Obituary: Professor Eric Grove, naval historian

Professor Eric Grove, who has died at 73, was one of Britain’s foremost naval historians and a leading light within the Royal United Services Institute, the independent think tank on international defence and security.

Professor Eric Grove

Professor Eric Grove, who has died at 73, was one of Britain’s foremost naval historians and a leading light within the Royal United Services Institute, the independent think tank on international defence and security.

A larger-than-life character, he was a major figure in his field, a regular conference speaker and a prolific writer and broadcaster.

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With his colleague, Michael Codner, he set up a series of conferences at Northern universities which brought together experts and students from Leeds, Salford, York, Bradford, Hull and elsewhere. The 2002 conference was held in Hull, where Professor Grove had been director of the Centre for Security Studies.

Born in Bolton in 1948, he took an MA in War Studies at King’s College London in 1971 and was appointed that year as a civilian lecturer at the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. During the 1970s he wrote books on tanks and armoured warfare, and in 1980 he became the first Dartmouth academic to spend a year with the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Leaving Dartmouth at the end of 1984, he worked for the Council for Arms Control before becoming a freelance defence consultant, while also teaching at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and at Cambridge.

It was in 1993 that he took a post as senior lecturer at Hull University, where he obtained a PhD on the basis of his published works and became Reader in Politics and International Studies. In 2005, he moved to Salford University as professor of naval history and director of the Centre for International Security and War Studies. He retired from full-time teaching in 2015.

His books include Vanguard to Trident, The Future of Sea Power, Sea Battles in Close-Up and Fleet to Fleet Encounters, and he was a co-author of the official publication The Fundamentals of British Maritime Doctrine.

He is survived by his wife, Swee Poh.