John Knox Laughton

(1830—1915) naval educator and historian

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(1830–1915), naval historian. Born in Liverpool, England, on Saint George's Day, April 23, 1830, Laughton graduated from Cambridge University in 1852 with a first-class degree and a commitment to serve his country. Laughton entered the Royal Navy as an instructor in 1853, then served afloat in the Crimean and Second China wars 1854–1859, attracting attention for outstanding pedagogic skills and courage under fire. From 1866, Laughton taught at the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth. As a scientist and professional educator he developed a sophisticated methodology to recover the principles underpinning his subjects. After writing college textbooks on oceanography and hydrographic surveying, he focused on the development of naval doctrine. The introduction of ironclad steamships persuaded most commentators that the past was irrelevant, but Laughton demonstrated that history could play a vital role in developing contemporary naval thought.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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