|Part of||His Majesty's Naval Service|
|Naval Staff Offices||Whitehall, London, United Kingdom|
|Motto(s)||"Si vis pacem, para bellum" (Latin)|
(If you wish for peace, prepare for war)
|March||Quick – "Heart of Oak" Play (help·info)|
Slow – Westering Home (de facto)
|Commander-in-Chief||King Charles III|
|Lord High Admiral||Vacant|
|First Sea Lord||Admiral Sir Ben Key|
|Second Sea Lord||Vice Admiral Martin Connell|
|Fleet Commander||Vice Admiral Andrew Burns|
|Warrant Officer to the Royal Navy||Warrant Officer 1 Carl Steedman|
|White Ensign[nb 3]|
|Naval jack[nb 4]|
of the British Armed Forces
|History and future|
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is consequently known as the Senior Service.
From the middle decades of the 17th century, and through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and later with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world's most powerful navy until the Second World War. The Royal Navy played a key part in establishing and defending the British Empire, and four Imperial fortress colonies and a string of imperial bases and coaling stations secured the Royal Navy's ability to assert naval superiority globally. Owing to this historical prominence, it is common, even among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification. Following World War I, it was significantly reduced in size, although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines and mostly active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and it remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies.
The Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships, submarines, and aircraft, including 2 aircraft carriers, 2 amphibious transport docks, 4 ballistic missile submarines (which maintain the nuclear deterrent), 6 nuclear fleet submarines, 6 guided missile destroyers, 12 frigates, 9 mine-countermeasure vessels and 26 patrol vessels. As of October 2022, there are 72 operational commissioned ships (including submarines as well as one historic ship, HMS Victory) in the Royal Navy, plus 11 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA); there are also five Merchant Navy ships available to the RFA under a private finance initiative. The RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, and augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels. It also works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy, often doing patrols that frigates used to do.
The Royal Navy is part of His Majesty's Naval Service, which also includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord who is an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom. The Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates from three bases in Britain where commissioned ships and submarines are based: Portsmouth, Clyde and Devonport, the last being the largest operational naval base in Western Europe, as well as two naval air stations, RNAS Yeovilton and RNAS Culdrose where maritime aircraft are based.
As the seaborne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN has stated its six major roles as detailed below in umbrella terms.
The Royal Navy was formally founded in 1546 by Henry VIII though the Kingdom of England and its predecessor states had possessed less-organised naval forces for centuries prior to this.
During much of the medieval period, fleets or "king's ships" were often established or gathered for specific campaigns or actions, and these would disperse afterwards. These were generally merchant ships enlisted into service. Unlike some European states, England did not maintain a small permanent core of warships in peacetime. England's naval organisation was haphazard and the mobilization of fleets when war broke out was slow. Control of the sea only became critical to Anglo-Saxon kings in the 10th century. In the 11th century, Aethelred II had an especially large fleet built by a national levy. During the period of Danish rule in the 11th century, the authorities maintained a standing fleet by taxation, and this continued for a time under Edward the Confessor, who frequently commanded fleets in person. After the Norman Conquest, English naval power waned and England suffered naval raids from the Vikings. In 1069, this allowed for the invasion and ravaging of England by Jarl Osborn (brother of King Svein Estridsson) and his sons.
The lack of an organised navy came to a head during the First Barons' War, in which Prince Louis of France invaded England in support of northern barons. With King John unable to organise a navy, this meant the French landed at Sandwich unopposed in April 1216. John's flight to Winchester and his death later that year left the Earl of Pembroke as regent, and he was able to marshal ships to fight the French in the Battle of Sandwich in 1217 – one of the first major English battles at sea. The outbreak of the Hundred Years War emphasised the need for an English fleet. French plans for an invasion of England failed when Edward III of England destroyed the French fleet in the Battle of Sluys in 1340. England's naval forces could not prevent frequent raids on the south-coast ports by the French and their allies. Such raids halted only with the occupation of northern France by Henry V. A Scottish fleet existed by the reign of William the Lion. In the early 13th century there was a resurgence of Viking naval power in the region. The Vikings clashed with Scotland over control of the isles though Alexander III was ultimately successful in asserting Scottish control. The Scottish fleet was of particular import in repulsing English forces in the early 14th century.
A standing "Navy Royal", with its own secretariat, dockyards and a permanent core of purpose-built warships, emerged during the reign of Henry VIII. Under Elizabeth I, England became involved in a war with Spain, which saw privately owned vessels combining with the Queen's ships in highly profitable raids against Spanish commerce and colonies. The Royal Navy was then used in 1588 to repulse the Spanish Armada, but the English Armada was lost the next year. In 1603, the Union of the Crowns created a personal union between England and Scotland. While the two remained distinct sovereign states for a further century, the two navies increasingly fought as a single force. During the early 17th century, England's relative naval power deteriorated until Charles I undertook a major programme of shipbuilding. His methods of financing the fleet contributed to the outbreak of the English Civil War, and the abolition of the monarchy.
The Commonwealth of England replaced many names and symbols in the new commonwealth navy, associated with royalty and the high church, and expanded it to become the most powerful in the world. The fleet was quickly tested in the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–1654) and the Anglo-Spanish War (1654-1660), which saw the conquest of Jamaica and successful attacks on Spanish treasure fleets. The 1660 Restoration saw Charles II rename the Royal Navy again, and started use of the prefix HMS. The navy remained a national institution and not a possession of the Crown as it had been before. Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, England joined the War of the Grand Alliance which marked the end of France's brief pre-eminence at sea and the beginning of an enduring British supremacy.
In 1707, the Scottish navy was united with the English Royal Navy. On Scottish men-of-war, the cross of St Andrew was replaced with the Union Jack. On English ships, the red, white, or blue ensigns had the St George's Cross of England removed from the canton, and the combined crosses of the Union flag put in its place. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the Royal Navy was the largest maritime force in the world, maintaining superiority in financing, tactics, training, organisation, social cohesion, hygiene, logistical support and warship design. The peace settlement following the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1714) granted Britain Gibraltar and Menorca, providing the Navy with Mediterranean bases. The expansion of the Royal Navy would encourage the British colonization of the Americas, with British (North) America becoming a vital source of timber for the Royal Navy. There was a defeat during the frustrated siege of Cartagena de Indias in 1741. A new French attempt to invade Britain was thwarted by the defeat of their escort fleet in the extraordinary Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759, fought in dangerous conditions. In 1762 the resumption of hostilities with Spain led to the British capture of Manila and of Havana, along with a Spanish fleet sheltering there. British naval supremacy could however be challenged still in this period by coalitions of other nations, as seen in the American War of Independence. The United States was allied to France, and the Netherlands and Spain were also at war with Britain. In the Battle of the Chesapeake, the British fleet failed to lift the French blockade, resulting in the surrender of an entire British army at Yorktown.
The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793–1801, 1803–1814 & 1815) saw the Royal Navy reach a peak of efficiency, dominating the navies of all Britain's adversaries, which spent most of the war blockaded in port. Under Lord Nelson, the navy defeated the combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar (1805). Ships of the line and even frigates, as well as manpower, were prioritised for the naval war in Europe, however, leaving only smaller vessels on the North America Station and other less active stations, and a heavy reliance upon impressed labour. This would result in problems countering large, well-armed United States Navy frigates which outgunned Royal Naval vessels in single-opponent actions, as well as United States privateers, when the American War of 1812 broke out concurrent with the war against Napoleonic France and its allies. The Royal Navy still enjoyed a numerical advantage over the former colonists on the Atlantic, blockading the Atlantic seaboard of the United States throughout the war and carrying out (with Royal Marines, Colonial Marines, British Army, and Board of Ordnance military corps units) various amphibious operations, most notably the Chesapeake campaign. On the Great Lakes, however, the United States Navy established an advantage.
Between 1815 and 1914, the Navy saw little serious action, owing to the absence of any opponent strong enough to challenge its dominance, though it did not suffer the drastic cutbacks the various military forces underwent in the period of economic austerity that followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the American War of 1812 (when the British Army and the Board of Ordnance military corps were cutback, weakening garrisons around the empire, the Militia became a paper tiger, and the Volunteer Force and Fencible units disbanded, though the Yeomanry was maintained as a back-up to the police). Britain relied, throughout the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century, on Imperial fortress colonies (originally Bermuda, Gibraltar, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Malta, though military control on Nova Scotia passed to the new Dominion government after the 1867 Confederation of Canada and naval control of the Halifax yard was transferred to the new Royal Canadian Navy in 1905) as bases for naval squadrons with stores and dockyard facilities. These allowed control not only of the Atlantic, but it was presumed also of the other oceans. Prior to the 1920s, it was presumed that the only navies that could challenge the Royal Navy belonged to nations on the Atlantic ocean or its connected seas. Britain would rely on Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, to project power to the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean via the Suez Canal after its completion in 1869 and relying on amity and common interests between Britain and the United States during and after the First World War, on Bermuda (and Halifax) to project power in North America, and later North America and the West Indies. During this period, naval warfare underwent a comprehensive transformation, brought about by steam propulsion, metal ship construction, and explosive munitions. Despite having to completely replace its war fleet, the Navy managed to maintain its overwhelming advantage over all potential rivals. Owing to British leadership in the Industrial Revolution, the country enjoyed unparalleled shipbuilding capacity and financial resources, which ensured that no rival could take advantage of these revolutionary changes to negate the British advantage in ship numbers. In 1889, Parliament passed the Naval Defence Act, which formally adopted the 'two-power standard', which stipulated that the Royal Navy should maintain a number of battleships at least equal to the combined strength of the next two largest navies. The end of the 19th century saw structural changes and older vessels were scrapped or placed into reserve, making funds and manpower available for newer ships. The launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906 rendered all existing battleships obsolete. The transition at this time from coal-fired to petrol-powered ships would encourage Britain to colonize former Ottoman territories in the Middle East, especially Iraq.
The Royal Navy played an historic role in several great global explorations of science and discovery. Beginning in the 18th century many great voyages were commissioned often in co-operation with the Royal Society, such as the Northwest Passage expedition of 1741. James Cook led three great voyages, with goals such as discovering Terra Australis, observing the Transit of Venus and searching for the elusive North-West Passage, these voyages are considered to have contributed to world knowledge and science.
In the late 18th century, during a four year voyage Captain George Vancouver made detailed maps of the Western Coastline of North America. In the 19th century Charles Darwin made further contributions to science during the second voyage of HMS Beagle. The Ross expedition to the Antarctic made several important discoveries in biology and zoology. Several of the Royal Navy's voyages ended in disaster such as those of Franklin and Scott.
During the First World War, the Royal Navy's strength was mostly deployed at home in the Grand Fleet, confronting the German High Seas Fleet across the North Sea. Several inconclusive clashes took place between them, chiefly the Battle of Jutland in 1916. The British fighting advantage proved insurmountable, leading the High Seas Fleet to abandon any attempt to challenge British dominance. For its part, the Royal Navy under John Jellicoe also tried to avoid combat and remained in port at Scapa Flow for much of the war. This was contrary to widespread prewar expectations that in the event of a Continental conflict Britain would primarily provide naval support to the Entente Powers while sending at most only a small ground army. Nevertheless, the Royal Navy played an important role in securing the British Isles and the English Channel, notably ferrying the entire British Expeditionary Force to the Western Front without the loss of a single life at the beginning of the war.
At the end of the war, the Royal Navy remained by far the world's most powerful navy. It was larger than the U.S. Navy and French Navy combined, and over twice as large as the Imperial Japanese Navy and Royal Italian Navy combined. Its former primary competitor the Imperial German Navy was destroyed at the end of the war. In the inter-war period, the Royal Navy was stripped of much of its power. The Washington and London Naval Treaties imposed the scrapping of some capital ships and limitations on new construction.
The lack of an Imperial fortress in the region of Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean was always to be a weakness throughout the nineteenth century as the former North American colonies that had become the United States of America had multiplied towards the Pacific coast of North America, and the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire both had ports on the Pacific and had begun building large, modern fleets which went to war with each other in 1905. Britain reliance on Malta, via the Suez Canal, as the nearest Imperial fortress was improved (relying on amity and common interests that developed between Britain and the United States during and after the First World War), by the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914), allowing the cruisers based in Bermuda to more easily and rapidly reach the eastern Pacific Ocean (after the war, the Royal Navy's Bermuda-based North America and West Indies Station was consequently re-designated the America and West Indies station, including a South American division). However, the rising power and increasing belligerence of the Japanese Empire after the First World War would result in the construction of the Singapore Naval Base, which was completed in 1938, less than four years before hostilities with Japan did commence during the Second World War. In 1932, the Invergordon Mutiny took place in the Atlantic Fleet over the National Government's proposed 25% pay cut, which was eventually reduced to 10%. International tensions increased in the mid-1930s and the re-armament of the Royal Navy was well under way by 1938. In addition to new construction, several existing old battleships, battlecruisers and heavy cruisers were reconstructed, and anti-aircraft weaponry reinforced, while new technologies, such as ASDIC, Huff-Duff and hydrophones, were developed.
At the start of World War II in 1939, the Royal Navy was still the largest in the world, with over 1,400 vessels. The Royal Navy provided critical cover during Operation Dynamo, the British evacuations from Dunkirk, and as the ultimate deterrent to a German invasion of Britain during the following four months. The Luftwaffe under Hermann Göring attempted to gain air supremacy over southern England in the Battle of Britain in order to neutralize the Home Fleet, but faced stiff resistance from the Royal Air Force. The Luftwaffe bombing offensive during the Kanalkampf phase of the battle targeted naval convoys and bases in order to lure large concentrations of RAF fighters into attrition warfare. At Taranto, Admiral Cunningham commanded a fleet that launched the first all-aircraft naval attack in history. The Royal Navy suffered heavy losses in the first two years of the war. Over 3,000 people were lost when the converted troopship Lancastria was sunk in June 1940, the greatest maritime disaster in Britain's history. The Navy's most critical struggle was the Battle of the Atlantic defending Britain's vital North American commercial supply lines against U-boat attack. A traditional convoy system was instituted from the start of the war, but German submarine tactics, based on group attacks by "wolf-packs", were much more effective than in the previous war, and the threat remained serious for well over three years.
After the Second World War, the decline of the British Empire and the economic hardships in Britain forced the reduction in the size and capability of the Royal Navy. The United States Navy instead took on the role of global naval power. Governments since have faced increasing budgetary pressures, partly due to the increasing cost of weapons systems. In 1981, Defence Secretary John Nott had advocated and initiated a series of cutbacks to the Navy. The Falklands War however proved a need for the Royal Navy to regain an expeditionary and littoral capability which, with its resources and structure at the time, would prove difficult. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Royal Navy was a force focused on blue-water anti-submarine warfare. Its purpose was to search for and destroy Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic, and to operate the nuclear deterrent submarine force. The navy received its first nuclear weapons with the introduction of the first of the Resolution-class submarines armed with the Polaris missile.
Following the conclusion of the Cold War, the Royal Navy began to experience a gradual decline in its fleet size in accordance with the changed strategic environment it operated in. While new and more capable ships are continually brought into service, such as the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, Astute-class submarines, and Type 45 destroyers, the total number of ships and submarines operated has continued to steadily reduce. This has caused considerable debate about the size of the Royal Navy, with a 2013 report finding that the current RN was already too small, and that Britain would have to depend on her allies if her territories were attacked. The financial costs attached to nuclear deterrence have become an increasingly significant issue for the navy.
The titular head of the Royal Navy is the Lord High Admiral, a position which was held by the Duke of Edinburgh from 2011 until his death in 2021 and since then remains vacant. The position had been held by Queen Elizabeth II from 1964 to 2011; the Sovereign is the Commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom. The Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence, which directs the Navy Board, a sub-committee of the Admiralty Board comprising only naval officers and Ministry of Defence (MOD) civil servants. These are all based in MOD Main Building in London, where the First Sea Lord, also known as the Chief of the Naval Staff, is supported by the Naval Staff Department.
The Fleet Commander has responsibility for the provision of ships, submarines and aircraft ready for any operations that the Government requires. Fleet Commander exercises his authority through the Navy Command Headquarters, based at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth. An operational headquarters, the Northwood Headquarters, at Northwood, London, is co-located with the Permanent Joint Headquarters of the United Kingdom's armed forces, and a NATO Regional Command, Allied Maritime Command.
The Royal Navy was the first of the three armed forces to combine the personnel and training command, under the Principal Personnel Officer, with the operational and policy command, combining the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief, Fleet and Naval Home Command into a single organisation, Fleet Command, in 2005 and becoming Navy Command in 2008. Within the combined command, the Second Sea Lord continues to act as the Principal Personnel Officer. Previously, Flag Officer Sea Training was part of the list of top senior appointments in Navy Command, however, as part of the Navy Command Transformation Programme, the post has reduced from Rear-Admiral to Commodore, renamed as Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training.
The Naval Command senior appointments are:
|Professional Head of the Royal Navy|
|Admiral||Sir Ben Key||First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff|
|Vice Admiral||Andrew Burns||Fleet Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Edward Ahlgren||Commander Operations|
|Rear Admiral||Michael Utley||Commander United Kingdom Strike Force|
|Lieutenant General||Robert Magowan||Commandant General Royal Marines|
|Second Sea Lord & Deputy Chief of Naval Staff|
|Vice Admiral||Martin Connell||Second Sea Lord & Deputy Chief of Naval Staff|
|Vice Admiral||James Parkin||Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Capability) and Director Development|
|Rear Admiral||Iain Lower||Director Strategy and Policy|
|Rear Admiral||Jude Terry||Director People and Training / Naval Secretary|
|The Venerable||Andrew Hillier||Chaplain of the Fleet|
Intelligence support to fleet operations is provided by intelligence sections at the various headquarters and from MOD Defence Intelligence, renamed from the Defence Intelligence Staff in early 2010.
Main article: List of Royal Navy shore establishments
Historically, the Royal Navy divided the planet into a number of Stations, the number and boundaries of which changed over time. The former stations of the Royal Navy included the East Indies Station (1744-1831); East Indies and China Station (1832-1865); East Indies Station (1865-1913); Egypt and East Indies Station (1913-1918); East Indies Station (1918-1941). In response to increased Japanese threats, the separate East Indies Station was merged with the China Station in December 1941, to form the Eastern Fleet. Later the Eastern Fleet became the East Indies Fleet. In 1952, after the Second World War ended, the East Indies Fleet became the Far East Fleet.
The Royal Navy currently operates from three bases in the United Kingdom where commissioned ships are based; Portsmouth, Clyde and Devonport, Plymouth—Devonport is the largest operational naval base in the UK and Western Europe. Each base hosts a flotilla command under a commodore, responsible for the provision of operational capability using the ships and submarines within the flotilla. 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines is similarly commanded by a brigadier and based in Plymouth.
Historically, the Royal Navy maintained Royal Navy Dockyards around the world. Dockyards of the Royal Navy are harbours where ships are overhauled and refitted. Only four are operating today; at Devonport, Faslane, Rosyth and at Portsmouth. A Naval Base Review was undertaken in 2006 and early 2007, the outcome being announced by Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, confirming that all would remain however some reductions in manpower were anticipated.
The academy where initial training for future Royal Navy officers takes place is Britannia Royal Naval College, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon. Basic training for future ratings takes place at HMS Raleigh at Torpoint, Cornwall, close to HMNB Devonport.
Significant numbers of naval personnel are employed within the Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support and on exchange with the Army and Royal Air Force. Small numbers are also on exchange within other government departments and with allied fleets, such as the United States Navy. The navy also posts personnel in small units around the world to support ongoing operations and maintain standing commitments. Nineteen personnel are stationed in Gibraltar to support the small Gibraltar Squadron, the RN's only permanent overseas squadron. Some personnel are also based at East Cove Military Port and RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands to support APT(S). Small numbers of personnel are based in Diego Garcia (Naval Party 1002), Miami (NP 1011 – AUTEC), Singapore (NP 1022), Dubai (NP 1023) and elsewhere.
On 6 December 2014, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced it would expand the UK's naval facilities in Bahrain to support larger Royal Navy ships deployed to the Persian Gulf. Once completed, it became the UK's first permanent military base located East of Suez since it withdrew from the region in 1971. The base is reportedly large enough to accommodate Type 45 destroyers and Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
The navy was referred to as the "Navy Royal" at the time of its founding in 1546, and this title remained in use into the Stuart period. During the interregnum, the commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell replaced many historical names and titles, with the fleet then referred to as the "Commonwealth Navy". The navy was renamed once again after the restoration in 1660 to the present title.
Today, the navy of the United Kingdom is commonly referred to as the "Royal Navy" both in the United Kingdom and other countries. Navies of other Commonwealth countries where the British monarch is also head of state include their national name, e.g. Royal Australian Navy. Some navies of other monarchies, such as the Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy) and Kungliga Flottan (Royal Swedish Navy), are also called "Royal Navy" in their own language. The Danish Navy uses the term "Royal" incorporated in its official name (Royal Danish Navy), but only "Flåden" (Navy) in everyday speech. The French Navy, despite France being a republic since 1870, is often nicknamed "La Royale" (literally: The Royal).
Main article: List of ships of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy ships in commission are prefixed since 1789 with His Majesty's Ship (or "Her Majesty's Ship", when the monarch is a queen), abbreviated to "HMS"; for example, HMS Beagle. Submarines are styled HM Submarine, also abbreviated "HMS". Names are allocated to ships and submarines by a naming committee within the MOD and given by class, with the names of ships within a class often being thematic (for example, the Type 23s are named after British dukes) or traditional (for example, the Invincible-class aircraft carriers all carry the names of famous historic ships). Names are frequently re-used, offering a new ship the rich heritage, battle honours and traditions of her predecessors. Often, a particular vessel class will be named after the first ship of that type to be built. As well as a name, each ship and submarine of the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is given a pennant number which in part denotes its role. For example, the destroyer HMS Daring (D32) displays the pennant number 'D32'.
The Royal Navy ranks, rates and insignia form part of the uniform of the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy uniform is the pattern on which many of the uniforms of the other national navies of the world are based (e.g. Ranks and insignia of NATO navies officers, Uniforms of the United States Navy, Uniforms of the Royal Canadian Navy, French Naval Uniforms).
|Royal Navy officer rank insignia|
|His Majesty's Naval Service Epaulette Rank Insignia|
|Rank Title:||Admiral of the Fleet||Admiral||Vice admiral||Rear admiral||Commodore||Captain||Commander||Lieutenant commander||Lieutenant||Sub-Lieutenant||Midshipman||Officer Cadet|
|Abbreviation:||Adm. of the Fleet[nb 5]||Adm||VAdm||RAdm||Cdre||Capt||Cdr||Lt Cdr||Lt||Sub Lt / SLt||Mid||OC|
|Royal Navy other rank insignia|
|United Kingdom Rank Insignia (View)|
|Rank Title:||Warrant Officer 1||Warrant Officer 2||Chief Petty Officer||Petty Officer||Leading Rating||Able Rating|
1 Rank in abeyance – routine appointments no longer made to this rank, though honorary awards of this rank are occasionally made to senior members of the Royal family and prominent former First Sea Lords.
Main article: Customs and traditions of the Royal Navy
The Royal Navy has several formal customs and traditions including the use of ensigns and ships badges. Royal Navy ships have several ensigns used when under way and when in port. Commissioned ships and submarines wear the White Ensign at the stern whilst alongside during daylight hours and at the main-mast whilst under way. When alongside, the Union Jack is flown from the jackstaff at the bow, and can only be flown under way either to signal a court-martial is in progress or to indicate the presence of an admiral of the fleet on-board (including the Lord High Admiral or the monarch).
The Fleet Review is an irregular tradition of assembling the fleet before the monarch. The first review on record was held in 1400, and the most recent review as of 2022[update] was held on 28 June 2005 to mark the bi-centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar; 167 ships from many different nations attended with the Royal Navy supplying 67.
There are several less formal traditions including service nicknames and Naval slang, known as "Jackspeak". The nicknames include "The Andrew" (of uncertain origin, possibly after a zealous press ganger) and "The Senior Service". British sailors are referred to as "Jack" (or "Jenny"), or more widely as "Matelots". Royal Marines are fondly known as "Bootnecks" or often just as "Royals". A compendium of Naval slang was brought together by Commander A.T.L. Covey-Crump and his name has in itself become the subject of Naval slang; Covey-Crump. A game traditionally played by the Navy is the four-player board game known as "Uckers". This is similar to Ludo and it is regarded as easy to learn, but difficult to play well.
See also: Nautical fiction
The Royal Navy of the 18th century is depicted in many novels and several films dramatising the voyage and mutiny on the Bounty. The Royal Navy's Napoleonic campaigns of the early 19th century are also a popular subject of historical novels. Some of the best-known are Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series and C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower chronicles.
The Navy can also be seen in numerous films. The fictional spy James Bond is a commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). The Royal Navy is featured in The Spy Who Loved Me, when a nuclear ballistic-missile submarine is stolen, and in Tomorrow Never Dies when the media mogul Elliot Carver sinks a Royal Navy warship in an attempt to trigger a war between the UK and People's Republic of China. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was based on Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. The Pirates of the Caribbean series of films also includes the Navy as the force pursuing the eponymous pirates. Noël Coward directed and starred in his own film In Which We Serve, which tells the story of the crew of the fictional HMS Torrin during the Second World War. It was intended as a propaganda film and was released in 1942. Coward starred as the ship's captain, with supporting roles from John Mills and Richard Attenborough.
C. S. Forester's Hornblower novels have been adapted for television. The Royal Navy was the subject of the 1970s BBC television drama series, Warship, and of a five-part documentary, Shipmates, that followed the workings of the Royal Navy day to day.
Television documentaries about the Royal Navy include: Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World, a four-part documentary depicting Britain's rise as a naval superpower, up until the First World War; Sailor, about life on the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; and Submarine, about the submarine captains' training course, 'The Perisher'. There have also been Channel 5 documentaries such as Royal Navy Submarine Mission, following a nuclear-powered fleet submarine.
The BBC Light Programme radio comedy series The Navy Lark featured a fictitious warship ("HMS Troutbridge") and ran from 1959 to 1977.
Britannia, with her shield and trident, is the very symbol, not only of the Royal Navy, but also of British global power. In the last instance, the Royal Navy is the United Kingdom's greatest strategic asset and instrument. As the only other 'blue-water' navy other than those of France and the United States, its ballistic missile submarines carry the nation's nuclear deterrent and its aircraft carriers and escorting naval squadrons supply London with a deep oceanic power projection capability, which enables Britain to maintain a 'forward presence' globally, and the ability to influence events tactically throughout the world.
...the United States and the United Kingdom have the world's two best world-spanning blue-water navies... with the French being the only other candidate... and China being the most likely competitor in the long term
Bermuda is still an Imperial fortress
In the North American and West Indian station the naval base is at the Imperial fortress of Bermuda, with a garrison numbering 3068 men, of whom 1011 are Colonials; while at Halifax, Nova Scotia, we have another naval base of the first importance which is to be classed amongst our Imperial fortresses, and has a garrison of 1783 men.
((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
There were more than 44,000 troops stationed overseas in colonial garrisons, and slightly more than half of these were in imperial fortresses: in the Mediterranean, Bermuda, Halifax, St. Helena, and Mauritius. The rest of the forces were in colonies proper, with a heavy concentration in New Zealand and South Africa. The imperial government paid approximately £1,715,000 per annum toward the maintenance of these forces, and the various colonial governments contributed £370,000, the largest amounts coming from Ceylon and Victoria in Australia.
Besides the Imperial fortress of Malta, Gibraltar, Halifax and Bermuda it has to maintain and arm coaling stations and forts at Siena Leone, St. Helena, Simons Bay (at the Cape of Good Hope), Trincomalee, Jamaica and Port Castries (in the island of Santa Lucia).
with full responsible control of their purely local affairs, the control of the naval and military services and of such other services and functions of government as are connected with the position of Malta as an imperial fortress and harbour remaining vested in the Imperial authorities.
As a fortress, Bermuda is of the first importance. It is situated almost exactly half-way between the northern and the southern naval stations; while nature has made it practically impregnable. The only approach lies through that labyrinth of reefs and narrow channels which Captain Kennedy has described. The local pilots are sworn to secrecy; and, what is more reassuring, by lifting buoys and laying down torpedoes, hostile vessels trying to thread the passage must come to inevitable grief, So far Bermuda may be considered safe, whatever may be the condition of the fortifications and the cannon in the batteries. Yet the universal neglect of our colonial defences is apparent in the fact that no telegraphic communication has hitherto been established with the West Indies on the one side, or with the Dominion of Canada on the other.
The objectives for America are clearly marked,—Halifax, Quebec, Montreal, Prescott, Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. Halifax and Vancouver are certain to be most energetically attacked, for they will be the naval bases, besides Bermuda, from which England would carry on her naval attack on the American coasts and commerce.
There is a strongly fortified dockyard, and the defensive works, together with the intricate character of the approaches to the harbour, render the islands an almost impregnable fortress. Bermuda is governed as a Crown colony by a Governor who is also Commander-in-Chief, assisted by an appointed Executive Council and a representative House of Assembly.
Such were some of the reasons why it appeared to him, that her Majesty's forces should be increased. He might go to other stations Bermuda for instance. All who were conversant with the interests of our West-Indian and North American possessions must know that Bermuda was one of our most important posts—a station where the navy could be refitted with the greatest ease, where during the last war we had about 2,000,000l. value in stores, where our ships (such was the safety of the anchorage) could at all times take refuge. This island had been fortified at very great expense; for some years 5,000 convicts had been engaged on the works, and it was most important in every point of view that this island should be maintained in a state of perfect security. For a long time even after the determination of the sympathisers in the United States to attack us had been known, the force at Bermuda was never greater than a small battalion of 480 or 500 men, perfectly inadequate to do the duties of the station. Considering that this post was one of great consequence, that immense sums had been expended upon it, and that the efficiency of the navy in those seas was chiefly to be secured by means of it, it was indispensable, that it should be in safe keeping. To what quarter were they to look for further reinforcements, should they be needed, to increase our army in America, in the event of the dispute between New Brunswick and Maine becoming more serious? Not to the West Indies, from which two battalions had already been withdrawn. Not to the Canadas, for communication between these provinces and New Brunswick was impracticable, separated as they were by a wilderness of 400 or 500 miles. In the other colonies every man was required. From the Ionian islands not one could be spared, from Malta not one. From Gibraltar, perhaps, one battalion more could be squeezed, if they could bring themselves to inflict great additional hardship on the troops now in garrison there, It really appeared to him absolutely necessary, that Government should look to the state of the army—should fairly consider the amount of work done by it, and apply themselves to the question, whether it was their duty to increase the military force.
The Royal Navy utilise HM Naval Base Gibraltar
With its rocky terrain and Mediterranean climate, the island is used primarily for training purposes and as a stopover for ships and aircraft on their way to or from Africa or the Middle East.
In response to your request, I can advise you that the title Flag Officer Sea Training will cease to exist on 1 May 2020 and is replaced by the 1* post of Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training
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