May 2, 2020

By BRIAN KRAPF

Many postcards were produced depicting Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty during his 1911–1915 tenure. This one, however, is my personal favorite. The graphics are superb. What can be better than Churchill pictured along with a modern Dreadnaught battle cruiser? The caption, “Aye, Ready!” clearly shows Britain is eager and able to “rule the waves,” and that Churchill is the man to lead her great fleet to victory.

When Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he was tasked with rebuilding and modernizing the Royal Navy. Through his efforts, Britain was able to enter the Great War in 1914 with new, state of the art ships. Churchill also added an air wing, the Royal Naval Air Service, which would merge with the British Army’s Royal Flying Corps in 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. Of course, Churchill would again become First Lord of the Admiralty in Neville Chamberlain’s government at the start of the Second World War in 1939 before becoming Prime Minister upon Chamberlain’s resignation in 1940.

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