Officers in the ‘Fishpond’ and their Roles in the Royal Navy of the Fisher Era 1904-1919

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific


Admiral Sir John Fisher was the leading figure behind the considerable reforms that took place in the Royal Navy before and during the First World War. Britain was engaged in a costly naval arms race with Imperial Germany during the Fisher era of 1904-1919. The controversial admiral surrounded himself with a network of followers who were tangential to the success and continuation of many of his reforms. This network has been termed the ‘Fishpond’. It is often seen as a valuable resource for Fisher, enabling him to realize his organizational reforms. On the other hand, derogatory perspectives also prevail, as a ‘Syndicate of Discontent’ was formed to oppose Fisher’s designs. This article examines the role of the Fishpond in relation to the official institutions of the RN. Who were the most influential officers in the Fishpond and how did their careers evolve under Fisher’s patronage? What were their roles in carrying out Fisher’s reforms? Finally, how effective was the Fishpond in general as a ‘tool’ in the reform process of the RN, especially in the face of the fierce internal opposition to it?
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Naval History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeB1 Non-refereed journal articles


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