Nick names have been around for a long time, certainly a couple of hundred years.  They used to be 'eke-names' - 'eke' meaning to add something to, and from that became either 'neke'  'nicke' ' nyck' or  'nic' names.
Therefore a nickname is a  name or appellation added to, or substituted for, the proper name of a person, place, etc., usually given in ridicule or pleasantry.

From nicknames or nursenames came the altering of Christian names so that for example, William became Bill, Richard became Dick, Anthony became Tony etc. However, note that the "lazy" way of speaking where Elizabeth becomes Liz, Barbara becomes Babs are not the same.

Obviously there is a nicknamer, a nicknamee and even a nicknameless person or originator, and the best known of all was the Victorian politician Disraeli: he gave just about everything a nickname. 

A man who is 'nicknameable' must be a good fellow so the OED {Oxford English Dictionary} tells us. This very statement refers of course to the "pleasantry" mentioned above {in the white section} but not of course to the "ridicule". Many mothers spend hours choosing names which either cannot be shortened or have no recognised nickname. Many names of course simply get abbreviated but beyond that, not corrupted and examples are Jeffery becomes Jeff, Geoffrey becomes Geoff, Samantha becomes Sam, Trevor becomes Trev, Joanna becomes Jo. Other names are 'slightly' altered {and thus corrupted}, names like Andrew becoming Andy for example, whilst others are much more 'heavily' corrupted, Debra and Debbie; Thomas/Tom/Tommy, Joseph and Joe.

Words like Methodists, are nicknames, and whilst on the subject, religion per se comes in for a great amount of ridicule when it comes to nicknames particularly it would seem all those that are not of an Anglican origin!

Out of the hundreds [or so] of different surnames in my telephone directory, surprisingly few, if used by a Royal Sailor, would end up with a nickname.  Not quite two thirds of the letters of the alphabet {61.5%} are used for nick names with the letters, some of them obvious of E, G, I, O, Q, U, V, X, Y and Z not used.

The most used letter of the alphabet is 'S; with 17 applied names followed by 'B' with 12 and 'D' with 10. At the bottom is 'M' 'K' and 'H' with just one each.

Here they are in order of most used/alphabetical.

LETTER NICK NAME SURNAME
'S' SANDY Powell/Nelson
  SCRUMPY Marshall
  SHADY Lane
  SHARKY Ward
  SHINER Wright
  SLINGER Wood
  SMOKEY Cole/Funnel
  SMUDGE Smith
  SOAPY Watson/Hudson
  SPIDER Kelly/Web
  SPIKE Hughes
  SPUD Murphy
  SWAMPY Marsh
  SWEENEY Todd
  STICKY* Green
  SHEP* Woolley/Shepard
  STAN* Matthews
'B' BAGSY Baker
  BANJO West
  BEN Trueman
  BOGEY Knight
  BOMBER Wells/Mills
  BRIGHAM Young
  BUCK Taylor/Ryan
  BUNGY Williams/Edwards
  BUNNY Austin/Warren
  BURT Reynolds
  BUSTER Brown/Crabb
  BUCK* Rogers
'D' DAISY May/Adams
  DANNY Kay
  DARBY Allen
  DICKY Bird
  DODGER Long
  DOLLY Gray
  DUFF Cooper
  DUSTY Miller
  DUTCHY Holland
  DOLLY* Parton
'P' PANSY Potter
  PEDLAR Palmer
  PERRY Mason
  PINCHER Martin
  PONY Moore
  PRICKY Price
  PUSSER Hill
  PAT* Patterson/Pattinson
  PICKLES* Nelson
'W' WHACKER Payne
  WHISKEY Walker
  WIGGY Bennett
  WINDY Gale
  WILLIE* Rushton
'A' AGGIE Weston
  ALFIE Newman
  ARTIE Shaw
'J' JASON King
  JIMMY Green
  JUMPER Collins
'N' NICK Carter
  NOBBY Clark/Hall
  NOZZ King
'C' CHOPPER Harris
  CONNIE Francis
  CHARLIE* Brown
'T' TANSY Lee
  TINY Little
  TUG

or TUGG

Wilson

or

Willson

'F' FEZZ Parker
  FLASH Gordon
'L' LARRY Lloyd/Lamb
  LEGS Diamond
'R' RATTLER Morgan
  RONNIE Barker
  RUBY* Murray
'H' HAPPY Day
'K' KNOCKER White
'M' MAGGIE

MINI

May

Bannister/Cooper

My thanks to Jumper Collins [andycollins38@hotmail.com] who emailed me to add ten more names to the list above.  His names are shown with an asterisk alongside them.

NOTE;   Words like 'oppo', 'towny', 'scouse', 'jock', 'paddy' , 'taffy', 'yorkie' are  nicknames of course, but names used to indicate geographical locations and special friendships. Nicknames are universally known throughout the navy.  They should always be decent, not silly, not parochial to a messdeck or a ships company. Words like  'lofty', 'titch', tubby, again are  nicknames, and are used to actually describe somebody's physical build.  If you know of somebody called say, Spire, then Lofty would be acceptable,   but if there is only one man {or just a few} with that name in the navy it is hardly universal for him to be listed.

Bearing the last paragraph in mind, particularly the word 'universal', can you add to this list please?