British Naval Intelligence through the Twentieth C

  • Subject: Espionage & Intelligence
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    35 photographs and maps
  • Published:
    October 15, 2020
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    39 oz
Hardcover $56.95
Member Price $45.56 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


This is the first comprehensive account of how intelligence influenced and sustained British naval power from the mid nineteenth century, when the Admiralty first created a dedicated intelligence department, through to the end of the Cold War.It brings a critical new dimension to our understanding of British naval history in this period while setting naval intelligence in a wider context and emphasizing the many parts of the British state that contributed to naval requirements.It is also a fascinating study of how naval needs and personalities shaped the British intelligence community that exists today and the concepts and values that underpin it.

Andrew Boyd explains why and how intelligence was collected and assesses its real impact on policy and operations. He confirms that naval intelligence was critical to Britain’s survival and ultimate victory in the two World Wars but significantly reappraises its role, highlighting the importance of communications intelligence to an effective blockade in the First, and according Ultra less dominance compared to other sources in the Second. It reveals that coverage of Germany before 1914 and of the three Axis powers in the interwar period was more comprehensive and effective than previously suggested; and while British power declined rapidly after 1945, the book shows how intelligence helped the Royal Navy to remain a significant global force for the rest of the twentieth century, and in submarine warfare, especially in the second half of the Cold War, to achieve influence and impact for Britain far exceeding resources expended. 

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“A masterly history of British naval intelligence that deserves to be placed in the essential category. This book brings a new dimension to the historiography of naval operations in the twentieth century.” —Australian Naval Institute
British Naval Intelligence is an unprecedented and important addition to our knowledge…. It cements Dr Boyd’s reputation as one of our leading naval and intelligence historians of this generation. Boyd offers us nothing less than a comprehensive rebalancing and a new way of looking not only at naval intelligence but at the entire modern history of British intelligence and hence of the deployment of British power.” —Naval News
British Naval Intelligence through the Twentieth Century adds new information to the history of the British navy and to the development of war-winning naval intelligence…. [An] important and enlightening book.” —Navy Reads
“Highly recommended both as an essential summary of British naval intelligence operations, strengths, and limitations, and also as a source of a good many insightful commentaries on major aspects of the history of British naval policy, strategy, and operations.” —Warship International
“Andrew Boyd authored a fantastic read which is chock full of knowledge, insight, and understanding…. Boyd not only brings in the human dimension to this fascinating history—he also mixes in the understanding of politics and economics as vital and inseparable parts of an unfolding history. Readers will better understand the motivations of Russia, France, Italy, the United States and Japan as well as Great Britain—through their national personalities as well as each economic and political development. British Naval Intelligence is refreshing in seeking and obtaining an all-around understanding.” —Travel for Aircraft