About

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Down and out in Venice, 2016.

I’m a 31 year old motorcycle salesman who has spent a decade systematically studying the Royal Navy from the entry of John Arbuthnot, first Lord Fisher, as a naval cadet in 1854 up to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. My focus has tended to be on the officers of the Military Branch of the Navy, to which end I have accumulated well over 3,000 Royal Navy service records, consulted dozens of collections of papers at archives, and have copies of nearly every naval memoir or biography written between 1850 and 1950.

My interest in naval history was rekindled through the efforts of Tony Lovell, who founded the online resource The Dreadnought Project, a world-class resource for naval history which I now have the honour of co-editing. My contributions centre mainly on personnel and Admiralty administration, but the site’s main strength lies in its detailed history of British fire control apparatus of the First World War.

On occasion I have given my expertise, such as it is, to production companies and other historians in need of it, and am always happy to assist other historians in their research whereever I can. I can be reached at simon AT dreadnoughtproject.org. Some of my work can be seen at the Publications page.

I travel extensively both for work and research, and can regularly be found in bars or archives up and down the length of the United Kingdom. I can be found on Twitter under the handle @SimonHarley. The Twitter account of the Dreadnought Project is at @NavyHistorian.

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