Six sailors from HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain's largest and most powerful aircraft carrier, were reportedly arrested and taken into custody over drunk and disorderly behavior in Jacksonville, Florida, this week.
Following in the wake of the U.S. Navy, a British warship recently challenged China's excessive claims to the disputed South China Sea, provoking a confrontation with the Chinese military and triggering outrage in Beijing.
At the height of the British empire in the 19th century, the Royal Navy was renowned for its military might, a global force that imbued its sailors with a special form of geopolitical pride. A British tar was “a soaring soul, as free as a mountain bird,” according to Victorian rap duo Gilbert and Sullivan. “His energetic fist should be ready to resist a dictatorial word.”