War at Sea

In 1914, the British Royal Navy was the most powerful fleet in the world. For more than a century, Britain’s control of the seas ensured the vital trade and supply routes to the Empire and shielded the British mainland against invasion. The First World War saw this dominance challenged by the German High Seas Fleet and by a new and terrifying weapon, the U-boat.

© IWM (Q 39274) THE ROYAL NAVY BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Coronel and the Falkland Islands

The battles at Coronel and the Falkland Islands were the first serious engagements between the British Royal Navy and Imperial German Navy.

Sailors of HMS Barham (NMRN)

Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland, fought over 36 hours beginning on 31 May 1916, was the largest naval battle of the First World War.