‘Not … like a rum-ration’: Amphetamine Sulphate, the Royal Navy and the evolution of policy and medical research during the Second World War

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This article explores the evolution of the Royal Navy’s policy relating to the use of amphetamines during the Second World War. This discussion, which demonstrates the ground-breaking yet restrictive nature of naval drug policy, is placed in the wider context of medical research in the Royal Navy during the conflict in which the organisation was the last of the Services to develop its own personnel research committee. In turn, the article examines the motivation for utilising the drug, which included considerations relating to both wakefulness, in combat situations, and wellbeing, in survival at sea situations.


Original languageEnglish
JournalWar in History
Early online date12 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2017


  • Amphetamines, Benzedrine, Royal Navy, Drugs, Medical Research, Second World War