The Naval War in Northern European Waters, August 1914–February 1915
by James Goldrick
Published by Naval Institute Press
Link to book here
RRP US$44.95 in paperback
It wasn’t until I looked further into this book that I realised it had started life back in the 1970s long before James Goldrick had advanced to the rank of rear admiral. Throughout 1978 he worked on early drafts. He went to sea in 1979 and at the end of that year was offered an opportunity for an exchange posting with the Royal Navy on fishery protection duties in the North Sea. He writes that operating in northern British waters began to open his eyes to the difficulty of what ships were trying to do in 1914. As a result, he says, he rewrote much of his text.
So this book first appeared in 1984 as The King’s Ships were at Sea: The War in the North Sea August 1914-February 1915. The intervening years and experience caused him to look at 1914 through different eyes, he says.
This new edition is his effort to cast light on what happened in 1914-15 – it is an operational history to which he now brings his not inconsiderable naval experience.
Here is an interesting link in which James Goldrick writes about becoming an historian
(He is a retired two-star rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy who led Australia’s Border Protection Command and the Australian Defence College. He lives in Canberra.)
About the book: Before Jutland is a definitive study of the naval engagements in northern European waters in 1914–15 when the German High Sea Fleet faced the Grand Fleet in the North Sea and the Russian Fleet in the Baltic. Author James Goldrick combines new historical information from primary sources with a comprehensive analysis of the operational issues, making this book an extensive revision of his earlier work.
The Australian Naval Institute were full of praise for the work:
“It is a masterly work that combines a lifetime of study with extensive experience of seamanship, command and control written by one of Australia’s pre-eminent naval officers. James Goldrick ends his remarkable book with the observation that the more one comprehends what happened at sea in 1914 and early 1915, the more that the events of Jutland, the Dardanelles and of 1917-18 become understandable, if not inevitable. Be in no doubt that this one is the essential key to a full understanding of the naval war and I wholeheartedly recommend it as the outstanding work on the subject.”—Australian Naval Institute