I have great pleasure in presenting this volume in the series “Official History of the Indian Armed Forces in World War II”, prepared by the Combined Inter-Service Historical Section, Indian & Pakistan. While the war was still going on, a small organisation attached to the Chief of the General Staff was set up for collecting and collating records relating to the activities of the Indian Armed Forces in the global conflict. This later developed into the War Department Historical Section. After the partition of India the Section was reconstituted under a civilian historian in 1948 as a joint venture of the two countries (India & Pakistan) and commissioned to write a history of the part played in the second world war by the armed forces of pre-partition India. This history was planned to be published in about twenty-four volumes – seventeen in the general and seven in the medical series.

The present volume is one in the general series and describes the history of the Royal Indian Navy from its very beginning under the East India Company, when it was known as the Indian Marine, to 1945. Although the Royal Indian Navy was created by the British rulers of India, we had a rich maritime heritage before the advent of the British and a chapter on that subject has also been added in the beginning. The book then goes on to describe the different organisational changes and phases through which the RIN passed and the position at the outbreak of war in 1939. The bulk of the book is naturally devoted to a detailed description of the history of the Navy, both organisational and operational, during the war period.

This volume was written by Instructor Lt. D. J. E. Collins, IN, who was specially deputed by the Naval Headquarters to work in and consult the records of the Historical Section for this purpose. The Naval Headquarters constituted a panel of senior naval officers with the Director of Naval Planning as Chairman to examine in detail the drafts of different chapters as and when they were ready and to suggest improvements or corrections. The panel held more than forty sittings and went into each and every detail of the draft at all stages of its production before giving its final approval. Later the draft was seen by the Chief of Naval Staff also. My thanks are due to him, the members of the panel and to the author for their painstaking efforts in making the draft so thorough and authoritative. The volume was seen in the typescript by the Directorate of

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Intelligence New Delhi and General Headquarters, G.S. Branch (Historical Section) Pakistan. I acknowledge my thanks to these bodies also. Finally I thank Shri P. N. Khera for help in editing the narrative and seeing it through the Press and Shri T. D. Sharma for preparing maps for it.

In conclusion I thank the Ministries of Defence of India and Pakistan for their support and encouragement.

Bisheshwar Prasad

New Delhi

April 1964