Ruling the Empire and the Waves

It was the finest navy the world had ever known, and its splendor was never more stirringly displayed. The year was 1897, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and the Royal Navy assembled at Spithead, off Portsmouth, for review. Decks scrubbed white, brasswork gleaming, wheelhouse glass sparkling, the ships stretched along the coast in four lines seven miles long. There were 173 in all, including more than 50 battleships. At the same time, 160 other units of the Queen's Grand Fleet were on patrol in every sea in the world.

The Diamond Jubilee appropriately...

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