There is something about certain historical figures that draws writers. Many years ago I did an undergrad course on the intersection between history and biography where my specialist focus was Admiral Sir John Fisher, the volcanic, combatative and controversial head of the Royal Navy during the ‘naval race’ that led up to the First World … More OMG! – the story of Admiral Fisher and his biographers
A little while back some guy on social media informed me for the umpteenth time that New Zealand couldn’t afford HMS New Zealand – a major warship that the government gave to Britain in late March 1909 – because (according to him) the colony was too small, in recession and had only minimal labour force. … More How to pay for expensive government projects by drinking beer
The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval battle of the First World War and produced casualties of similar scale to the disastrous ‘pushes’ on the Western Front. Over six thousand British sailors died and more than 2,550 German, all in a hectic afternoon and night. More than half of the British were lost in … More Remembering history – the battle of Jutland, 116 years on
I have a new book out next week. The battlecruiser New Zealand – a gift to Empire is being published in Britain by Seaforth, and in the United States by USNI Press. A little later this year it’s also being published in New Zealand by Oratia Books. It’s a very special book to me because … More The battlecruiser New Zealand – a gift to Empire
It’s 105 years, this 31 May, since the Battle of Jutland – the only clash of the great dreadnought fleets built during the Anglo-German naval race that came before the First World War. One of my two great uncles serving with the Royal Navy at the time was there, aboard the super-dreadnought HMS Orion. And … More Remembering Jutland – New Zealand style
I’ve been writing articles for the US website Navy General Board for a while now. The latest is up – so, without further ado, hie thee hence and check it out! Click the photo to jump across, and please do admire the marvellous scrollwork on the bows on the way. Copyright © Matthew Wright 2019 … More The ‘other’ HMS Hood – my latest article for the Navy General Board.
It’s the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland this week – the clash of British and German fleets on 31 May-1 June 1916 – and one of the tangible connections I have to it, aside from my professional historical work, is through my great uncle’s old navy mess fork. It was issued to him when … More This week in history: Jutland and my great uncle’s navy mess fork
I’ve been writing for a US website, the Navy General Board, for a couple of years now. They are building up a wide array of reference articles on naval history, a fair number of them by Yours Truly. The NGB have a strong presence on Facebook and a major website – and that’s only the … More Check out the Navy General Board’s incredible history website
Have you ever been grabbed by history and had the raw emotion of a past event suddenly explode across you in all its human depth and drama? It’s this – and not lists of numbers – that makes history interesting. Add music to the mix and you can create a historical account that has tremendous … More Capturing the feeling of history with music… and the Bismarck
Back in 2001 I wrote a book on New Zealand’s naval history. Blue Water Kiwis was picked up by the Royal New Zealand Navy to mark their sixtieth anniversary that year, and launched (but not literally) on the flight-deck of HMNZS Te Mana. I remember that evening rather well, not least because my wife and … More Blue Water Kiwis – second edition out now!