Sir John Fisher's Speech to the Royal Academy, 1903

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Admiral Sir John A. Fisher gave a speech at the annual Banquet of the Royal Academy on 2 May, 1903.[1]


The Navy always readily appreciates the kind words in which this toast is proposed and always thank [the?] kind manner in which it is always received. I beg to thank you especially, Mr. President, for your kind reference to Captain Percy Scott [one of the guests], which was so well deserved. He was indeed a handy man. (Cheers.) Personally I have not the same pleasurable feelings on this occasion as I enjoyed last year, when I had no speech to make. I remember quite well remarking to my neighbour, "How good the whitebait is, how excellent the champagne, and how jolly not to have to make a speech." He glared at me and said, "I have got to make a speech, and the whitebait to me is no bait, and the champagne is real pain." (Laughter.) He was so ready with his answer that I thought to myself, "You'll get through it all right," and sure enough he did for spoke 30 minutes by the clock without a check. (Laughter.) I am only going to give you three minutes (Cries of "No.") Yes. I always think on these occasions of the first time I went to sea on board my first ship, a little sailing two-decker, and I saw inscribed in great big gold letters the one word "Silence." (Laughter.)


  1. Reproduced verbatim in "The Royal Academy Banquet" (News). The Times. Monday, 2 May, 1903. Issue 37071, col A, p. 4.