this connection to discuss the various factors upon which the astonishing success of Japan depended; patriotism, courage, the spirit of self-sacrifice, discipline, intelligence, and integrity in a word, what we understand by moral were no doubt at the bottom of it all. But these qualities alone might have availed little unless supplemented by skilful direction of the machinery and appliances of which our modern engines of destruction are built up, and skilful direction depends upon an intelligent appreciation of the scientific principles underlying the construction and efficient use of these appliances. The rulers of rejuvenated Japan had clearly grasped this fact, and it cannot be questioned that it is to the manner in which they have given practical effect to this recognition in the training of their naval and military leaders, even during the short space of a generation, that their supremacy in the East is mainly due.
Service Chemistry: a Short Manual of Chemistry and its Applications in the Naval and Military Services.
By Vivian B. Lewes J. S. S. Brame. Third and revised edition. Pp. xvi + 675. (London: Henry Glaisher; Greenwich: J. Glaisher, 1906.)
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Service Chemistry: a Short Manual of Chemistry and its Applications in the Naval and Military Services . Nature 75, 266–267 (1907) doi:10.1038/075266a0