Ships of the Royal Navy

Ships of the Royal Navy is a naval history reference work by J. J. Colledge (1908–1997); it provides brief entries on all recorded ships in commission in the Royal Navy from the 15th century, giving location of constructions, date of launch, tonnage, specification and fate.

It was published in two volumes by Greenhill Books. Volume 1, first published in 1969, covers major ships; Volume 2, first published in 1970, covers Navy-built trawlers, drifters, tugs and requisitioned ships including Armed Merchant Cruisers.

The book is the standard single-volume reference work on ships of the Royal Navy, and Colledge's conventions and spellings of names are used by museums, libraries and archives. For more data on the ships of the pre-1863 British Navy, see British Warships in the Age of Sail.

A revised third version of the Volume 1 work was published in 2003 which added the ships of the late 20th century. The revision was conducted by Ben Warlow. A fourth edition was published in 2006, reinstating some of the smaller vessels that the third edition had omitted. A further revised fourth edition was published in 2010 to include requisitioned ships, e.g. Armed merchant cruisers, Merchant aircraft carriers, as well as small craft, e.g. landing craft and Admiralty-built trawlers.

Ships of the royal navy
Cover of 2006 edition.

References

  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2010) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (4th Rev. ed.). London: Chatham. ISBN 978-1-935149-07-1.
HMS Pennywort (K111)

HMS Pennywort was a Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Navy during the Second World War. She served as an ocean escort in the Battle of the Atlantic.

HMS Rhododendron (K78)

HMS Rhododendron was a Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Navy during the Second World War. She served as an ocean escort in the Battle of the Atlantic.

J. J. Colledge

James Joseph Colledge (1908 – 26 April 1997) was a British naval historian, author of Ships of the Royal Navy, the standard work on the fighting ships of the British Royal Navy from the 15th century to the 20th century.

He also wrote Warships of World War II with Henry Trevor Lenton, listing Royal and Commonwealth warships.

List of Royal Navy ships

There are three lists of Royal Navy ships:

List of active Royal Navy shipslists all currently commissioned vessels in the Royal Navy.List of ship names of the Royal Navylists all names that Royal Navy ships ever bore.List of Royal Navy ships in the Pacific Northwestdetails Pacific Squadron and other vessels important in the history of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North AmericaAs another option the menu on the right offers lists of classes for each type of ship.

List of amphibious warfare ships of the Royal Navy

This is a list of amphibious warfare ships of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom.

List of hospitals and hospital ships of the Royal Navy

HMHS is an acronym for His/Her Majesty's Hospital Ship.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy (D–F)

This is a list of Royal Navy ship names starting with D, E, and F.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy (G–H)

This is a list of Royal Navy ship names starting with G and H.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy (I–L)

This is a list of Royal Navy ship names starting with I, J, K, and L.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy (M–N)

This is a list of Royal Navy ship names starting with M and N.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy (O–Q)

This is a list of Royal Navy ship names starting with the letters O, P and Q.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy (R–T)

This is a list of Royal Navy ship names starting with R, S, and T.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy (U–Z)

This is a list of Royal Navy ship names starting with U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.

List of support ships of the Royal Navy

This is a list of support ships of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. There are currently no active ships. In World War I, obsolete hulks and cruisers were generally used for maintenance and support. Many commercial vessels were taken up from trade during both wars to act as depot ships. The first ship built specifically for the role was the Medway of 1928. Converted ships below are given with dates of conversion.

Motor Gun Boat

Motor Gun Boat (MGB) was a Royal Navy term for a small military vessel of the Second World War. Such boats were physically similar to Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), equipped instead with a mix of guns instead of torpedoes. Their small size and high speed made them difficult targets for E-boats or torpedo bombers, but they were particularly vulnerable to mines and heavy weather. The large number of guns meant the crew was relatively large, numbering as high as thirty men.

Motor Launch

A Motor Launch (ML) is a small military vessel in Royal Navy service. It was designed for harbour defence and submarine chasing or for armed high-speed air-sea rescue. Some vessels for water police service are also known as motor launches.

Ocean boarding vessel

Ocean boarding vessels (OBVs) were merchant ships taken over by the Royal Navy for the purpose of enforcing wartime blockades by intercepting and boarding foreign vessels.

Post ship

Post ship was a designation used in the Royal Navy during the second half of the 18th century and the Napoleonic Wars to describe a ship of the sixth rate (see rating system of the Royal Navy) that was smaller than a frigate (in practice, carrying fewer than 28 guns), but by virtue of being a rated ship (with at least 20 guns), had to have as its captain a post captain rather than a lieutenant or commander. Thus ships with 20 to 26 guns were post ships, though this situation changed after 1817.Sea officers often referred to the post ships as frigates though technically the Admiralty scrupulously never described them as such. The vessels were frigate-built, with traditional quarterdecks and forecastles (the defining characteristic of post ships, distinguishing them from 20-gun ship-sloops), but, unlike true frigates, they lacked an orlop platform amidships. They had a high center of gravity, which made them slow and unweatherly, but they were seaworthy. In peacetime the Royal Navy frequently used them as substitutes for frigates, especially in distant foreign stations. In wartime their slowness meant they were used mostly as convoy escorts.

Unlike other uses of the term "ship" during this era, "post ship" in itself implies nothing as regards the rig of the vessel; however, all sixth rates were in practice ship-rigged, i.e. were square-rigged on three masts.

For an example of a post ship, see HMS Camilla. She was one of ten Sphinx-class post ships built during the 1770s.

The United States Navy termed ships of this type "third-class frigates."

The Sail and Steam Navy List

For a list of ships of the Royal Navy, see List of Royal Navy ships.The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815–1889 by Rif Winfield and David Lyon is a historical reference work providing details of all recorded ships in commission or intended to serve in the Royal Navy from 1815 to 1889. Where available in Admiralty records (from which all the data is sourced), it gives the location of construction, dates of construction (ordering, keel laying, launch and commissioning), principal dimensions and tonnage, armament, machinery (for steam vessels) and fate of every ship of the Royal Navy over the period.

David Lyon's The Sailing Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy, Built, Purchased and Captured, 1688-1860 had been published in 1993, a ground-breaking study of the sailing vessels of the Royal Navy from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until the close of the Age of Sail. He had planned a follow-up on the ships of the Royal Navy in the era of transition from sail to steam power, and began work in preparation for that volume. This was cut short by his death in a diving accident during 2000 in the Bahamas (he was an enthusiastic underwater archaeologist).

Shortly after his death, his colleague Rif Winfield, author of the best-selling Fifty Gun Ship, and subsequently the author of a series of volumes under the heading British Warships in the Age of Sail, took over David's accumulated notes, added them to his own extensive research on Royal Naval warships, and carried on this work to produce what the Journal for Maritime Research described as

The book is a valuable reference work and the only complete single-volume published record for ships of the late Georgian era (1714-1837) and of the early (1837-1860) and middle (1860-1889) Victorian Royal Navy. Rif Winfield's subsequent four-volume British Warships in the Age of Sail series has expanded this material to incorporate all vessels of the British (before 1704, English) Navy between 1603 and 1863, and incorporated the results of extra research since the publication of their Sail and Steam Navy List.

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