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Cocoa, sir?

Ian Jack: The Royal Navy, 2 January 2003

Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-45 
by Christopher McKee.
Harvard, 285 pp., £19.95, May 2002, 0 674 00736 0
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Rule Britannia: The Victorian and Edwardian Navy 
by Peter Padfield.
Pimlico, 246 pp., £12.50, August 2002, 0 7126 6834 9
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... its history as ‘the pre-eminent sea-fighting force of the post-1500 world’, in the words of Christopher McKee, resonated still in school history books, comics and war films (Officer with mug: ‘Cocoa, sir?’ Officer with binoculars: ‘Good man, Number One!’). The most popular cigarette brands suggested that seagoing manliness and smoking were ...

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