Prince Mahidol had a deep interest in public health and medicine that had been cultivated during his studies in Great Britain, Germany, and the United States. In 1905, when he was 13, his father King Rama V sent him to London to the Harrow School, where he remained for 18 months. His father, perhaps because of his acquaintance with the German Kaiser, then decided that Mahidol should move to Berlin for military training at the Imperial Military Academy. When Rama VI ascended the throne, he convinced the Prince to enroll in the German Naval Academy. In addition to his studies, the Prince was assigned to a German battleship, where he cleaned decks and shovelled coal.
Pictures from excerpt of the book Innovative Partners: The Rockefeller Foundation And Thailand.
He graduated from the academy second in his class. Returning to Thailand as war in Europe approached, he took a teaching position at the Royal Naval Academy. His tenure was marked by controversy because he advocated a Thai navy of numerous patrol boats designed to protect the country's extensive coastline, while senior officers favored a navy of fewer but larger heavily armed ships.
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