The Russian War, 1855: Black Sea

Vol 85 (1945), Capt. A.C. Dewar

The second Cabinet print of January 1856 deals with the naval campaign, excluding the work of the Naval Brigade ashore throughout the siege of Sevastopol.

While the latter operation dominated the theatre Vice Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons’ fleet maintained an effective blockade of the Russian coast, secured the vital logistics lifeline that fed armed and equipped the armies and conducted coastal attacks. The latter culminated in the key strategic move of the season when British, French and Turkish troops, with powerful Anglo-French naval support captured Kerch and opened the Sea of Azov. This allowed a small force of British gunboats to cut the main Russian logistics link across the Azov into the Crimea, effectively ending the siege.

After the fall of Sevastopol in September an allied fleet and army captured the key Russian fortress of Kinburn, an action that witnessed the first use of armoured warships. The Black Sea prints were introduced by Captain Alfred Dewar of the Naval Historical Section.

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About A.C. Dewar

Older brother of Vice-Admiral Sir Kenneth Dewar. Entered the Royal Navy and retired with the rank of Lieutenant in 1910, had been given the War Service rank of Commander in 1916 and retired for a second time as a Captain shortly after the Armistice. Both were serving in the Admiralty when Lord Beatty (then First Sea Lord) required an opposite view to the Harper Record (see The Jellicoe Papers, Volume 2, and The Beatty Papers, Volume 2). Their Naval Staff Appreciation is biased in favour of Beatty, and was never published, being suppressed by Beatty’s successor, Charles Madden.

His publications include

• The Navy and the Conference (Quarterly Review, 1922).
• Our Navy for a Thousand Years, with Sir S. Eardley-Wilmot (Sampson Low, 1932).
• The Russian War, 1854: Baltic and Black Sea with D. Bonner-Smith (Navy Records Society, 1943).
• The Russian War, 1855: The Black Sea (Navy Records Society, 1945).