Royal Navy

Royal Navy

Overview
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare
Naval warfare
Naval warfare is combat in and on seas, oceans, or any other major bodies of water such as large lakes and wide rivers.-History:Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Land warfare would seem, initially, to be irrelevant and entirely removed from warfare on the open ocean,...

 service branch of the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service. From the end of the 17th century until well into the 20th century it was the most powerful navy in the world, playing a key part in establishing the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 as the dominant world power
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

.

After World War II the Royal Navy was replaced by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 as the world's foremost naval power.
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Timeline

1707   Scilly naval disaster: four British Royal Navy ships run aground near the Isles of Scilly because of faulty navigation. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and thousands of sailors drown.

1801   Battle of Algeciras: the French navy are defeated by the Royal Navy.

1807   The Royal Navy bombards Copenhagen with fire bombs and phosphorus rockets to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon.

1810   The Royal Navy seizes Guadeloupe.

1810   Napoleonic Wars: The French Navy defeats the British Royal Navy, preventing them from taking the harbour of Grand Port on Île de France.

1893   The Royal Navy battleship {{HMS|Camperdown|1885|6}} accidentally rams the British Mediterranean Fleet flagship {{HMS|Victoria|1887|6}} which sinks taking 358 crew with her including the fleet's commander, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon.

1910   Captain David Beatty is promoted to Rear Admiral, and becomes the youngest admiral in the Royal Navy (except for Royal family members), since Horatio Nelson.

1913   Completion of the Royal Navy battlecruiser {{HMS|Queen Mary}}.

1914   World War I: the Royal Navy defeats the German fleet in the Battle of Heligoland Bight.

1914   World War I: the first British Royal Navy defeat of the war with Germany, the Battle of Coronel, is fought off of the western coast of Chile, in the Pacific, with the loss of HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth.

 
Encyclopedia
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare
Naval warfare
Naval warfare is combat in and on seas, oceans, or any other major bodies of water such as large lakes and wide rivers.-History:Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Land warfare would seem, initially, to be irrelevant and entirely removed from warfare on the open ocean,...

 service branch of the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service. From the end of the 17th century until well into the 20th century it was the most powerful navy in the world, playing a key part in establishing the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 as the dominant world power
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

.

After World War II the Royal Navy was replaced by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 as the world's foremost naval power. During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 it was transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

, hunting for Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 submarines, mostly active in the GIUK gap
GIUK gap
The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean that forms a naval warfare chokepoint. Its name is an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, the gap being the open ocean between these three landmasses...

. With the collapse
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 of the Soviet Union, its role for the 21st century has returned to focus on global expeditionary
Blue-water navy
The term blue-water navy is a colloquialism used to describe a maritime force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans. While what actually constitutes such a force remains undefined, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges...

 operations.

The Royal Navy is a blue-water navy
Blue-water navy
The term blue-water navy is a colloquialism used to describe a maritime force capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans. While what actually constitutes such a force remains undefined, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges...

 and its ability to project power
Power projection
Power projection is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state to conduct expeditionary warfare, i.e. to intimidate other nations and implement policy by means of force, or the threat thereof, in an area distant from its own territory.This ability is a...

 globally has been considered second only to the U.S. Navy. As a prominent blue-water navy it operates an array of technologically sophisticated ships including an aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

, a helicopter carrier
Amphibious assault ship
An amphibious assault ship is a type of amphibious warfare ship employed to land and support ground forces on enemy territory by an amphibious assault...

, landing platform docks, ballistic missile submarine
Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

s, nuclear fleet submarines
Nuclear submarine
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor . The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" submarines are considerable: nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for...

, guided missile destroyer
Guided missile destroyer
A guided missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. In the U.S...

s, frigate
Frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

s, mine counter-measures and patrol vessels. The Royal Navy maintains the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom was the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon, in October 1952. It is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the UK ratified in 1968...

 via its ballistic missile submarine
Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

s.

The Royal Navy is part of the Naval Service, which also comprises the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

, Royal Naval Reserve
Royal Naval Reserve
The Royal Naval Reserve is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present Royal Naval Reserve was formed in 1958 by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve , a reserve of civilian volunteers founded in 1903...

 and Royal Marines Reserve
Royal Marines Reserve
The role of the Royal Marines Reserve of the United Kingdom is to support the regular Royal Marines in times of war or national crisis. The RMR consists of some 600-1000 trained ranks distributed among the five RMR Centres within the UK...

. , the Royal Navy numbered approximately 37,300 regulars. In addition, there were 19,600 regular reserves.

As of October 2011, there are 79 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 19 vessels of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the British Ministry of Defence. The RFA enables ships of the United Kingdom Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment...

 (RFA) which also contribute to the Royal Navy's available sea-going assets. The RFA primarily serves to replenish Royal Navy warships at sea, and also augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three vessels.

900–1500


The strength of the fleets of the united Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 was an important element in the kingdom's power in the 10th century. At one point Aethelred II had an especially large fleet built by a national levy of one ship for every 310 hides of land, but it is uncertain whether this was a standard or exceptional model for raising fleets. 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 the restored English regime of Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....

 (reigned 1042–1066), who frequently commanded fleets in person.

English naval power seems to have declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Medieval fleets, in England as elsewhere, were almost entirely composed of merchant ships enlisted into naval service in time of war. From time to time a few "king's ships" owned by the monarch were built for specifically warlike purposes, but unlike some European states England did not maintain a small permanent core of warships in peacetime. England's naval organisation was haphazard and the mobilisation of fleets when war broke out was slow.

With the Viking era at an end, and conflict with France largely confined to the French lands of the English monarchy, England faced little threat from the sea during the 12th and 13th centuries, but in the 14th century the outbreak of the Hundred Years War dramatically increased the French menace. Early in the war French plans for an invasion of England failed when Edward III of England
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

 destroyed the French fleet in the Battle of Sluys
Battle of Sluys
The decisive naval Battle of Sluys , also called Battle of l'Ecluse was fought on 24 June 1340 as one of the opening conflicts of the Hundred Years' War...

 in 1340. Major fighting was thereafter confined to French soil and England's naval capabilities sufficed to transport armies and supplies safely to their continental destinations. However, while subsequent French invasion schemes came to nothing, England's naval forces could not prevent frequent raids on the south-coast ports by the French and their Genoese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 and Castilian
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

 allies; such raids halted finally only with the occupation of northern France by Henry V
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....


(reigned 1413–1422).

1500–1707


The standing Navy Royal, with its own secretariat, dockyards and a permanent core of purpose-built warships, was created in the 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Under Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 England became involved in a war with Spain, which saw privately-owned ships combining with the Navy Royal in highly profitable raids against Spanish commerce and colonies. In 1588 Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 sent the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 against England in order to end English support for Dutch rebels, to stop English corsair activity and to depose the Protestant Elizabeth I. The Spaniards sailed from Lisbon, planning to escort an invasion force from the Spanish Netherlands but the plan failed due to poor planning, English harrying, blocking action by the Dutch and mainly as a result of an extremely bad weather.


During the early 17th century England's relative naval power deteriorated and a new threat emerged from the slaving raids of the Barbary corsairs
Barbary corsairs
The Barbary Corsairs, sometimes called Ottoman Corsairs or Barbary Pirates, were pirates and privateers who operated from North Africa, based primarily in the ports of Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers. This area was known in Europe as the Barbary Coast, a term derived from the name of its Berber...

, which the Navy had little success in countering. Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 undertook a major programme of warship building, creating a small force of powerful ships, but his methods of fund-raising to finance the fleet contributed to the outbreak of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. In the wake of this conflict and the abolition of the monarchy, the new Commonwealth of England
Commonwealth of England
The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

, isolated and threatened from all sides, dramatically expanded the Navy, which became the most powerful in the world.

The new regime's introduction of Navigation Acts
Navigation Acts
The English Navigation Acts were a series of laws that restricted the use of foreign shipping for trade between England and its colonies, a process which had started in 1651. Their goal was to force colonial development into lines favorable to England, and stop direct colonial trade with the...

, providing that all merchant shipping to and from England or her colonies should be carried out by English ships, led to war with the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

. In the early stages of this First Anglo-Dutch War
First Anglo-Dutch War
The First Anglo–Dutch War was the first of the four Anglo–Dutch Wars. It was fought entirely at sea between the navies of the Commonwealth of England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Caused by disputes over trade, the war began with English attacks on Dutch merchant shipping, but...

 (1652–1654), the superiority of the large, heavily armed English ships was offset by superior Dutch tactical organisation and the fighting was inconclusive. English tactical improvements resulted in a series of crushing victories in 1653 at Portland
Battle of Portland
The naval Battle of Portland, or Three Days' Battle took place during 28 February-2 March 1653 , during the First Anglo-Dutch War, when the fleet of the Commonwealth of England under General at Sea Robert Blake was attacked by a fleet of the Dutch Republic under Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp...

, the Gabbard
Battle of the Gabbard
The naval Battle of the Gabbard, also known as the Battle of Gabbard Bank, the Battle of the North Foreland or the second Battle of Nieuwpoort took place on 2–3 June 1653 according to the Old Style of Julian calendar then used in England during the First Anglo-Dutch War near the Gabbard...

 and Scheveningen
Battle of Scheveningen
The Battle of Scheveningen was the final naval battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War...

, bringing peace on favourable terms. This was the first war fought largely, on the English side, by purpose-built, state-owned warships.

As a result of their defeat in this war, the Dutch transformed their navy on the English model, and the Second Anglo-Dutch War
Second Anglo-Dutch War
The Second Anglo–Dutch War was part of a series of four Anglo–Dutch Wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries for control over the seas and trade routes....

 (1665–1667) was a closely fought struggle between evenly-matched opponents, with a crushing English victory at the Battle of Lowestoft
Battle of Lowestoft
The naval Battle of Lowestoft took place on 13 June 1665 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.A fleet of more than a hundred ships of the United Provinces commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam attacked an English fleet of equal size commanded by James Stuart, Duke of York forty...

 (1665) countered by Dutch triumph in the epic Four Days Battle
Four Days Battle
The Four Days Battle was a naval battle of the Second Anglo–Dutch War. Fought from 1 June to 4 June 1666 in the Julian or Old Style calendar then used in England off the Flemish and English coast, it remains one of the longest naval engagements in history.In June 1665 the English had soundly...

 (1666). In 1667 the restored royal government of Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 was forced to lay up the fleet in port for lack of money to keep it at sea, while negotiating for peace. Disaster followed, as the Dutch fleet mounted the Raid on the Medway
Raid on the Medway
The Raid on the Medway, sometimes called the Battle of the Medway, Raid on Chatham or the Battle of Chatham, was a successful Dutch attack on the largest English naval ships, laid up in the dockyards of their main naval base Chatham, that took place in June 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War...

, breaking into Chatham Dockyard
Chatham Dockyard
Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway and of which two-thirds is in Gillingham and one third in Chatham, Kent, England, came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, leading to a requirement for additional...

 and capturing or burning many of the Navy's largest ships at their moorings, which resulted in the most humiliating defeat in the Royal Navy's history. In the Third Anglo-Dutch War
Third Anglo-Dutch War
The Third Anglo–Dutch War or Third Dutch War was a military conflict between England and the Dutch Republic lasting from 1672 to 1674. It was part of the larger Franco-Dutch War...

 (1672–1674), Charles II allied with Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 against the Dutch, but the combined Anglo-French fleet was fought to a standstill in a series of inconclusive battles, while the French invasion by land was warded off.
The influence and reforms of Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

, the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 under both Charles II and subsequently King James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.

During the 1670s and 1680s the Navy succeeded in permanently ending the threat to English shipping from the Barbary corsairs, inflicting defeats which induced the Barbary states to conclude long-lasting peace treaties. Following the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

, England joined the European coalition against Louis XIV in the War of the Grand Alliance
War of the Grand Alliance
The Nine Years' War – often called the War of the Grand Alliance, the War of the Palatine Succession, or the War of the League of Augsburg – was a major war of the late 17th century fought between King Louis XIV of France, and a European-wide coalition, the Grand Alliance, led by the Anglo-Dutch...

 (1688–1697) in alliance with the Dutch. The allies were defeated at Beachy Head
Battle of Beachy Head (1690)
The Battle of Beachy Head was a naval engagement fought on 10 July 1690 during the Nine Years' War. The battle was the greatest French tactical naval victory over their English and Dutch opponents during the war...

 (1690), but victory at Barfleur-La Hogue (1691) was a turning-point marking the end of France's brief pre-eminence at sea and the beginning of an enduring English, later British, supremacy.

In the course of the 17th century the Navy completed the transition from a semi-amateur Navy Royal fighting in conjunction with private vessels into a fully professional institution, a Royal Navy. Its financial provisions were gradually regularised, it came to rely on dedicated warships only, and it developed a professional officer corps with a defined career structure, superseding an earlier mix of sailors and socially prominent former soldiers. Under the Acts of Union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 in 1707 the three-ship Royal Scots Navy
Royal Scots Navy
The Royal Scots Navy was the navy of the Kingdom of Scotland from its foundation in the 11th century until its merger with the Kingdom of England's Royal Navy per the Acts of Union 1707.- Origins :...

 merged with that of England to create a Royal Navy of the new Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

.

1707–1815


Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the Royal Navy was the largest in the world, but until 1805 its forces were repeatedly matched or exceeded in numbers by a combination of enemies. Despite this it was able to maintain an almost uninterrupted ascendancy over its rivals through superiority in financing, tactics, training, organization, social cohesion, hygiene, dockyard facilities, logistical support and, from the middle of the 18th century, warship design and construction.

During the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

 (1702–1714), the Navy operated in conjunction with the Dutch against the navies of France and Spain. Naval operations in European waters focused on the acquisition of a Mediterranean base, contributing to a long-lasting alliance with Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 in 1703 and the capture of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 (1704) and Minorca
Minorca
Min Orca or Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca....

 (1708), which were both retained by Britain after the war, and on supporting the efforts of Britain's Austrian
Austrians
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....

 Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 allies to seize control of Spain and its Mediterranean dependencies from the Bourbons. French naval squadrons did considerable damage to English and Dutch commercial convoys during the early years of the war. However a major victory over France and Spain at the Battle of Vigo Bay
Battle of Vigo Bay
The Battle of Vigo Bay, also known as the Battle of Rande , was a naval engagement fought on 23 October 1702 during the opening years of the War of the Spanish Succession. The engagement followed an Anglo-Dutch attempt to capture the Spanish port of Cádiz in September in an effort to secure a naval...

 (1702), further successes in battle, and the scuttling of the entire French Mediterranean fleet at Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

 in 1707 virtually cleared the Navy's opponents from the seas for the latter part of the war. Naval operations also enabled the conquest of the French colonies in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 and Newfoundland. Further conflict with Spain followed in the War of the Quadruple Alliance
War of the Quadruple Alliance
The War of the Quadruple Alliance was a result of the ambitions of King Philip V of Spain, his wife, Elisabeth Farnese, and his chief minister Giulio Alberoni to retake territories in Italy and to claim the French throne. It saw the defeat of Spain by an alliance of Britain, France, Austria , and...

, in which the Navy helped thwart a Spanish attempt to regain Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 from Austria and Savoy
Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

, defeating a Spanish fleet at Cape Passaro
Battle of Cape Passaro
The Battle of Cape Passaro was the defeat of a Spanish fleet under Admirals Antonio de Gaztañeta and Fernando Chacón by a British fleet under Admiral George Byng, near Cape Passero, Sicily, on 11 August 1718, four months before the War of the Quadruple Alliance was formally...

, and an undeclared war in the 1720s in which Spain tried to retake Gibraltar and Minorca.

After a period of relative peace, the Navy became engaged in the War of Jenkins' Ear
War of Jenkins' Ear
The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748, with major operations largely ended by 1742. Its unusual name, coined by Thomas Carlyle in 1858, relates to Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship, who exhibited his severed ear in...

 (1739–1742) against Spain, which was dominated by a series of costly and mostly unsuccessful attacks on Spanish ports in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, chiefly at Cartagena
Battle of Cartagena de Indias
The Battle of Cartagena de Indias was an amphibious military engagement between the forces of Britain under Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon and those of Spain under Admiral Blas de Lezo. It took place at the city of Cartagena de Indias in March 1741, in present-day Colombia...

. In 1742 the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...

 was driven to withdraw from the war in half an hour by the threat of a bombardment of its capital Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 by a small British squadron. The war was quickly followed by the wider War of the Austrian Succession
War of the Austrian Succession
The War of the Austrian Succession  – including King George's War in North America, the Anglo-Spanish War of Jenkins' Ear, and two of the three Silesian wars – involved most of the powers of Europe over the question of Maria Theresa's succession to the realms of the House of Habsburg.The...

 (1744–1748), again pitting Britain against France. Naval fighting in this war, which for the first time included major operations in the Indian Ocean, was largely inconclusive, the most significant event being the failure of an attempted French invasion of England in 1744. The subsequent Seven Years War (1755–1763) saw the Navy conduct amphibious campaigns leading to the conquest of French Canada, French colonies in the Caribbean and West Africa and small islands off the French coast, while operations in the Indian Ocean contributed to the destruction of French power in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. A new French attempt to invade Britain was thwarted by the extraordinary Battle of Quiberon Bay
Battle of Quiberon Bay
The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France near St. Nazaire...

 in 1759, fought in a gale on a dangerous lee shore
Lee shore
The terms lee shore and windweather or ward shore are nautical terms used to describe a stretch of shoreline. A lee shore is one that is to the lee side of a vessel - meaning the wind is blowing towards it. A weather shore has the wind blowing from inland over it out to sea...

. Once again the French navy was effectively eliminated from the war, abandoning major operations. In 1762 the resumption of hostilities with Spain led to the British capture of Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, along with a Spanish fleet sheltering there, and Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

.
In the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, the small Continental Navy
Continental Navy
The Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. Through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron, John Adams and vigorous Congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, the fleet cumulatively became relatively...

 of frigates fielded by the rebel colonists was obliterated with ease, but the entry of France, Spain and the Netherlands into the war against Britain produced a combination of opposing forces which deprived the Navy of its position of superiority for the first time since the 1690s, briefly but decisively. The war saw a series of indecisive battles in the Atlantic and Caribbean, in which the Navy failed to achieve the conclusive victories needed to secure the supply lines of British forces in North America and cut off the colonial rebels from outside support. The most important operation of the war came in 1781 when in the Battle of the Chesapeake
Battle of the Chesapeake
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas...

 the British fleet failed to lift the French blockade of Lord Cornwallis's army, resulting in Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown. Although this disaster effectively concluded the fighting in North America, it continued in the Indian Ocean, where the French were prevented from re-establishing a meaningful foothold in India, and in the Caribbean. Victory there in the Battle of the Saintes
Battle of the Saintes
The Battle of the Saintes took place over 4 days, 9 April 1782 – 12 April 1782, during the American War of Independence, and was a victory of a British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney over a French fleet under the Comte de Grasse forcing the French and Spanish to abandon a planned...

 in 1782 and the relief of Gibraltar
Battle of Cape Spartel
The Battle of Cape Spartel was an indecisive naval battle between a Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova and a British fleet under Admiral Richard Howe...

 later the same year symbolised the restoration of British naval ascendancy, but this came too late to prevent the independence of the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

.

The eradication of scurvy
Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. The chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus, which also provides the adjective scorbutic...

 from the Royal Navy in the 1790s was finally due to the chairman of the Navy's Sick and Hurt Board, Gilbert Blane
Gilbert Blane
Sir Gilbert Blane of Blanefield, 1st Baronet FRSE FRS MRCP was a Scottish physician who instituted health reform in the Royal Navy....

, who finally put Bachstrom and Lind's long-ignored prescription of fresh lemons to use during the Napoleonic Wars. Other navies soon adopted this successful solution. During the 18th century, scurvy killed more British sailors than enemy action. For instance, during the Seven Years War, the Royal Navy reported that it conscripted 184,899 sailors, of who 133,708 died of disease or were 'missing', and scurvy was the principal disease. Limey, a Caribbean and North American slang term for British sailors and later the British in general, is believed to derive from the practice.

The Wars of the French Revolution (1793–1801) and Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 (1803–1814 and 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. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy reached a strength of 600 cruisers (including 175 ships of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

) and some smaller vessels, becoming the size of the rest of the world's navies combined. The Navy achieved an emphatic early victory at the Glorious First of June
Glorious First of June
The Glorious First of June [Note A] of 1794 was the first and largest fleet action of the naval conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the First French Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars...

 (1794), and gained a number of smaller victories while supporting abortive Royalist efforts to regain control of France. In the course of one such operation the majority of the French Mediterranean fleet was captured or destroyed during a short-lived occupation of Toulon in 1793. The military successes of the French Revolutionary regime brought the Spanish and Dutch navies into the war on the French side, but the losses inflicted on the Dutch at the Battle of Camperdown
Battle of Camperdown
The Battle of Camperdown was a major naval action fought on 11 October 1797 between a Royal Navy fleet under Admiral Adam Duncan and a Dutch Navy fleet under Vice-Admiral Jan de Winter...

 in 1797 and the surrender of their surviving fleet to a landing force at Den Helder in 1799 effectively eliminated the Dutch navy from the war. The Spithead and Nore mutinies
Spithead and Nore mutinies
The Spithead and Nore mutinies were two major mutinies by sailors of the Royal Navy in 1797. There were also discontent and minor incidents on ships in other locations in the same year. They were not violent insurrections, being more in the nature of strikes, demanding better pay and conditions...

 in 1797 incapacitated the Channel and North Sea fleets, leaving Britain potentially exposed to invasion, but were rapidly resolved. The British Mediterranean fleet under Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

 failed to intercept Napoleon Bonaparte's 1798 expedition to invade Egypt, but annihilated the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile
Battle of the Nile
The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between British and French fleets at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt from 1–3 August 1798...

, leaving Bonaparte's army isolated. The emergence of a Baltic coalition opposed to Britain led to an attack on Denmark, which lost much of its fleet in the Battle of Copenhagen (1801) and came to terms with Britain.

During these years the Navy also conducted amphibious operations which captured most of the French Caribbean islands and the Dutch colonies at the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 and Ceylon and in the Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

, but all of these gains except Ceylon and Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 were returned following the Peace of Amiens in 1802, which briefly halted the fighting. War resumed in 1803 and Napoleon, now ruling France as emperor, attempted to assemble a large enough fleet from the French and Spanish squadrons blockaded in various ports to cover an invasion of England. The Navy frustrated these efforts and, following the abandonment of the invasion plan, the combined Franco-Spanish fleet which had been gathered was smashed by Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

 (1805). This victory marked the culmination of decades of developing British naval dominance, and left the Navy in a position of uncontested hegemony at sea which endured until the early years of the 20th century.

After Trafalgar, large-scale fighting at sea was limited to the destruction of small, fugitive French squadrons and amphibious operations which again captured the colonies which had been restored at Amiens, along with France's Indian Ocean base at Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. In 1807 French plans to seize the Danish fleet led to a pre-emptive British attack on Copenhagen, resulting in the surrender of the entire Danish navy. The impressment of British and American sailors from American ships contributed to the outbreak of the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 (1812–1814) against the United States, in which the naval fighting was largely confined to commerce raiding and single-ship actions. The brief renewal of war after Napoleon's return to power in 1815 did not bring a resumption of naval combat.

During this period, the Royal Navy imposed a blockade
Blockade
A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually...

 on France and Spain, and swept French and Spanish merchantmen off the high seas. Throughout the Napoleonic Wars, the French were unable to contest the British blockade, and enemy warships spent much of the wars blockaded in port. During the War of 1812, the Royal Navy's Halifax Squadron blockaded the American coastline, largely ruining trade.

1815–1914


Between 1815 and 1914 the Navy saw little serious action, owing to the absence of any opponent strong enough to challenge its dominance. 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.

Due to British leadership in the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, 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. The Navy was thus able to preserve a numerical dominance based on the 'two power standard', which stipulated that it should remain larger than its two most powerful competitors combined.

The Navy did see some minor action throughout the 19th century. It participated in anti-piracy
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

 efforts with other nations. In 1816, a joint Anglo-Dutch fleet bombarded the Barbary pirate state of Algiers to force the Dey of Algiers to stop enslaving Christians, and also hunted pirates in the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

. Between 1807 and 1865, it maintained a Blockade of Africa
Blockade of Africa
The Blockade of Africa began in 1807 when Britain outlawed the Atlantic slave trade, making it illegal for British ships to transport slaves. The Royal Navy immediately established a presence off Africa in order to enforce the ban, called the West Africa Squadron...

 to counter the illegal slave trade. It also participated in the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 of the 1850s, as well as numerous imperialist wars throughout Asia and Africa, notably the Opium Wars
Opium Wars
The Opium Wars, also known as the Anglo-Chinese Wars, divided into the First Opium War from 1839 to 1842 and the Second Opium War from 1856 to 1860, were the climax of disputes over trade and diplomatic relations between China under the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire...

 with China
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

.

The end of the 19th century saw structural changes brought about by the First Sea Lord (Chief of Naval Staff) Jackie Fisher who retired, scrapped, or placed into reserve many of the older vessels, making funds and manpower available for newer ships. He also oversaw the development of , the first all-big-gun battleship, which rendered all existing battleships obsolete. Unlike the far more dramatic technological revolutions of the mid-19th century, this opportunity was exploited to mount a serious challenge to British naval supremacy, and started a naval arms race
World War I naval arms race
The naval arms race of the early 20th Century preceded and was one of the several intertwined causes for World War I. It was primarily between the United Kingdom and the German Empire...

. The industrial and economic development of Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 had by this time overtaken Britain, and made use of its industrial power to build up the Imperial German Navy, which became the world's second-largest navy. The British responded by expanding the Royal Navy. Britain emerged from this contest triumphant, in as much as it was able to maintain a substantial numerical advantage over Germany, but for the first time since 1805, another navy now existed with the capacity to challenge the Royal Navy in battle.

1914–1945


During the two World War
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

s, the Royal Navy played a vital role in keeping the United Kingdom supplied with food, arms
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

 and raw materials
Material
Material is anything made of matter, constituted of one or more substances. Wood, cement, hydrogen, air and water are all examples of materials. Sometimes the term "material" is used more narrowly to refer to substances or components with certain physical properties that are used as inputs to...

 and in defeating the German campaigns of unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare is a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink merchantmen without warning, as opposed to attacks per prize rules...

 in the first and second battles of the Atlantic.


During the First World War most of the Royal Navy's strength was deployed at home in the Grand Fleet
British Grand Fleet
The Grand Fleet was the main fleet of the British Royal Navy during the First World War.-History:It was formed in 1914 by the British Atlantic Fleet combined with the Home Fleet and it included 35-40 state-of-the-art capital ships. It was initially commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe...

, confronting the German High Seas Fleet
High Seas Fleet
The High Seas Fleet was the battle fleet of the German Empire and saw action during World War I. The formation was created in February 1907, when the Home Fleet was renamed as the High Seas Fleet. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was the architect of the fleet; he envisioned a force powerful enough to...

 across the North Sea. A few inconclusive clashes took place between them, chiefly the Battle of Jutland
Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle between the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet during the First World War. The battle was fought on 31 May and 1 June 1916 in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. It was the largest naval battle and the only...

 in 1916. These exposed the deficiencies of a British approach to capital ship
Capital ship
The capital ships of a navy are its most important warships; they generally possess the heaviest firepower and armor and are traditionally much larger than other naval vessels...

 design which prioritised speed and firepower, as against the German emphasis on resilience, as well as the inadequacies of Britain's hastily-assembled munitions industry. However, the Germans were repeatedly outmaneuvered and the British numerical advantage proved insurmountable, leading the High Seas Fleet to abandon its challenge to British dominance.

Elsewhere in the world, the Navy hunted down the handful of German surface raiders at large. During the Dardanelles Campaign against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1915 it suffered serious losses during a failed attempt to break through the system of minefields and shore batteries defending the straits.

Upon entering the war, the British immediately established a Blockade of Germany
Blockade of Germany
The Blockade of Germany, or the Blockade of Europe, occurred from 1914-1919 and was a prolonged naval operation conducted by the Allied Powers during and after World War I in an effort to restrict the maritime supply of raw materials and foodstuffs to the Central Powers, which included Germany,...

. The Navy's Northern Patrol
Northern Patrol
The Northern Patrol was a Royal Navy operation of the First World War operating around Scotland and the North Sea.The Patrol existed to form part of the British "distant" blockade of Germany...

 closed off access to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

, while the Dover Patrol
Dover Patrol
The Dover Patrol was a Royal Navy command of the First World War, notable for its involvement in the Zeebrugge Raid on 22 April 1918. The Dover Patrol formed a discrete unit of the Royal Navy based at Dover and Dunkirk for the duration of the First World War...

 closed off access to the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. The Navy also mined the North Sea. As well as attempting to close off the Imperial German Navy's access to the Atlantic, the blockade was also designed to stop merchant shipping heading to or from Germany. The blockade was maintained eight months after the war had ended in order to force Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

.

The most serious menace faced by the Navy came from the attacks on merchant shipping mounted by German U-boats. For much of the war this submarine campaign was restricted by prize rules requiring merchant ships to be warned and evacuated before sinking. In 1915 the Germans renounced these restrictions and began to sink merchant ships on sight, but later returned to the previous rules of engagement
Rules of engagement
Rules of Engagement refers to those responses that are permitted in the employment of military personnel during operations or in the course of their duties. These rules of engagement are determined by the legal framework within which these duties are being carried out...

 to placate neutral opinion. A resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917 raised the prospect of Britain and its allies being starved into submission. The Navy's response to this new form of warfare had proved inadequate due to its refusal to adopt a convoy
Convoy
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support, though it may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.-Age of Sail:Naval...

 system for merchant shipping, despite the demonstrated effectiveness of the technique in protecting troop ships. The belated introduction of convoys sharply reduced losses and brought the U-boat threat under control.


In the inter-war period the Royal Navy was stripped of much of its power. The Washington
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

 and London
London Naval Treaty
The London Naval Treaty was an agreement between the United Kingdom, the Empire of Japan, France, Italy and the United States, signed on April 22, 1930, which regulated submarine warfare and limited naval shipbuilding. Ratifications were exchanged in London on October 27, 1930, and the treaty went...

 Naval Treaties imposed scrappings of capital ships and limitations on new construction. In 1932 the Invergordon Mutiny
Invergordon Mutiny
The Invergordon Mutiny was an industrial action by around 1,000 sailors in the British Atlantic Fleet, that took place on 15–16 September 1931...

 took place over a proposed 25% pay cut which was eventually reduced to 10%. International tensions increased in the mid-1930s and the Second London Naval Treaty
Second London Naval Treaty
The Second London Naval Disarmament Conference opened in London, the United Kingdom, on 9 December 1935. It resulted in the Second London Naval Treaty which was signed on 25 March 1936.- Description :...

 of 1935 failed to halt the development of a naval arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

. By 1938 treaty limits were effectively ignored. The rearmament of the Royal Navy was well under way by this point; the Royal Navy had begun construction of still treaty affected and undergunned new battlehips
King George V class battleship (1939)
The King George V-class battleships were the most modern British battleships used during World War II. Five ships of this class were built and commissioned: King George V , Prince of Wales , Duke of York , Howe , and Anson .The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 limiting all of the number,...

 and its first full-sized purpose-built aircraft carriers. In addition to new construction several existing old battleships (whose gun power offset to a significant extent the weakly armed new battleships), battlecruisers and heavy cruisers were reconstructed, and anti-aircraft weaponry reinforced, while new technologies such as ASDIC, Huff-Duff
Huff-Duff
High-frequency direction finding, usually known by its abbreviation HF/DF is the common name for a type of radio direction finding employed especially during the two World Wars....

 and hydrophones were developed. The Navy had lost control of naval aviation when the Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Naval Air Service
The Royal Naval Air Service or RNAS was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of the First World War, when it merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form a new service , the Royal Air Force...

 was merged with the Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
The Royal Flying Corps was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. During the early part of the war, the RFC's responsibilities were centred on support of the British Army, via artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance...

 to form the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 in 1918, but regained it with the establishment of the Fleet Air Arm
Fleet Air Arm
The Fleet Air Arm is the branch of the British Royal Navy responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm currently operates the AgustaWestland Merlin, Westland Sea King and Westland Lynx helicopters...

 in 1937. However, the effectiveness of its aircraft lagged far behind its rivals, and around this time the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 and the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 began to surpass the Royal Navy in power.


At the start of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1939, the Royal Navy was still the largest in the world, consisting of 15 battleships and battlecruisers with 5 under construction, 7 aircraft carriers, 66 cruisers with 23 more under construction, 184 destroyers with 52 under construction, 45 escort and patrol vessels with 9 under construction and 1 on order, and 60 submarines with 9 under construction. During the early phases of World War II the Royal Navy provided critical cover during British evacuations from Dunkirk
Operation Dynamo
The Dunkirk evacuation, commonly known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and the early hours of 3 June 1940, because the British, French and Belgian troops were...

. At the Battle of Taranto
Battle of Taranto
The naval Battle of Taranto took place on the night of 11–12 November 1940 during the Second World War. The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft ship-to-ship naval attack in history, flying a small number of obsolescent biplane torpedo bombers from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea...

, Admiral Cunningham commanded a fleet that launched the first all-aircraft naval attack in history. Later Cunningham was determined that as many Commonwealth soldiers as possible should be evacuated after their defeat on Crete
Battle of Crete
The Battle of Crete was a battle during World War II on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code-name Unternehmen Merkur...

. When army generals feared he would lose too many ships, he famously said, "It takes the Navy three years to build a new ship. It will take three hundred years to build a new tradition. The evacuation will continue."

The Royal Navy suffered huge losses in the early stages of the war, including , , and in the European Theatre
European Theatre of World War II
The European Theatre of World War II was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe from Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until the end of the war with the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945...

, and and off Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. Of the 1,418 men on the Hood, only three survived. Over 3,000 people were lost when the converted troopship Lancastria
RMS Lancastria
The RMS Lancastria was a British Cunard liner sunk on 17 June 1940 during World War II with the loss of an estimated 4,000 plus lives. It is the worst single loss of life in British maritime history and the bloodiest single engagement for UK forces , in the whole conflict and claimed more lives...

was sunk in June 1940, creating the greatest maritime disaster in Britain's history. There were, however, early successes against enemy surface ships, at the Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

 in 1939, and off Norway; by 1941, with the sinking of the Bismarck, Germany effectively lost her surface ship capabilities. As well as providing cover in operations, it was also vital in guarding the sea lanes that enabled British forces to fight in remote parts of the world such as North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East. Naval supremacy in the Atlantic was vital to the amphibious operations carried out, such as the invasions of Northwest Africa
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

, Sicily, Italy
Allied invasion of Italy
The Allied invasion of Italy was the Allied landing on mainland Italy on September 3, 1943, by General Harold Alexander's 15th Army Group during the Second World War. The operation followed the successful invasion of Sicily during the Italian Campaign...

, and Normandy
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

. Royal Navy ships also provided an important role in escorting convoys across the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and to other countries on the allied side, protecting them from air, surface and submarine attack. The German battleship Scharnhorst
German battleship Scharnhorst
Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of the German Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven; she was laid down on 15...

 was one capital ship sunk while trying to attack an allied convoy in 1943.

Postwar period and early 21st century


After World War II the decline of the British Empire and the economic hardships in Britain at the time forced the reduction in the size and capability of the Royal Navy. The increasingly powerful U.S. Navy took on the former role of the Royal Navy as global naval power and police force of the sea. However, the combination of the threat of the Soviet Union, and Britain's commitments throughout the world, created a new role for the Navy. Governments since World War II have had to balance commitments with increasing budgetary pressures, partly due to the increasing cost of weapons systems, what historian Paul Kennedy
Paul Kennedy
Paul Michael Kennedy CBE, FBA , is a British historian at Yale University specialising in the history of international relations, economic power and grand strategy. He has published prominent books on the history of British foreign policy and Great Power struggles...

 called the Upward Spiral
Upward Spiral
Upward Spiral is a term used by Paul Kennedy in his book The Rise and Fall of Great Powers to describe the continually rising cost of military equipment relative to civilian manufactured goods. According to Kennedy there is an upward spiral at work in "all areas" of military production which is...

. These pressures have been exacerbated by bitter inter-service rivalry.

HMS Dreadnought
HMS Dreadnought (S101)
The seventh HMS Dreadnought was the United Kingdom's first nuclear-powered submarine, built by Vickers Armstrongs at Barrow-in-Furness. Launched by Queen Elizabeth II on Trafalgar Day 1960 and commissioned into service with the Royal Navy in April 1963, she continued in service until 1980...

, the Royal Navy's first nuclear submarine, was launched in the 1960s. The navy also received its first nuclear weapons with the introduction of the first of the Resolution-class submarine
Resolution class submarine
The Resolution-class submarine armed with the Polaris missile was the United Kingdom's primary nuclear deterrent from the late 1960s to 1994, when they were replaced by the Vanguard-class submarine carrying the Trident II.-Background:...

s armed with the Polaris missile. The introduction of Polaris followed the cancellation of the GAM-87 Skybolt missile which had been proposed for use by the Air Force's V-Bomber force. As a result, the navy became responsible for the maintenance of the UK's entire nuclear deterrent
Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom was the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon, in October 1952. It is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the UK ratified in 1968...

. The financial costs attached to nuclear deterrence became an increasingly significant issue for the navy.

The Navy began plans to replace its fleet of aircraft carriers in the mid-1960s. A plan was drawn up for three large aircraft carriers, each displacing about 60,000 tons; the plan was designated CVA-01
CVA-01
The CVA-01 aircraft carrier was to be a class of at least two fleet carriers that would have replaced the Royal Navy's existing aircraft carriers, most of which had been designed prior to or during World War II....

. These carriers would be able to operate the latest aircraft that were coming into service, and would keep the Royal Navy’s place as a major naval power. However, the new Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 government that came into power in the mid-1960s was determined to cut defence expenditure as a means to reduce public spending, and in the 1966 Defence White Paper
1966 Defence White Paper
The 1966 Defence White Paper was a major review of the United Kingdom's defence policy brought about by the Labour Party government under the Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The main author was the then Secretary of State for Defence, Denis Healey...

 the project was cancelled.

After this the navy began to shrink and the navy was forced to make do with three much smaller s. The fleet was now centred around anti-submarine warfare in the north Atlantic as opposed to its former position with worldwide strike capability.

One of the most important operations conducted predominantly by the Royal Navy after the Second World War was the 1982 defeat of Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 in the Falkland Islands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

. Despite losing four naval ships and other civilian and RFA
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the British Ministry of Defence. The RFA enables ships of the United Kingdom Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment...

 ships the Royal Navy proved it was still able to fight and win a battle 8,345 miles (12,800 km) from Great Britain. is the only nuclear-powered submarine to have engaged an enemy ship with torpedoes, sinking the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano
ARA General Belgrano
The ARA General Belgrano was an Argentine Navy light cruiser in service from 1951 until 1982. Formerly the , she saw action in the Pacific theater of World War II before being sold to Argentina. After almost 31 years of service, she was sunk during the Falklands War by the Royal Navy submarine ...

. The war also underlined the importance of aircraft carriers and submarines and exposed the weaknesses of the service's late 20th century dependence on chartered merchant vessels.
Before the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 in 1982 Defence Secretary John Nott
John Nott
Sir John William Frederic Nott KCB is a former British Conservative Party politician prominent in the late 1970s and early 1980s...

 had advocated and initiated a series of cutbacks to the Navy. The Falklands War though, proved a need for the Royal Navy to regain an expeditionary and littoral
Littoral
The littoral zone is that part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore. In coastal environments the littoral zone extends from the high water mark, which is rarely inundated, to shoreline areas that are permanently submerged. It always includes this intertidal zone and is often used to...

 capability which, with its resources and structure at the time, would prove difficult. At the end of the Cold War at the beginning of the 1990s the Royal Navy was a force focused on blue water anti-submarine warfare. Its purpose was to search for and destroy Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 submarines in the North Atlantic, and to operate the nuclear deterrent submarine force.

The Royal Navy also took part in the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, the Kosovo conflict, the Afghanistan Campaign
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, and the 2003 Iraq War, the last of which saw RN warships bombard
Naval gunfire support
Naval gunfire support is the use of naval artillery to provide fire support for amphibious assault and other troops operating within their range. NGFS is one of a number of disciplines encompassed by the term Naval Fires...

 positions in support of the Al Faw Peninsula landings by Royal Marines. In August 2005 the Royal Navy rescued seven Russians stranded in a submarine off the Kamchatka peninsula
Kamchatka Peninsula
The Kamchatka Peninsula is a peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of . It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west...

. The Navy's Scorpio 45 remote-controlled mini-sub freed the Russian submarine from the fishing nets and cables that had held it for three days. The Royal Navy was also involved in an incident involving Somali pirates in November 2008, after the pirates tried to capture a civilian vessel.

Personnel



The Naval Service comprises both the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. For December 2009, the total trained regular strength of the Naval Service was 34,660, of which 27,710 were Royal Navy and 6940 were Royal Marines. Within this total, 3960 were untrained personnel. The Navy List
Navy List
A Navy List or Naval Register is an official list of naval officers, their ranks and seniority, the ships which they command or to which they are appointed, etc., that is published by the government or naval authorities of a country....

 reports an up to date list of all officers within the Royal Navy
Officer Corps of the Royal Navy
The Officer Corps of the Royal Navy is the cadre of personnel holding a commission from the Sovereign appointing them in a position of authority in the Royal Navy.-Recruiting and training:...

. There are 380 Full-time reserve service personnel within these figures. HMS Raleigh
HMS Raleigh (shore establishment)
HMS Raleigh is the modern-day basic training facility of the Royal Navy at Torpoint, Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is spread over several square miles, and has damage control simulators and fire-fighting training facilities...

 at Torpoint, Cornwall is the basic training facility for newly enlisted personnel. Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon, England. While Royal Naval officer training has taken place in the town since 1863, the buildings which are seen today were only finished in 1905, and...

 is the initial officer training establishment for the navy, located at Dartmouth, Devon
Dartmouth, Devon
Dartmouth is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon. It is a tourist destination set on the banks of the estuary of the River Dart, which is a long narrow tidal ria that runs inland as far as Totnes...

.

Personnel are divided into a general duties branch, which includes those seamen officers eligible for command, and other branches including the Royal Naval Engineers
Royal Naval Engineers
The Royal Naval Engineers, a department of the Royal Navy, has existed since 1835.Naval engineers are in charge of the management and upkeep of ship-board machinery...

, medical, and Logistics Officer
Logistics Officer
A Logistics Officer is a member of an armed force responsible for overseeing the support of an army, air force, or navy both at home and abroad. Logistics Officers can be stationary on military bases or deployed as an active part of a field army, air wing, or naval force. The responsibilities of...

s, the renamed Supply Officer
Supply Officer
Supply Officer was a specialisation in the British Royal Navy which has recently been superseded by the Logistics Officer, recognising the need to align with the nomenclature and function of similar cadres in the British Army and Royal Air Force...

 branch. Present day officers and ratings have several different Royal Navy uniform
Royal Navy uniform
The uniforms of the Royal Navy have evolved gradually since the first uniform regulations for officers were issued in 1748. The predominant colours of Royal Navy uniforms are navy blue and white...

s; some are blue, others are white.


Women began to join the Royal Navy in 1917 with the formation of the Women's Royal Naval Service
Women's Royal Naval Service
The Women's Royal Naval Service was the women's branch of the Royal Navy.Members included cooks, clerks, wireless telegraphists, radar plotters, weapons analysts, range assessors, electricians and air mechanics...

 (WRNS), which was disbanded after the end of the First World War in 1919. It was revived in 1939, and the WRNS continued until disbandment in 1993, as a result of the decision to fully integrate women into the structures of the Royal Navy. The only restriction on women currently in the RN is that they may not serve on submarines, or with the Royal Marine Commandos.

Fleet composition


In the 1990s the navy began a series of projects to modernise the fleet and convert it from a North Atlantic-based anti-submarine force to an expeditionary force. This has involved the replacement of much of the Fleet and has seen a number of large procurement projects. The Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010 depleted strength still further, leading to a headcount reduction and the early, unplanned, decommissioning of a number of platforms.

Large fleet units – amphibious and carriers



Two Queen Elizabeth-class supercarriers have been ordered and are to be a new generation of aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 to replace the three aircraft carriers. The two vessels are expected to cost £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

3.9 billion, will displace 65,000 tons and, although somewhat delayed, are planned to enter service from around 2016. The initial decision was that both would operate the STOVL variant of the F-35 Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

, however following the Strategic Defence and Security Review
Strategic Defence Review
The Strategic Defence Review was a British policy document produced by the Labour Government that came to power in 1997. Then Secretary of State for Defence, George Robertson, set out the initial defence policy of the new government, with a series of key decisions designed to enhance the United...

 ordered by the Coalition Government
Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement
The Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement was a policy document drawn up following the 2010 general election in the United Kingdom...

 in June 2010, it was announced that the first of the carriers will be fitted with catapults to operate the F-35C CTOL carrier variant. The second carrier will be placed in extended readiness after its introduction to service. This leaves open the options to rotate them, to ensure a continuous UK carrier-strike capability; to re-generate more quickly a two-carrier strike capability, or to sell one of the carriers which would result in the UK relying on cooperation with a close ally to provide continuous carrier-strike capability. In addition to this, a dedicated helicopter carrier
Amphibious assault ship
An amphibious assault ship is a type of amphibious warfare ship employed to land and support ground forces on enemy territory by an amphibious assault...

, HMS Ocean
HMS Ocean (L12)
HMS Ocean of the Royal Navy is an amphibious assault ship , the sole member of her class. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force...

 and two amphibious assault ships, HMS Albion
HMS Albion (L14)
HMS Albion is a Landing Platform Dock of the Royal Navy, the first of the two-ship Albion class. Built by BAE Systems Marine in Barrow-in-Furness, Albion was launched in March 2001 by the Princess Royal...

 and HMS Bulwark
HMS Bulwark (L15)
HMS Bulwark is an , the UK's newest class of amphibious assault warship and built in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. For numerous reasons, delays caused the delivery date to be put back, with the ship entering service in December 2004. Together with Albion, Ocean, and other amphibious ships, she...

 (the present flagship of the fleet) complement the aircraft carrier force. HMS Illustrious
HMS Illustrious (R06)
HMS Illustrious is the second of three Invincible-class light aircraft carriers built for the Royal Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is the fifth warship and second aircraft carrier to bear the name Illustrious, and is affectionately known as "Lusty" to her crew...

 is the sole remaining Invincible-class carrier and will replace Ocean as a helicopter carrier until Illustrious' final withdrawal in 2014.

The introduction of the four vessels of the Bay class
Bay class landing ship dock (auxiliary)
The Bay class is a ship class of four Dock landing ships built for the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary during the 2000s. Based on the Dutch-Spanish Royal Schelde Enforcer design and intended as a replacement for the Round Table class logistics ships, two ships each were ordered from Swan Hunter and...

 of landing ship dock
Amphibious transport dock
An amphibious transport dock, also called a landing platform/dock , is an amphibious warfare ship, a warship that embarks, transports, and lands elements of a landing force for expeditionary warfare missions. Several navies currently operate this kind of ship...

 into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the British Ministry of Defence. The RFA enables ships of the United Kingdom Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment...

 in 2006 and 2007, and the two landing platform docks gave the Royal Navy a significantly enhanced amphibious capability. In November 2006 First Sea Lord
First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord. He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff, and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS...

 Admiral Sir Jonathon Band
Jonathon Band
Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, GCB, DL, ADC , from 2006 to 2009, was the First Sea Lord of the United Kingdom, the most senior serving officer in the Royal Navy. Before serving as First Sea Lord he was Commander-in-Chief Fleet...

 said, "These ships represent a major uplift in the Royal Navy's war fighting capability." One Bay-class ship was sold to Australia in 2011.

Escort units



The escort fleet, in the form of frigates and destroyers, is the traditional workhorse of the Navy, and is also being updated. The fleet of Type 42 destroyer
Type 42 destroyer
The Type 42 or Sheffield class, are guided missile destroyers used by the British Royal Navy and the Argentine Navy. The first ship of the class was ordered in 1968 and launched in 1971, and today three ships remain active in the Royal Navy and one in the Argentinian Navy...

s are being replaced with the much larger Type 45 destroyer
Type 45 destroyer
The United Kingdom's Type 45 destroyer is an air defence destroyer programme of the Royal Navy which will replace its Type 42 destroyers. The first ship in the class, HMS Daring, was launched on 1 February 2006 and commissioned on 23 July 2009. The ships are now built by BAE Systems Surface Ships...

.

Six Type 45 destroyers are planned, of which 3 are in service, 1 is waiting to enter service and 2 are under construction . Under the terms of the original contract the Navy was to have ordered twelve vessels, but following cut backs only six will now be constructed. The main role of the Type 45 destroyer is anti-air warfare; in order to fulfil this role, it is equipped with the Sea Viper (formerly known as PAAMS) integrated anti-aircraft system which can fire Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles. The Type 45 operates the highly sophisticated Sampson radar system, fully integrated into the PAAMS
PAAMS
The Principal Anti Air Missile System is a joint French/Italian/British programme for a naval anti-aircraft weapon. The prime contractor is EUROPAAMS, a joint venture between Eurosam and MBDA subsidiary UKAMS . MBDA also owns 66% of Eurosam, in effect giving it a 77% share of the project...

 system, but has little anti-ship capability.

As soon as possible after 2020 the Type 23 will be replaced by Type 26 frigates, designed to be easily adapted to change roles and capabilities depending on the strategic circumstances.

The latest frigate to enter service was the Type 23 frigate
Type 23 frigate
The Type 23 frigate is a class of frigate built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. All the ships were first named after British Dukes, thus the class is also known as the Duke class. The first Type 23 was commissioned in 1989, and the sixteenth, was launched in May 2000 and commissioned in...

  in 2002. On 21 July 2004, in the Delivering Security in a Changing World
Delivering Security in a Changing World
The 2003 Defence White Paper, titled Delivering Security in a Changing World, set out the future structure of the British military, and was preceded by the 1998 Strategic Defence Review and the 2002 SDR New Chapter, which responded to the immediate challenges to security in the aftermath of the...

 review of defence spending, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon
Geoff Hoon
Geoffrey "Geoff" William Hoon is a British politician who served as the Member of Parliament for Ashfield from 1992 to 2010...

 announced that three frigates of the fleet of sixteen would be paid off as part of a continuous cost-cutting strategy, and these were subsequently sold to Chile. Several designs have been proposed for a new generation frigate, including the Future Surface Combatant
Future Surface Combatant
The Global Combat Ship is a ship design and construction programme currently underway by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence to replace the Royal Navy's 13 Type 23 frigates. The programme has been in development since 1998, initially under the designation "Future Surface Combatant "...

, which is now planned to enter service as the Type 26 frigate. The Strategic Defence and Security Review
Strategic Defence and Security Review
The Strategic Defence and Security Review was announced by the newly formed Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of the United Kingdom in May 2010, and published on 19 October 2010...

 of October 2010 stated "As soon as possible after 2020 the Type 23 will be replaced by Type 26 frigates, designed to be easily adapted to change roles and capabilities depending on the strategic circumstances". It proposed a total surface escort fleet of 19 frigates and destroyers; there are 6 Type 45 destroyers in the fleet. It was announced in December 2010 that the remaining fleet of four batch 3 Type 22 frigate
Type 22 frigate
The Type 22 Broadsword class is a class of frigate built for the British Royal Navy. Fourteen of the class were built in total, with production divided into three batches. With the decommissioning of HMS Cornwall on 30 June 2011, the final Type 22 of the Royal Navy was retired from service...

s would be withdrawn from service by the end of April 2011.

Submarines



Seven s are planned, with the first in service, three under construction, the fifth ordered, and the procurement process started for the sixth. The first, entered service in August 2010. These submarines are much larger than their predecessors, the and are expected to displace 7,800 tons submerged. Six Trafalgar-class nuclear submarines are currently in service. In December 2006, plans were unveiled for a new class of four ballistic missile submarines to replace the , which is due to be replaced by 2024. This new class will mean that the United Kingdom will maintain a nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet and the ability to launch nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s.

Other vessels



At the beginning of the 1990s the Royal Navy had two classes of offshore patrol vessel, the , and the larger . However, in 1997 a decision was taken to replace them. An order for three much larger offshore patrol vessels, the was placed in 2001. Unusually, the three River-class ships are owned by Vosper Thorneycroft, and leased to the Royal Navy until 2013. This relationship is defined by a ground-breaking Contractor Logistic Support contract which contracts the ships' availability to the RN, including technical and stores support. A modified River-class vessel, , was commissioned in July 2007 and became the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 guardship.
The Royal Navy also has the and the Hunt-class mine countermeasure vessel
Hunt class MCMV
The Hunt class is a class of thirteen mine countermeasure vessels of the Royal Navy. They combine the separate role of the traditional minesweeper and that of the active minehunter in one hull...

. The Hunt class of 8 vessels are mine countermeasure vessels that combine the separate role of the traditional minesweeper
Minesweeper (ship)
A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers generally detect then neutralize mines in advance of other naval operations.-History:...

 and that of the active minehunter
Minehunter
Minehunters are mine countermeasure vessels that actively detect and destroy individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines...

 in one hull. If required, they can take on the role of offshore patrol vessels.
The Royal Navy has a mandate to provide support to the British Antarctic Survey
British Antarctic Survey
The British Antarctic Survey is the United Kingdom's national Antarctic operation and has an active role in Antarctic affairs. BAS is part of the Natural Environment Research Council and has over 400 staff. It operates five research stations, two ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica....

 (BAS), which comes in the form of the dedicated Antarctic Patrol Ship . The four vessels were replaced by the survey vessel which surveys the deep ocean. The other survey vessels of the Royal Navy are the two multi-role ships of the Echo class which came into service in 2002 and 2003.

Current role


The current role of the Royal Navy (RN) is to protect British interests at home and abroad, executing the foreign and defence policies of Her Majesty's Government through the exercise of military effect, diplomatic activities and other activities in support of these objectives. The RN is also a key element of the UK contribution to NATO, with a number of assets allocated to NATO tasks at any time. These objectives are delivered via a number of core capabilities:
  • Maintenance of the UK Nuclear Deterrent through a policy of Continuous at Sea Deterrence
    Vanguard class submarine
    The Vanguard class are the Royal Navy's current nuclear ballistic missile submarines , each armed with up to 16 Trident II Submarine-launched ballistic missiles...

    .
  • Provision of two medium scale maritime task groups
    Carrier battle group
    A carrier battle group consists of an aircraft carrier and its escorts, together composing the group. The first naval task forces built around carriers appeared just prior to and during World War II. The Imperial Japanese Navy was the first to assemble a large number of carriers into a single...

     with organic air assets
    Fleet Air Arm
    The Fleet Air Arm is the branch of the British Royal Navy responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm currently operates the AgustaWestland Merlin, Westland Sea King and Westland Lynx helicopters...

    .
  • Delivery of the UK Commando
    British Commandos
    The British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe...

     force.
  • Contribution of assets to the Joint Helicopter Command
    Joint Helicopter Command
    Joint Helicopter Command is a tri-service organisation uniting military helicopters of the British Armed Forces for command and coordination purposes...

    .
  • Maintenance of standing patrol commitments
    Standing Royal Navy deployments
    Although the majority of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy fleet, unless required, remains training and exercising in and around Home Waters, the Navy has a number of standing commitments, including those held for contingent operations, to provide ships for various missions around the world:-Response...

    .
  • Provision of Mine Counter Measures
    Minehunter
    Minehunters are mine countermeasure vessels that actively detect and destroy individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines...

     capability to UK and allied commitments.
  • Provision of Hydrographic
    Hydrography
    Hydrography is the measurement of the depths, the tides and currents of a body of water and establishment of the sea, river or lake bed topography and morphology. Normally and historically for the purpose of charting a body of water for the safe navigation of shipping...

     and meteorological services deployable worldwide.
  • Protection of the UK and EU's Exclusive Economic Zone
    Exclusive Economic Zone
    Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

    .

Current deployments


See Standing Royal Navy deployments
Standing Royal Navy deployments
Although the majority of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy fleet, unless required, remains training and exercising in and around Home Waters, the Navy has a number of standing commitments, including those held for contingent operations, to provide ships for various missions around the world:-Response...

For current events, see Libyan no-fly zone


The Royal Navy is currently deployed in many areas of the world, including a number of standing Royal Navy deployments
Standing Royal Navy deployments
Although the majority of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy fleet, unless required, remains training and exercising in and around Home Waters, the Navy has a number of standing commitments, including those held for contingent operations, to provide ships for various missions around the world:-Response...

. These include several home tasks as well as overseas deployments. The Navy is deployed in the Mediterranean as part of standing NATO deployments including mine countermeasures and NATO Maritime Group 2 and until 2010 had the now disbanded Royal Navy Cyprus Squadron
Royal Navy Cyprus Squadron
The Royal Navy Cyprus Squadron was a Royal Naval Squadron based on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It was formed in February 2003 in support of Operation Telic, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and disbanded in April 2010...

. In both the North and South Atlantic RN vessels are patrolling. There is always a Falkland Islands Patrol Vessel on deployment, currently the new vessel .

In the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

, the RN sustains a number of commitments in support of both national and coalition efforts to stabilise the region. The Armilla Patrol
Armilla patrol
The Armilla patrol is the British Royal Navy's permanent presence in the Persian Gulf.The Royal Navy withdrew its forces from the Persian Gulf in 1971 in line with the UK's general retreat from imperial commitments. However, tensions in the area remained high and Royal Navy ships were still a...

, which started in 1980, is the navy's primary commitment the Gulf region. The Royal Navy also contributes heavily to the combined maritime forces in the Gulf in support of coalition operations. The UK Maritime Component Commander (UKMCC), overseer of all UK warships in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters, is also deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces.

The Royal Navy operates a Response Force Task Group
Response Force Task Group
The Response Force Task Group is a new initiative announced in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and is the heart of the UK’s maritime contingent capability, held at very high readiness to respond to unexpected global events...

 (a product of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review) which is poised to respond globally to short-notice tasking across a diverse range of defence activities such as non-combatant evacuation operations, disaster relief, humanitarian aid or amphibious operations. In 2011 the first deployment of the task group occurred under the name 'COUGAR 11' which will see them transit through the Mediterranean where they will take part in multinational amphibious exercises before moving further east through the Suez Canal for further exercises in the Indian Ocean.

The Royal Navy has been responsible for training the fledging Iraqi Navy
Iraqi Navy
The Iraqi Navy is one of the components of the military of Iraq currently being reconstructed by UK-US Coalition forces in Iraq. Its primary responsibilities are the protection of Iraq's coastline and offshore assets...

 and securing Iraq's oil terminals following the cessation of hostilities in the country. The Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission (Navy) (Umm Qasr), headed by a Royal Navy captain, has been responsible for the former duty whilst Commander Task Force (CTF) Iraqi Maritime, a Royal Navy commodore, has been responsible for the latter.

Operation Atalanta
Operation Atalanta
Operation Atalanta is a current military operation undertaken by the European Union and the European Union Naval Force. It is part of a larger global action by the EU in the Horn of Africa to deal with the Somali crisis; for example World Food Programme ships food aid to ports in Somalia and...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

s Anti-Piracy
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

 operation in the Indian Ocean, is permanently commanded by a senior Royal Navy or Royal Marines officer at Northwood headquarters
Northwood Headquarters
Northwood Headquarters is a military headquarters facility of the British Armed Forces in Eastbury, Hertfordshire, England, adjacent to the London suburb of Northwood...

 and the navy contributes ships to the operation.

The Royal Navy contributes to standing NATO formations and maintains forces as part of the NATO response force
NATO Response Force
The NATO Response Force is a "coherent, high-readiness, joint, multinational force package" of up to 25,000 troops that is "technologically advanced, flexible, deployable, interoperable and sustainable"...

. The RN also has a long-standing commitment to supporting the Five Powers Defence Arrangements countries and occasionally deploys to the Far East as a result. This deployment typically consists of a frigate
Type 23 frigate
The Type 23 frigate is a class of frigate built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. All the ships were first named after British Dukes, thus the class is also known as the Duke class. The first Type 23 was commissioned in 1989, and the sixteenth, was launched in May 2000 and commissioned in...

 and a survey vessel, operating separately.

Command, control and organisation


The titular head of the Royal Navy is the Lord High Admiral
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

, a position which has been held by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

 since 2011. The position had been held by the Sovereign (the Sovereign being the overall head of the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

) from 1964 to 2011.

The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord
First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord. He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff, and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS...

, an Admiral
Admiral (United Kingdom)
Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank Admiral of the Fleet...

 and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom
Defence Council of the United Kingdom
The Defence Council of the United Kingdom is the body legally entrusted with the defence of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories and with control over the British armed forces, and is part of the Ministry of Defence.-Functions:...

. The Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

, which directs the Navy Board
Navy Board
The Navy Board is today the body responsible for the day-to-day running of the British Royal Navy. Its composition is identical to that of the Admiralty Board of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom, except that it does not include any of Her Majesty's Ministers.From 1546 to 1831, the Navy...

, a sub-committee of the Admiralty Board comprising only naval officers and Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 (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.

Organisation



Full command of the Royal Navy is vested in Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Commander-in-Chief Fleet is the admiral responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the British Royal Navy...

, CINCFLEET, who has responsibility for the provision of Force Elements at Readiness to conduct military and diplomatic tasks as required by Her Majesty's Government, including recruitment and training of personnel. CINCFLEET has responsibility for personnel, commando forces, ships and submarines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary in commission. CINCFLEET command is exercised through the Navy Command Headquarters
Navy Command Headquarters
Navy Command Headquarters is the organisation responsible for the direction and management of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. The organisation provides support to Commander in Chief Fleet, the admiral responsible to the First Sea Lord for the provision of ships, personnel, aircraft and...

, based at in Portsmouth. An Operational Headquarters, the Northwood Headquarters
Northwood Headquarters
Northwood Headquarters is a military headquarters facility of the British Armed Forces in Eastbury, Hertfordshire, England, adjacent to the London suburb of Northwood...

, at Northwood, London, is co-located with the Permanent Joint Headquarters
Permanent Joint Headquarters
The Permanent Joint Headquarters is the British tri-service headquarters from where all overseas military operations are planned and controlled. It is situated at Northwood Headquarters in Northwood, London....

 of the United Kingdom's armed forces, and a NATO Regional Command, Allied Maritime Component Command Northwood (AMCCN).

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 CINCFLEET 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
Second Sea Lord
The Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command , commonly just known as the Second Sea Lord , is one of the most senior admirals of the British Royal Navy , and is responsible for personnel and naval shore establishments.-History:In 1805, for the first time, specific functions were...

, Commander in Chief Naval Home command, continues to act as the Principal Personnel Officer.

The Naval Command senior appointments are:
  • Admiral Sir Trevor Soar
    Trevor Soar
    Admiral Sir Trevor Alan Soar KCB OBE is currently the Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy.-Early life:Soar was born in Belper, and was educated at Loughborough Grammar School. He joined the Royal Navy in 1975, attending BRNC Dartmouth.-Naval career:He commanded the submarines from 1987 to...

    , Commander-in-Chief, Fleet
  • Commander-in-Chief Fleet Headquarters:
    • Deputy CINC and Chief of Staff: Vice Admiral
      Vice Admiral
      Vice admiral is a senior naval rank of a three-star flag officer, which is equivalent to lieutenant general in the other uniformed services. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral...

       George Zambellas
      George Zambellas
      Vice Admiral George Michael Zambellas DSC, was Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces from June 2007 until September 2008 and is currently Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Chief of Staff to Navy Command Headquarters, and Chief Naval Warfare Officer.-Life:...

      , (based in HMS Excellent, commands the Headquarters).
    • Chief of Staff (Capability): Rear Admiral
      Rear Admiral
      Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

       Peter Hudson
      Peter Hudson (Royal Navy officer)
      Rear Admiral Peter D. Hudson CBE is a Royal Navy officer who became Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces.-Naval career:Educated at Netherthorpe Grammar School and the Royal Naval College, Darmouth, Hudson joined the Royal Navy in 1980...

    • Commander Operations: Rear Admiral Ian Corder (based at Northwood, also Rear Admiral Submarines and Commander Submarine Allied Forces North (NATO)).
    • Commander UK Maritime Forces
      Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
      Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces or COMUKMARFOR is a senior post in the Royal Navy. The post is the highest sea-going command in the Royal Navy and is part of the Fleet Battle Staff based in Portsmouth, part of Commander-in-Chief Fleet's staff...

      : Rear Admiral Duncan Potts
      Duncan Potts
      Rear Admiral Duncan L. Potts is a Royal Navy officer who currently serves as Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces.-Naval career:Educated at Wellington School in Somerset, Potts joined the Royal Navy in 1979...

       (deployable Force Commander responsible for Maritime Battle Staffs; UK Amphibious Task Group/UK Response Force Task Group, UK Maritime Component Command).
    • Deputy Commander UK Maritime Forces
      Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces
      Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces or COMUKMARFOR is a senior post in the Royal Navy. The post is the highest sea-going command in the Royal Navy and is part of the Fleet Battle Staff based in Portsmouth, part of Commander-in-Chief Fleet's staff...

      : Commodore Simon Ancona
    • Commander UK Amphibious Force: Major General
      Major General
      Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

       Buster Howes
      Buster Howes
      Major-General Francis Hedley Robertson "Buster" Howes OBE is a Royal Marines officer who became Commandant General Royal Marines.-Military career:...

      , also the Commandant General Royal Marines
      Commandant General Royal Marines
      The Commandant General Royal Marines is the professional head of the Royal Marines. The title has existed since 1945...

    • Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland: Rear Admiral
      Rear Admiral
      Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

       Christopher Hockley
      Christopher Hockley
      Rear Admiral Christopher J. Hockley is a Royal Navy officer who became Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland with effect from September 2011.-Naval career:...

    • Flag Officer Sea Training
      Flag Officer Sea Training
      Flag Officer Sea Training is a Royal Navy training organisation responsible for ensuring that Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are fit to join the operational fleet. FOST certifies crews and vessels as being sufficiently prepared for any eventuality through rigorous exercises and...

      : Rear Admiral
      Rear Admiral
      Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

       C. A. Snow

  • Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command
    • Second Sea Lord:Vice Admiral
      Vice Admiral
      Vice admiral is a senior naval rank of a three-star flag officer, which is equivalent to lieutenant general in the other uniformed services. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral...

       Charles Montgomery
      Charles Montgomery (Royal Navy officer)
      Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery CBE is a Royal Navy officer who currently serves as Second Sea Lord.-Naval career:Educated at Uppingham School and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Montgomery joined the Royal Navy in 1973. After spending his first three years of service at Sheffield University he...

       CBE
      Order of the British Empire
      The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

    • Chief of Staff (Personnel)/Naval Secretary: Rear Admiral
      Rear Admiral
      Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

       David Steel
      David Steel (Royal Navy officer)
      Rear Admiral David George Steel CBE is a Royal Navy officer who currently serves as Naval Secretary.-Naval career:Steel trained as a barrister and then chose to join the Royal Navy. In December 1999 he was commended for valuable service in support of operations in Kosovo and Macedonia earlier that...

    • Director General Naval Chaplaincy Services: The Venerable
      Venerable
      The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English-language translation of a number of Buddhist titles.-Roman Catholic:...

       J. Green OHC


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. There are further details of the Royal Navy's historical organisation at List of fleets and major commands of the Royal Navy.

Locations





The Royal Navy currently operates three bases in the United Kingdom where commissioned ships are based; Portsmouth
HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy...

, Clyde
HMNB Clyde
Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy...

 and Devonport
HMNB Devonport
Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport , is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy . HMNB Devonport is located in Devonport, in the west of the city of Plymouth in Devon, England...

, Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

 – Devonport is the largest operational naval base in the UK and Western Europe. Each base hosts a Flotilla Command under a Commodore, or in the case of Clyde a Captain, responsible for the provision of Operational Capability using the ships and submarines within the flotilla. 3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade is a commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines. Its personnel are predominantly Royal Marines, supported by units of Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, The Rifles, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando...

 Royal Marines is similarly commanded by a Brigadier
Brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

 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
Rosyth Dockyard
Rosyth Dockyard is a large naval dockyard on the Firth of Forth at Rosyth, Fife, Scotland, owned by Babcock Marine, which primarily undertakes refitting of Royal Navy surface vessels.-History:...

 and at Portsmouth. A Naval Base Review was undertaken in 2006 and early 2007, the outcome being announced by Secretary of State, Des Browne
Des Browne
Desmond Henry Browne, Baron Browne of Ladyton is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock and Loudoun from 1997 to 2010...

 the Defence Secretary 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
Dartmouth, Devon
Dartmouth is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon. It is a tourist destination set on the banks of the estuary of the River Dart, which is a long narrow tidal ria that runs inland as far as Totnes...

. Basic training for future ratings
Naval rating
A Naval Rating is an enlisted member of a country's Navy, subordinate to Warrant Officers and Officers hence not conferred by commission or warrant...

 takes place at HMS Raleigh
HMS Raleigh (shore establishment)
HMS Raleigh is the modern-day basic training facility of the Royal Navy at Torpoint, Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is spread over several square miles, and has damage control simulators and fire-fighting training facilities...

 at Torpoint
Torpoint
Torpoint is a civil parish and town on the Rame Peninsula in southeast Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated opposite the city of Plymouth across the Hamoaze which is the tidal estuary of the River Tamar....

, 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
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

. 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 station in Gibraltar to support the small Gibraltar Squadron
Gibraltar Squadron
The Gibraltar Squadron is a unit of the British Royal Navy. It is the only resident sea-going Royal Naval unit in Gibraltar, attached to British Forces Gibraltar...

, the RNs only permanent overseas squadron. A number of personnel are also based at East Cove Military Port and RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands...

 in the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 to support APT(S). Small numbers of personnel are based in Diego Garcia
Diego Garcia
Diego Garcia is a tropical, footprint-shaped coral atoll located south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean at 7 degrees, 26 minutes south latitude. It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory [BIOT] and is positioned at 72°23' east longitude....

 (Naval Party 1002), Miami (NP 1011 – AUTEC), Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 (NP 1022), Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 (NP 1023) and elsewhere.

Royal Marines



The Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 are a maritime-focused, amphibious, highly specialised light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 force. They are capable of deploying at short notice in support of the United Kingdom Government's military and diplomatic objectives overseas. The Royal Marines are organised into a light infantry brigade, 3 Commando Brigade, and a number of separate units. These include the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
The Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines , formerly Comacchio Company Royal Marines and Comacchio Group Royal Marines , is a commando-sized specialist unit of the Royal Marines responsible for guarding the United Kingdom's Naval nuclear weapons and other security-related duties.-History:On 1 May...

 (previously the Comacchio Group), a special guard and oil rig guard force, the Special Boat Service
Special Boat Service
The Special Boat Service is the special forces unit of the British Royal Navy. Together with the Special Air Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group they form the United Kingdom Special Forces and come under joint control of the same Director Special...

, a maritime special forces unit, and an assault craft unit, 1 Assault Group Royal Marines
1 Assault Group Royal Marines
1 Assault Group Royal Marines provides the Royal Marines expertise and training in small boat operations both amphibious and riverine. In addition it trains and parents the Assault Squadrons of the Royal Marines and their Landing Craft detachments...

, which supervises landing craft on board the amphibious ships and landing craft training.

Of the Navy


The British Royal Navy is commonly referred to as the "Royal Navy" both in the United Kingdom and other countries. Navies of Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries where the British monarch is also head of state
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

 also include their national name e.g. Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces...

. Some navies of other monarchies, such as the Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy
The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

) and Kungliga Flottan (Royal Swedish Navy), are also called "Royal Navy" in their own language and the French Navy
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

, despite France being a republic since 1870, is often nicknamed "La Royale" (literally: The Royal).

Of ships



Royal Navy ships in commission are prefixed since 1789 with Her Majesty's Ship
Her Majesty's Ship
Her or His Majesty's Ship is the ship prefix used for ships of the navy in some monarchies, either formally or informally.-HMS:* In the British Royal Navy, it refers to the king or queen of the United Kingdom as appropriate at the time...

 (His Majesty's Ship), abbreviated to HMS
Her Majesty's Ship
Her or His Majesty's Ship is the ship prefix used for ships of the navy in some monarchies, either formally or informally.-HMS:* In the British Royal Navy, it refers to the king or queen of the United Kingdom as appropriate at the time...

; for example, . Submarines are styled HM Submarine, similarly 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
Type 23 frigate
The Type 23 frigate is a class of frigate built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. All the ships were first named after British Dukes, thus the class is also known as the Duke class. The first Type 23 was commissioned in 1989, and the sixteenth, was launched in May 2000 and commissioned in...

 are named after British Dukes) or traditional (for example, the Invincible-class
Invincible class aircraft carrier
The Invincible class is a class of light aircraft carrier operated by the British Royal Navy. Three ships were constructed, , and . The vessels were built as aviation-capable anti-submarine warfare platforms to counter the Cold War North Atlantic Soviet submarine threat, and initially embarked...

 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
Pennant number
In the modern Royal Navy, and other navies of Europe and the Commonwealth, ships are identified by pennant numbers...

 which in part denotes its role.

Custom and tradition



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
White Ensign
The White Ensign or St George's Ensign is an ensign flown on British Royal Navy ships and shore establishments. It consists of a red St George's Cross on a white field with the Union Flag in the upper canton....

 at the stern whilst alongside during daylight hours and at the main-mast whilst under way. When alongside, the Union Jack (as distinct from the Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

, often referred to as the Union Jack) is flown from the jackstaff
Jackstaff
A jackstaff is a small vertical spar in the bow of a ship, on which a particular type of flag, known as a jack, is flown. It is from this that the term Union Jack derives ....

 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
Fleet Review, Royal Navy
A fleet review is a traditional gathering of ships from a particular navy to be observed by the reigning monarch or his or her viceroy, a practice allegedly dating back to the 15th century. Such an event is not held at regular intervals and originally only occurred when the fleet was mobilised for...

 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 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. The nicknames include "The Andrew" (of uncertain origin, possibly after a zealous press ganger
Impressment
Impressment, colloquially, "the Press", was the act of taking men into a navy by force and without notice. It was used by the Royal Navy, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries, in wartime, as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice goes back to...

) and "The Senior Service". The RN has evolved a rich volume of slang, known as "Jack-speak". Nowadays the British sailor is usually "Jack" (or "Jenny") rather than the more historical "Jack Tar
Jack Tar
Jack Tar was a common English term used to refer to seamen of the Merchant or Royal Navy, particularly during the period of the British Empire. Both members of the public, and seafarers themselves, made use of the name in identifying those who went to sea...

". Royal Marines are fondly known as "Bootnecks" or often just as "Royals". The current compendium of Naval slang was brought together by Commander A. Covey-Crump and his name has in itself become the subject of Naval slang; Covey Crump
Covey Crump
Commander A. Covey-Crump, Royal Navy , a former Naval Assistant to the Chief of Naval Information, was responsible in the mid-1950s for compiling a record of naval slang, abbreviations, legends and historical tid-bits. The first edition appeared on 17 May 1955...

. A game traditionally played by the Navy is the four-player board game "Uckers
Uckers
Uckers is a two or four player board game traditionally played in the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy and Royal Australian Navy. It is believed to originate in the 18th/19th centuries from the Indian game "Pachisi" although the first reference to it in print does not appear...

". This is similar to Ludo
Ludo (board game)
Ludo is a simple board game for two to four players, in which the players race their four tokens from start to finish according to dice rolls. Like other cross and circle games, it is similar to the Indian Pachisi, but simpler...

 and it is regarded as easy to learn, but difficult to play well.

In popular culture


The Royal Navy of the 18th century is depicted in many novels
Mutiny on the Bounty (novel)
For the actual event described in this book, see Mutiny on the Bounty.Mutiny on the Bounty is the title of the 1932 novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, based on the mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh, commanding officer of the Bounty in 1789. It has been made into several films...

 and several films dramatising the voyage and mutiny on the Bounty
Mutiny on the Bounty
The mutiny on the Bounty was a mutiny that occurred aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on 28 April 1789, and has been commemorated by several books, films, and popular songs, many of which take considerable liberties with the facts. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian against the...

. The Royal Navy's Napoleonic campaigns of the early 19th century are a popular subject of historical novels. Some of the best-known include Patrick O'Brian
Patrick O'Brian
Patrick O'Brian, CBE , born Richard Patrick Russ, was an English novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centred on the friendship of English Naval Captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish–Catalan physician Stephen...

's Aubrey-Maturin series, C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower
Horatio Hornblower
Horatio Hornblower is a fictional Royal Navy officer who is the protagonist of a series of novels by C. S. Forester. He was later the subject of films and television programs.The original Hornblower tales began with the 1937 novel The Happy Return Horatio Hornblower is a fictional Royal Navy...

 chronicles, Julian Stockwin
Julian Stockwin
Julian Stockwin is an author of historical action-adventure fiction.-Biography:Born in 1944, Stockwin soon developed a love for the sea...

's Kydd
Kydd
Kydd, first published in 2001, is a historical novel by Julian Stockwin. This first instalment in Julian Stockwin's series of novels set during the Age of Fighting Sail tells the story of young Kydd, who is pressed into service on a British ship in 1793...

 series, Showell Styles
Showell Styles
Frank Showell Styles was a Welsh writer and mountaineer.Showell Styles was born in Four Oaks, Birmingham and was educated at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield. Known to his friends as 'Pip', Showell Styles' childhood was spent in the hills of North Wales where he became an avid...

' The Midshipman Quinn stories, Dudley Pope
Dudley Pope
Dudley Bernard Egerton Pope was a British writer of both nautical fiction and history, most notable for his Lord Ramage series of historical novels. Greatly inspired by C.S. Forester, Pope was one of the most successful authors to explore the genre of nautical fiction, often compared to Patrick...

's Lord Ramage
Lord Ramage
Nicholas, Lord Ramage was the fictional character at the centre of a series of sea novels written by Dudley Pope. Ramage was an officer in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.-Early life:...

 novels and Douglas Reeman
Douglas Reeman
Douglas Edward Reeman, born at Thames Ditton, is a British author who has written many historical fiction books on the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars....

's Richard Bolitho
Richard Bolitho
The Bolitho novels are a series of nautical war novels written by Douglas Reeman . They focus on the military careers of Richard Bolitho and Adam Bolitho in the Royal Navy, from the time of the American Revolution past the Napoleonic Era.-Richard Bolitho:Richard Bolitho is a fictional Royal Navy...

 novels. Alexander Kent is a pen name of Douglas Reeman
Douglas Reeman
Douglas Edward Reeman, born at Thames Ditton, is a British author who has written many historical fiction books on the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars....

 who, under his birth name, has written many novels featuring the Royal Navy in the two World Wars. Other well-known novels include Alistair MacLean
Alistair MacLean
Alistair Stuart MacLean was a Scottish novelist who wrote popular thrillers or adventure stories, the best known of which are perhaps The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare, all three having been made into successful films...

's HMS Ulysses
HMS Ulysses (novel)
HMS Ulysses was the first novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, and ultimately, one of his most popular. Originally published in 1955, it was also released by Fontana Books in 1960...

, Nicholas Monsarrat
Nicholas Monsarrat
Commander Nicholas John Turney Monsarrat RNVR was a British novelist known today for his sea stories, particularly The Cruel Sea and Three Corvettes , but perhaps best known internationally for his novels, The Tribe That Lost Its Head and its sequel, Richer Than All His Tribe.- Early life :Born...

's The Cruel Sea
The Cruel Sea (book)
The Cruel Sea is a 1951 novel by Nicholas Monsarrat. It follows the lives of a group of Royal Navy sailors fighting the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II....

, and C.S. Forester's The Ship
The Ship (novel)
The Ship is a novel written by British author C. S. Forester set in the Mediterranean during World War II, and first published in May 1943. It follows the life of a Royal Navy light cruiser for a single action, including a detailed analysis of many of the men on board and the contribution they...

, all set during World War II.

The Navy can also be seen in numerous films. The fictional spy James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 is 'officially' a commander in the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy is featured in The Spy Who Loved Me
The Spy Who Loved Me (film)
The Spy Who Loved Me is a spy film, the tenth film in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum...

, when a nuclear ballistic-missile submarine is stolen, and in Tomorrow Never Dies
Tomorrow Never Dies
Tomorrow Never Dies is the eighteenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the second to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Bruce Feirstein wrote the screenplay, and it was directed by Roger Spottiswoode. It follows Bond as he tries to stop a media mogul from engineering...

when a media baron 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
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, with Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin and released by 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films and Universal Studios...

was based on Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. The Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is a multi-billion dollar Walt Disney franchise encompassing a series of films, a theme park ride, and spinoff novels as well as numerous video games and other publications. The franchise originates with the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, which opened at Disneyland in...

series of films also includes the Navy as the force pursuing the eponymous pirates. Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

 directed and starred in his own film In Which We Serve
In Which We Serve
In Which We Serve is a 1942 British patriotic war film directed by David Lean and Noël Coward. It was made during the Second World War with the assistance of the Ministry of Information ....

, 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
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

, with supporting roles from John Mills
John Mills
Sir John Mills CBE , born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills, was an English actor who made more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades.-Life and career:...

 and Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough , CBE is a British actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. As director and producer he won two Academy Awards for the 1982 film Gandhi...

. Other examples of full length feature films focusing specifically on the Royal Navy, have been: Seagulls over Sorrento
Seagulls Over Sorrento
Seagulls Over Sorrento is a 1954 British wartime drama film made by the Boulting Brothers based on the play of the same name by Hugh Hastings. The film stars Gene Kelly and was one of three made by Kelly in Europe over an 18 month period in order to make use of frozen MGM funds...

; Yangtse Incident
Yangtse Incident (1957 film)
Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst is a 1957 British war film that tells the story of the British frigate HMS Amethyst caught up in the Chinese Civil War....

, the story of 's escape down the Yangtze river; We Dive at Dawn
We Dive at Dawn
We Dive at Dawn is a 1943 war film directed by Anthony Asquith, starring John Mills and Eric Portman as Royal Navy submariners in the Second World War. It was written by Val Valentine and J. B. Williams with uncredited assistance from Frank Launder...

; The Battle of River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate (film)
The Battle of the River Plate is a 1956 British war film by director-writer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, starring John Gregson, Anthony Quayle and Peter Finch...

; Sink the Bismarck!
Sink the Bismarck!
Sink the Bismarck! is a 1960 black-and-white British war film based on the book, the "Last Nine Days of the Bismarck" by C. S. Forester. It stars Kenneth More and Dana Wynter and was directed by Lewis Gilbert. To date, it is the only movie made that deals directly with the operations, chase, and...

; The Navy Lark
The Navy Lark (film)
The Navy Lark is a 1959 British comedy film adaptation of The Navy Lark radio series broadcast on the BBC Light Programme. It featured Cecil Parker, Ronald Shiner and Leslie Phillips, Gordon Jackson and Hattie Jacques...

.

CS Forester's Hornblower novels have been adapted for television
Hornblower (TV series)
Hornblower is the umbrella title of a series of television drama programmes based on C. S. Forester's novels about the fictional character Horatio Hornblower, a Royal Naval officer during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars....

, as have Bernard Cornwell
Bernard Cornwell
Bernard Cornwell OBE is an English author of historical novels. He is best known for his novels about Napoleonic Wars rifleman Richard Sharpe which were adapted into a series of Sharpe television films.-Biography:...

's Sharpe
Sharpe (TV series)
Sharpe is a British series of television dramas starring Sean Bean about Richard Sharpe, a fictional British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe is the hero of a number of novels by Bernard Cornwell; most, though not all, of the episodes are based on the books...

 series, which, although primarily involving the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 of the time, includes several novels involving Richard Sharpe
Richard Sharpe (fictional character)
Sharpe is a series of historical fiction stories by Bernard Cornwell centred on the character of Richard Sharpe. The stories formed the basis for an ITV television series wherein the eponymous character was played by Sean Bean....

 at sea with the Navy. The Royal Navy was the subject of an acclaimed 1970s BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 television drama series, Warship
Warship (TV series)
Warship was a popular British television drama series produced by the BBC between 1973 and 1977. It was also dubbed into Dutch and broadcast in the Netherlands as Alle hens...

, 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 Sailor
Sailor (TV series)
Sailor was a major BBC television documentary series, first shown in the late 1970s, about life on board the fourth HMS Ark Royal, a British aircraft carrier. It followed the ship on a five and a half month deployment to North America in 1976....

, about life on the aircraft carrier ; and Submarine, about the submarine captains' training course
Submarine Command Course
The Submarine Command Course , previously known as the Commanding Officers Qualifying Course , and informally known as the Perisher because of its low success rate, is a training course for naval officers preparing to take command of a submarine.Created by the Royal Navy during World War I, the...

, 'The Perisher'. A book based on the series, and also called Submarine, was produced by Jonathan Crane. There have also been recent Channel 5 documentaries such as "Royal Navy Submarine Patrol" following a nuclear powered attack submarine.

The popular BBC radio comedy series The Navy Lark
The Navy Lark
The Navy Lark was a radio sit-com about life aboard a British Royal Navy frigate named HMS Troutbridge, based in HMNB Portsmouth, though in series 1 and 2 the ship and crew were stationed offshore at an unnamed location known simply as "The Island." In series 2 this island was revealed to be...

featured a fictitious warship ("HMS Troutbridge") and ran from 1959 to 1977.

See also


  • List of ship names of the Royal Navy (a full historical list)
  • The Royal British Legion
    The Royal British Legion
    The Royal British Legion , sometimes referred to as simply The Legion, is the United Kingdom's leading charity providing financial, social and emotional support to those who have served or who are currently serving in the British Armed Forces, and their dependants.-History:The British Legion was...

  • The Royal Hospital School

External links




Video clips