The new Hanoverian dynasty that came to power with the accession of George I in 1714 inherited the largest navy in the world. In the course of the century, this force would see a vast amount of action against nearly every major navy, reaching a pinnacle of success in the Seven Years War only to taste defeat in the American Revolutionary struggle, when it faced the combined navies of France, Spain, the Netherlands, and the rebellious colonies themselves. Considering the contribution to history of these ships, there is surprisingly little readily available on their careers. Now this gap is comprehensively filled by this superb reference book, outlining the service history of every ship, built, purchased or captured, that fought for the Royal Navy in the great wars of the eighteenth century - well over 2000 vessels. The book is organised by Rate, classification and class, with outline technical and building data, but followed by a concise summary of the careers of each ship in every class. This includes commissioning dates, refit periods, changes of captain, the stations where they served (and when), as well as details of any noteworthy actions in which they took part.
It will enable anyone to follow up a casual reference to any warship, and will provide the researcher with a solid core of information on which to base further study. With nothing remotely like it in print, this is a work of the utmost importance to every naval historian and general reader interested in the navy of the sailing era.
Rif Winfield has worked in the shipping and computer industries, has been for many years a charity director, has operated his own retail businesses (with his wife Ann), and has been a candidate for elections to Parliament and other levels of government, including serving as an elected Councillor and being appointed to government posts in health and in local government. A life-long researcher into naval history, he lives in Mid Wales and is the author of a number of standard works on the ships of the British Navy.