Michael Lewis was born on 3 January 1890 in Freeland, Oxfordshire, the son of a vicar. He was educated at Uppingham and Trinity College Cambridge, where he took a BA in 1912 and an MA in 1924. In World War I he served in the Royal Marines from 1914 to 1919 becoming a Lieutenant. In 1913 he was appointed an assistant master at the Royal Naval College, Osbourne. In 1922 he was appointed deputy head of history at BRNC Dartmouth, and in 1934 he became Professor of History at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, where he remained until retirement in 1955. He was also a lecturer in naval history at the Royal Naval Staff College and Senior Officers War Course. He died on 3 February 1970.
He was an active member of the Navy Records Society, serving on its publications committee from 1938, as well as regular spells on its council. He was an equally active member of the Society for Nautical Research, chairing their council from 1951 to 1960. He was a member of the HMS Victory Technical Committee from 1955. He was the introducer on British TV for the American series of 26 30 minute programmes on navies in the Second World War, Victory at Sea.
His publications include
• England’s Sea-officers: the story of the naval profession (Allen & Unwin, 1939).
• The Navy of Britain: A historical portrait (Allen & Unwin, 1948).
• Sir William Dillon’s Narrative of Professional Adventures, 1790 – 1830, 2 volumes (Navy Records Society, 1953, 1956).
• The History of the British Navy (Penguin, 1957).
• Armada Guns: a comparative study of English and Spanish armaments (Allen& Unwin, 1961).
• The Navy in Transition, 1814 – 1864: a social history (Hodder & Stoughton, 1966).
• The Hawkins Dynasty: three generations of a Tudor family (Allen & Unwin, 1969).
• Spithead: an informal history (Allen & Unwin. 1972).
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