ROYAL NAVAL AND BRITISH MARITIME SNIPPETS 3 - a bonanza of ships crests throughout!

a continuation of type from and


2.  The UK Defence Medal - taken from Hansards 2011 - an interesting document which shows that  parliament and the general public at large are all for it...BUT the MOD, of all people, are vehemently against it, or at least our senior and mainly retired 3 and 4 star generals are.  Click on this link HANSARDS THE DEFENCE MEDAL 2011.pdf  Having read that, look here to see a 2015 update plus the support of that lovely lady Joanna Lumley xx

3.  As popular as any Dandy and Beano comic or even an Egyptian AFO in the naval mess-deck eye, was the knowledge of and understanding of the ship's crest or, by another name, badge. It became the hobby of many, stimulated personal collections, became the subject of many web pages, and trying to find a pub in a naval town whose walls were not covered with crests, was a near impossibility.

The written word on this subject is ubiquitous, with not a goodly amount of error especially amongst those selling or dealing in crests. The watch-word is "beware" and always triangulate your searches by consulting at least three different books or web sites to ascertain that a crest [picture or story of] is credible. This website tells us:

"Not all Ships in The Royal navy were issued with an official badge, so it may be that any particular ship you are looking for does not have a badge. T.P Stopfords Book, 2 Volumes Admiralty Ships Badges Original Patterns, details all the Official Badges issued to ships in The R.N. this is a highly detailed book with exceptional pictures of the Original Sealed Admiralty Patterns, it is also a very scarce book, published in 1986, and good quality copies fetch a high price"

They certainly do [a high price that is] but the quoted edition is now way out of date and the new edition [1996*] adds many more crests with much more detail than the 1986 edition [still in two volumes]. They are rare books and I am the proud owner of a set. If you have a problem with a ship's crest issued in the period 1919 to 1994, then ask and I will do my best to answer it.
* Attached to Volume One of the Book [Badges A-L}is a documents showing Addendum and an Errata to both volumes, which effectively alters the coverage of the subject from [see below] 1919 to 1998 adding a further sixteen [16] badges designed and approved since 1994. There are quite a few pan and ink corrections to be made to the badge descriptions but not of course to the badges themselves.

This file is copyright to T P Stopford taken from Vol 1 of his brilliant volumes on Admiralty Ships Badges Original Patterns 1919-1994 dated 1996. I have called it simply 'Introduction'. Almost as a prerequisite to understanding crests and the vast numbers of them [1716], I recommend that you read and digest the detail in this file before proceeding with my story below.


Along the way there were several errors created in-house [that's the Admiralty] which when made known, were shrugged off, accepted, almost as though it was too difficult or too expensive to put right. One of my critical comments was the crest of my own alma mater [HMS Mercury] built into a circular shaped frame, which of course denotes a sea-going vessel and not a shore establishment. That is not the fault of any would-be sales outlet subsequent to the 'knowledge of it being wrong but it is staying anyway' but it does render the crest to being filed under the "not a ships crest" entry. In recently modern times, that's modern for the navy, namely the 20th century, the name 'Mercury' has adorned three vessels, two which pre-dated the official use of ship's crest's [1919], and one which was a merchant vessel requisitioned by the navy in WW2 and as such called HMS Mercury, but doesn't count as it wasn't a permanent warship! My point here, is that apportioning the shape of a crest to a type of warship, is not a recommended way on which to build a fleet by badges.

It beggars belief why anybody would want to alter or redesign a crest for a new ship, but with an old and well established name possibly with battle honours, just for the sake of giving an artist a job! My number one dismay here is that old lady, HMS Iron Duke, flagship of Jellicoe in the Battle of Jutland [see below and after the HMS Hood thumbnail] for the Iron Duke crests. True, she served from 1914 to 1922 without a crest, but in 1922 she received an entirely appropriate crest showing the head of the Duke of Wellington, who, 107 years previously had earned the name 'The Iron Duke' for finally defeating the French in the last of the Napoleonic War battles. I ask, why on earth would anybody want to use a different crest irrespective of when it was drawn/submitted, for a new ship also called HMS Iron Duke commissioned 71 years after the last HMS Iron Duke received her crest. Not only does it not make sense but the new crest doesn't tell me anything or answer any questions. Even for those who history has somehow bypassed, we might hear the question being asked as to "who's that ?" referring to the positive head and shoulders image. Perhaps the best example of my meaning here, and one of a select few out of many hundreds of crests is that of HMS HOOD. The crest for perpetuity has a date on it, 1859, which records the date of the first ship called Hood: she was sold after forty years of service. The second Hood, which like the first pre-dated crests, was sunk in a Portland breakwater gap [the one nearest to Portland itself] in 1914, to stop German submarines from getting into the vast harbour by that route. The third and seemingly final Hood, was built during WW1 but wasn't involved in the war, seeing operational service from 1920 onwards, was given this crest which commemorates the first ship named after Sir Samuel Hood [1762-1814] whose crest and motto [meaning 'with following winds'] the crest bears. Another example is HMS Eagle [my one and only carrier]. She has the date 1650. This commemorates the first of many warships to be called Eagle and she had been captured from the French in 1650 and renamed accordingly. However she wasn't the first named in British naval service [just the first purposely built warship] the first was an ex merchant vessel purchased by the navy solely to act as a hulk and renamed Eagle.

On the other hand there were several, desirable changes from almost obscure names/images to wonderful names and events from history. Take for example a humble yacht which was procured for C-in-C Plymouth in the third quarter of the 19th century. It was called 'Vivid' and when the west country barracks were opened at the beginning of the 20th century, the name was transferred to name the new Devonport Barracks HMS Vivid. In 1934 [thirty years later] Vivid was ditched in favour of 'Drake' and how fitting was that for the Plymouth base to have a HMS Drake? One of her sisters, Portsmouth Barracks, was named after the ship HMS Victory, and since she did not have a crest, neither did the barracks. It was in 1974 when the barracks were renamed HMS Nelson, that the stone-wall frigate got its first crest, the one used by the WW2 battleship scrapped in 1949.

Click on all the thumbnails to expand the images.



  I reckon the artist got his/her idea for the right hand crest from the movie the 'LION KING' only this is his son with an inferior crown! However, note writing upper right hand corner. This was the first design submitted but dropped only to be resurrected and chosen a second time round for a new ship in 1991!  When the Iron Duke was broken-up in Glasgow in 1949 some of her teak timbers were sold off, and some of it was made into models of ships. One such model is of the Brixham Trawler EVA [BM 191] which was built in 1903 and wrecked in 1910. It is lovely to see that [in this case] a small part of the 1912 Iron Duke still lives on.

That criticism can be levied at the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, who to outward appearance appears to have kept faith and adopted the crest of the former WW1/WW2 battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth, but on closer inspection the new badge has been tweaked unnecessarily.


Fortunately, they can't do much to cock-up the crest of the Prince of Wales. However, see the crest for King George V below. You can imagine approaching either the KG5 or the PoW and as you neared [but not too close] when you first pick up the guns [forward or aft] and saw the tampion's [wooden plugs which fitted inside of the gun barrels] which had the ships crest on them. You might not be sure of which ship you had come across until you were close enough to see the central emblem!

HMS Prince of Wales

Apart from the richness of colour for the modern crest and the slight distortion in shape caused by me trying to get the modern badge to sit well alongside the 1919 crest, the font of the letters E and R are markedly different from the original. The name plate [size, colour and font] has be altered to reflect modern practices which was to be expected. The central section [crown and Tudor rose - I am a white rose man from the Dales] has been tweaked leaving the three points at RED 110, GREEN 110 and DEAD ASTERN/AFT much altered. Other than that, far better than an attempt at a totally new design.  

Another kind of error was deemed to be the artist's interpretation's which were not understood or misunderstood, or even childish. Take another great and famous old lady, the battleship HMS Royal Oak, built in WW1 and one of the first losses of WW2 in October 1939 with a terrible loss of life. She got her crest when she was five years old in 1919. She died wearing that crest. For some inexplicable reason, the official records show the crest as not being signed off i.e., not passed or approved by the Admiralty. In a moment you will see why that might have been the case, although were it the case that Royal Oak didn't have a crest [official or otherwise] I am sure that we would have heard much about it. In 1971, someone? had a crack at designing a more relevant crest, but it again, appears not to have been approved or adopted into the records of crests, ready in all respects for a new ship to be named HMS Royal Oak [hopefully] in years to come.


Now in  the 1919 [left] picture you really have to guess hard at. Is it always true that "a picture saves a thousand words" - I think not! Ignoring the obvious [the name plate], what do two olive branches heavy with leaves and fruit either side of a Fleur-de-Lys represent? Me neither, other than knowing that an an olive branch is a sign of PEACE or VICTORY and a fleur-de-lys is the floral emblem of France. Cryptically it could mean victory over France - Peace with France - or it could mean France is at Peace: what a Victory! It certainly doesn't suggest Royalty neither an oak, leaf or fruit.

The picture on the right [February 1971]  restores our faith in the saying "a picture saves a thousand words" for the crown immediately suggest Royalty [Royal] and the oak leaves and acorns jump out at you. That it is directly owned by a British warship completes the story - a British crown and not a French or any other crown. In Heraldry, the acorn stands for independence, strength and antiquity. An English Oak was said to be a hiding place for Charles the eldest son of the beheaded Charles the first, to escape the parliamentarian round-heads before escaping to France. He returned and restored the monarchy as Charles II in 1660, hence its royal connection.

There are hundreds of crests laid-up waiting to be reused on new builds given famous names, and let's hope that they are issued when relevant and that new artists [now all civilian work] are not commissioned to dream-up weird and irrelevant imagines.

Many of you will known the Portsmouth/Gosport areas of Hampshire southern England, but are you aware that the first amphibious warfare crest issued to an arm of the British Armed Forces, in October 1945 two months after the cessation of WW2, is in full view for all to see? If I first remind you of what an amphibious warfare crest/badged looked like in the second half of the 20th century [and for all I know may be the case even today in the 21st century] you will remember  the basic elements of such warfare.


The picture on the left is COMAW [Commander or Commodore Amphibious Warfare] from 1983. The picture on the right is the crest of HM Submarine Alliance the chief and central exhibit at the Submarine Museum in Gosport.  Subtle changes but you can see where the 1983's guys got their ideas from?


A quick all change, one minute a 1968 image and the next a 1970 image? - and the same designer. Note the pen and ink corrections and additions.  How strange! You may see other images on my page which are wrong for the reason stated but no attempt was made to correct the error so I didn't mention it to you.  However, I say strange because the Admiralty was disbanded in 1964. Her radio address group/W/T callsign was HZKC.
Both crests as you see are for the Antrim which is both a County and a town in Northern Ireland.
The 1968 version suggests a tranquil sunny day out by the seaside, but whoah, be careful!  The County has a very pleasant seaside town called Portrush  and interesting places like the Giants Causeway are well worth a visit. Much of the City of Belfast is in the County. The town on Antrim was also a pleasant place. However, come the late 1960's onwards [so both crests were metaphorically under strain] the IRA troubles started so the sun and the lovely Irish people were definitely not happy, nor did the sun shine as it used to do!
The 1968 picture is neither fish nor fowl: Belfast was a trawler base operating on Admiralty  business from 1941-1944 so the crest had nothing to do with that as dated. There was no warship called Antrim in 1968. During this period [1968] the Red Hand of Ulster badge was the norm and much respected overall.
In 1970, when the guided missile destroyer Antrim came on the scene, named after the county and not the town, she wore the Red Hand on her funnel. Today the Red Hand is despised, hated and banned in many areas - in fact all over Scotland for it is said to champion the worst excesses of the Northern Ireland protestant movement, in particular the UDF [Ulster Defence Forces] not to be confused with the UDR [Ulster Defence Regiment] which is a loyal British Army regiment doing its utmost to bring peace to Ulster and paying a huge price in its endeavours . But look here and I rather suspect that this crest will never ever be used again. It was used for the Royal Naval Aircraft Yard Belfast , building, repairing and servicing fleet air arm airframes.

Having said that, many of the Ulster County Arms bear a small Red Hand somewhere on a busy flag/emblem.  The 1970 crest was obviously designed for the new destroyer, and I can find no further use thereafter for the 1968 crest.
As for the 1970 crest,  it is totally ambiguous. The arm with his bandaged slashed wrist and his nurses sticking-plaster bung on his recent blood test hole are clear, but what he is stabbing with his "cross crosslet fitchy" [look it up on Google - but it's to do with Christian religion - what else from protestant Ulster?] - denies interpretation but I am sure it is pro-British and that is good enough for me. I sea-rode Antrim in the mid-1970's whilst on the staff of Portland FOST [Flag Officer Sea Training] and have fond memories of the crew and my opposite number Preston [Tugg] Willson a London man - note, not a Londonderry or Derry man!  A thoroughly competent ship, which went on to fight in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina, only to be sold to her near neighbour Chile two years later in 1984.


Again, a quick spurt through the years, this time eight years  from 1970 to 1978.

As sailors we tend to be insular when it comes to insignia  and heraldry associated with warships,  arrogant almost,  a regrettable situation.  There is a whole 'civilian navy' out there who feels very much the same as we do!   Without these civilian boffin's at ASWE and its satellites, and non-boffin administrators elsewhere, plus our several dockyards, our ships would never leave harbour.  One group in particular which I regularly witnessed at work over the years was the WSTG [Weapon Systems Trials Group] without whom  the AIO [Action Information Organisation - the fighting nerve centre of any warship] was for nought, and they spent thousands of hours at sea and in test/laboratories conditions,  putting systems through their paces and bit by bit piecemeal, handing proven systems over to the Royal Navy for subsequent operational use. They were wiser than we in many cases, and moreover, were always willing to help to put things right. When it worked, as so often it did, we got the back-slappers thanks  and they went unrewarded at least publicly  the vast majority of the ship's company unaware of their presence and their "magic wands"!


We all know who Beaufort was and much feared his higher marks for cruel sea conditions.
On the left is a crest for 1923 and on the right one for 1941. The right hand crest dated 1941 was the crest of HMS Beaufort a WW2 Hunt-class destroyer.  The left hand crest belonged to HMS Beaufort a Survey Vessel controlled by the Hydrographer of the Navy which was sold before WW2 in 1938.  Indicatifs D'Appel [I have the 1930 edition], an organisation which listed every ship in the world to be assigned an international radio callsign, lists as Beaufort, British Warship,  with the callsign 'GEYQ'. 
Here I can sense two different but complimentary definitions of the crest's decode.
1923 tells us of a navigator, a predictor of the prevailing and expected weather conditions. Grateful for the warning and the opportunity to duck-out and take cover when necessary as his 'tools' foretold of adverse weather conditions, we, as the W/T branch, increasingly helped navigators achieve a safe passage. The 1941 crest is non-technical but sympathetic  to rough and unpleasant weather, hence the upward looking horse-shoe wishing us good luck.  The portcullis I assume shuts out the bad weather but opens when the sun shines and the seas moderate to state 1 or 2. As a ships company and a wardroom, we are all at our best in these lower number sea states.

There are many crests listed which were approved designs by the Admiralty but which we never used!  Some were designed/approved for ships which were cancelled, never built, and some for ships built but given a name change come the vessel's launch date.

One outstanding case was the battleship HMS Jellicoe given that name back in 1933, built as such, but actually launched in 1940 as HMS Anson.


Other obvious anomalies are evident in the long lists of Admiralty approved crests totalling one thousand seven hundred approved units whether ships/vessels, shore stations, whatever.

Here I highlight an approved crest for HMS MALTA dated 1956. The R.N., had four carriers on the drawing board during WW2 one of which was called HMS Malta. All four were cancelled in 1945 without one piece of steel being laid-down. There is no crest for Malta dating from that time. Moreover, to my certain knowledge there was no HMS Malta period, ship or shore establishment [note the diamond shaped crest denoting a shore establishment]  manned and used by the Royal Navy, but there could have been an Establishment or even a small vessel manned by Maltese LEP's [Locally Enlisted Personnel into the R.N.] or even by the Maltese Navy proper, but had that been the case, come 1956, I am sure that an emblem for, or the words GC [George Cross], would have figured prominently on the crest! As such I ponder why this crest should be listed in an Admiralty approved list surmounted by the irreplaceable sign of authority to wit the Naval Crown ? HMS Gozo on the other hand, was a proper warship of the Algerine Minesweeper type. The warship 'Melita' and its crest, a good one,  and whether or not it is another way of saying Malta, it isn't HMS Malta as far as crests are concerned!


More of, more than one crest per named vessel, follows, but we  take a short break here. They restart again where you see this sign in BLUE./###\

Quiz question. Which was the only vessel fully manned and operated  by the Royal Navy which didn't have a Naval Crown on top of its crest? Answer, scroll down below. Look for the red text Quiz answer on left hand side.

Of the listed 1700 Admiralty approved designs for naval crests, there are many you might not recognise or even consider relevant vis-a-vis with the everyday names of ships in the various fleets, or at least, vessels which floated! In the following list, I have isolated those names whose crests are every bit as colourful and resplendent as warships proper. However, remember that we are one big family, and that no one section of the navy is self contained; as such, we are reliant upon one another, and if a mighty aircraft carrier can have a crest, why not a naval supply depot miles from the sea and  almost totally manned by MOD civilians? Obviously, although sometimes little known, the main lists includes all naval air stations and other establishments manned wholly or in large measure by naval personnel, including RNH's. It also includes RFA's. It is also crucially important when looking through long lists to remember and take account of the following. For a lengthy period before WW2 there were no fewer than EIGHT ROYAL NAVIES, and all came under the authority of the Admiralty for their crests. These were:-
Royal Navy
Royal Australian Navy
Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Pakistan Navy
Royal Indian Navy
Royal South Africa Navy
Royal East African Navy.

For many years we had a FORY [Flag Officer Royal Yachts - yachts being plural] a title used right up until the last commanding officer of HMY Britannia, when the appointment changed from a rear admiral to a commodore,  in which case he became CORY [Commodore Royal Yachts] until the Royal Yacht was withdrawn from service as a mean and politically based snub to Her Majesty. Yachts of course meant more than one, and  so it was in years gone by. I am going to stick with 'modern' Royal Yachts the first Alberta dating from 1863 to 1912; then Osborne 1870 to 1908; Alexandra 1907 to 1925, and Victoria & Albert III 1901-1939. You can readily see that in 1907 [for example]  all four yachts were in commission and were used simultaneously. The FORY was borne in the largest and most comfortable of the four vessels, the others being commanded by RN captains. The crest system began in 1919 so that the Alexandra and the Victoria & Albert III were eligible but didn't have their own crests. Instead the Royal Coat of Arms was used when HM The King was embarked. When the Britannia was commissioned in 1953 [it joined the navy in the same year as I did!]  it was suggested by the ship to HM The Queen that she should have a dedicated crest. The Queen graciously approved the idea/request, but since only the monarch can use the Royal Coat of Arms, a different badge had to be designed, which manifestly was not THE Royal Coat of Arms as many will say it is.  It is described as  "White; within a garter belt ensigned by the Imperial Crown proper two anchors in saltire gold surmounted by a Tudor rose white charged with The Royal Cypher EIIR in gold"

Talking of dominion navies, this has to be the most bizarre crest ever designed and approved in London.


The Godavari , prefixed HMINS was a Black Swan-class frigate built in the UK by Thornycrofts  in Southampton for the Royal Indian Navy. Her senior officers were British officers until the last month or so of WW2 when the CO was an RIN officer. Whilst under the command of an RN officer, she, with another British frigate, depth-charged  U-158 to destruction whilst off the Seychelles.

My one and only experience on an Algerine sweeper in the 1950's. After the war, many sweepers having fulfilled  their task of clearing mainly German laid mine-fields but ours also, were laid-up and moth-balled just in case they were needed again for action. HMS Hare, was sent to Penarth, Tiger Bay, Cardiff, South Wales, and sulked there for many a long day. Eventually the Admiralty managed to sell her to the Nigerians who christened it N.S. Nigeria - what else? A team of Nigerians came over to the UK for various courses and training, and I was sent from a cushy number in the Devonport Signal School [over in the WRENS quarters at St Budeaux] to Penarth along with many other RN'ers,  me to help get the W/T department up and working and the wire aerial re-rigged. A rotten job especially because of the lack of cooperation and effort put in by the Nigerian crew. However, we had a ball in the evenings and attended the clubs where at that time Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey were cutting their teeth. I remember stunning stuff and nice birds as well to dance with, chat-up and date. Anyway we got the old girl ready for the trip to Portsmouth in just under six weeks, and came the day we left Penarth [fully loaded with personnel and spare parts]  through a very narrow seawall heading for the Bristol Channel. From thereon, it blew a gale often hitting the scale at number 9. Single screw ship and flat bottomed made it one hell of an uncomfortable journey and ALL the Africans, officers and ratings disappeared into little holes and there they stayed for over two days covered with their own vomit and worse. We were officered by an old and bold SD Navigator and an equally old SD Boatswain in command. I stayed on the bridge for most of the journey wet through, but better up there than down below with the smells and bodies everywhere. Being up top we were able to see and read the goffers coming towards us so we knew when to hold on tight and when to relax. We had kye [heavy thick drinking chocolate] and tins of nice biscuits [note, not ships biscuits] bought by the owner of the ship from shops in Penarth, but scoffed by us since our hosts had abandoned us guests ? We arrived in the end berth on Fountains Lake Jetty closest to Unicorn Gate, and as soon as possible after tying up our loveable Bosun released us from duty to mount a pussers coach [having chucked any luggage we had into the back of a pussers lorry] and off we went to HMS Victory [now called HMS Nelson]. After a long weekend there, then off by train to Keyham [the nearest train station to the barracks main gate] to dear old Guzz [Devonport, Plymouth] and home sweet home. I'll never forget the experience, and as for Nigerian communication abilities, well let's just say "nul points" as they would say for a dire performance in the European Song Contest.

You know, of all the wonderful artwork on our ships crests, cleverly and scholarly depicting mythology, antiquity, history, surreality, and worthy of great praise, there is the odd crest, where the depiction is not wrong, but also not right or fitting for the title [name plate] above in the naval crown. Take the vessel HMS Shark, a sad but I am sure a very proud name for a  vessel, one for WW1 [a destroyer] and one for WW2 [a submarine]: sad because both were sunk, the destroyer in the Battle of Jutland and the submarine in 1940 whilst badly damaged by German aircraft and under tow by German warships.  From the day I joined the submarine service the story of the Shark has always interested me especially when some of the captured crew were sent to the famous Colditz PofW camp in the autumn of 1940, whilst other members were sent to  less well known camps. One of the men sent to Coditz was an ERA [Engine Room Artificer] a CPO called Hammond, and as all people with that surname, he was called 'Wally' after the famous English cricketer.  After a while in Colditz he thought up plans of how to escape, not from the formidable and impregnable Colditz Castle [though it turned out not to be so] but from other less well fortified camps. He made a complaint that since he was not an officer he should not be imprisoned with  officers. The Germans agreed and transferred him to a different prison [more than one as he was a bad influence on his peers and a threat to the German 'goons' as the internees called the camp guards].  Eventually he managed to escape after several attempts, returning to the UK and the navy in 1943. My point in mentioning this story is that upon seeing the crest, I spent a couple of hours in the reference section of our Town library, looking in the zoology section for pictures of sharks. I could find sharks a plenty, especially proper sharks, the type who would bite your head off and not lick you to death, but nowhere could I find the one on the crest, a licking type! I would have thought that an appropriate shark, an aggressor would be chosen for an aggressor war vessel, something like a great white or a tiger shark, but I was wrong.

Is it a shark or a cuddly gold fish?

The table below shows the majority of organisations which have naval crest/crowns [unless stated otherwise]  but which are not individual ships or shore stations.

Admiralty Underwater Warfare Establishment
RNAY BELFAST [crest shown]
Royal Naval Aircraft Yard
Commando Helicopter Operational Support Cell
HM Under Water Detection Establishment
RNR Humber   'home made crest - no naval crown? I.H.T.U
Combined Ops logo which replaces the Naval Crown on top of crest.
Interservices Hovercraft Trials Unit
Joint Services Sub-aqua Diving Centre No naval crown instead combined 'ops badge representing JOINT
Joint Services Sailing Centre. See JSSADC for comments.
Miscellaneous Small Vessels Crest
Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service
R.N.P.T.A. Squadron
Royal Navy Pilotless Target Aircraft
R.N.R. Frame
Royal Naval Reserve
Royal Naval Survival Equipment  School
R.N. Test Squadron
Aircraft Evaluation
Royal Naval Mine Watching Service and Auxiliary Service
Robert Middleton
Royal Naval Tactical School
R.N. W/T
Royal Naval W/T Centre
Tank Cleaning Vessels University Royal Naval Units U.W.E.
Formed from HMUDE in 1962. Became A.R.E. in 1984
Admiralty Research Establishment
Women's Royal Naval Service. They have an official crest but devoid of a naval crown.
Midget Submarines
Royal Marines
LEITH RNVR [Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve] An almost 'home made crest - no naval crown. This comment applies to all RNVR crests in this table. MERSEY RNVR LONDON RNR

Right now, we should be fighting "like with like"! So what about this?

HMS ISIS was a WW2 destroyer [D87] named after the Egyptian Goddess.

Dwelling for a moment with a slight change in direction,  the Elephant appears on no fewer than SEVEN crests, all HMS's, namely:-

BULAWAYO A121 - an auxiliary tanker, an RFA
COVENTRY - a destroyer
DELHI -  a cruiser
GANGES - a boys/juniors/houths training shore establishment
KIPLING - a destroyer
MATABELE - a destroyer
PYRRHUS - Algerine minesweeper

.........and, another repeated theme, this time much more subtle, occurred with this symbol

Quite near to the well known naval town of Lossiemouth [HMS Fulmar and the fleet air arm] in Morayshire Scotland is the little town of FORRES [or Farrais in local tounge].  I know it because it is a regular winner of the Scotland in Bloom competition as my town in England, Bury St Edmunds, regularly wins the England in Bloom competition, thus we have much in common. Well two things about Forres of note, one being that there is a naval crest for HMS Forres a WW1 minesweeper, and secondly there is a plaque on a wall in the town commemorating the dead of WW1. On it, is the name of  Robert PAUL a 19 year old RNR man who was lost in 1916 whilst serving on the requisitioned Scottish steamer named HMS MERCURY but more commonly HMMS Mercury [His Majesty's Mine Sweeper]. Robert is recorded as a deck hand and not as an able seaman as one might expect given his RNR membership status. This is probably because, like so many civilian/merchant seamen in vessels which were requisitioned, they stayed on as crew members when the vessel was under Admiralty command/orders. It was usual for small vessels [as in this case] that the C.O., was a Temporary [Ty] Lt Cdr RNR/RNVR,  but for a very small vessel [say, a trawler] the C.O., was a Temporary Skipper*.   Robert  is buried at the SHOTLEY burial ground Suffolk amongst many Ganges youths and boys who by and large, died of diseases.

*Of all the naval sayings, titles, ranks etc used from just before  WW1 onwards, the most misused of all is the term "skipper". No matter what rank or whether mercantile or naval, the C.O., of a ship is as often as not called "the skipper" by the crew or "father" by the officers although the latter rarely nowadays! It is an unintended insult, and rarely if ever has its utterance been challenged or corrected by the upper deck. Temporary [abbreviated to "Ty" and the first word of all officers titles who were not full time professionals i.e. Royal Navy],  Probationary Skippers [abbreviated to "Pro Skr"] were essentially fishing boat captains pre WW1,  who were taught new things to do with their tackle like streaming  and laying, with the addition of being supplied with and taught how to use small arms particularly the 9mm service revolver and .303 rifle. These new tricks were respectively to stream paravanes to cut secured [to the seabed by cables] mines so they bobbed-up to the surface for destruction by small arms fire, or could lay mines or submarine nets to order. To do this, and to conform with the Geneva Convention that all combatants must be in uniform, the crew were given a uniform of sorts and the captains [skippers] were given rank in a recognised military/naval Service co-opting many hundreds in one go into the RNR [Royal Naval Reserve] . Their colloquial name of "skipper" was to be retained with the addition of RNR behind their rank titles.  When WW1 started the word probationary was dropped and the title in short,  became "Ty Skr".  A skipper throughout WW1 was the equivalent of an RN Warrant officer in all respects from title, uniform [four buttons instead of three buttons as worn by CPO's] , marks of respect, pay and privileges. His uniforms [plural for different occasions], cap and cap badge, sword, sword belt, were virtually the same as for ordinary commissioned officers, except that being a warrant officer RN/RNR [the skipper rank was not extended to the RNVR - Volunteer Reserve], he wore three buttons on each cuff of his tunic jacket, each one on the top of a flute.
Have a look at the following two pictures which are RN Coastguards during WW1. The centre guy of the group and bossman  is a warrant officer, which I have zoomed into in the second picture. Note the detail on the cuffs and the flutes running down from the buttons.



This is the rank style of a Temporary Skipper RNR [Ty Skr RNR]

To put his rank into perspective I will use two text snippets, the first being the naval  pecking order in seniority which is:-
a. RN - Royal Navy and all its officers
b. RNR - Royal Naval Reserve and all its officers
c. RNVR - Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and all its officers.

The second being the order of seniority of RNR officers in 1915 as an example:-
d. Captains - 12 of them and all ex admirals
e. Commander - 19
f. Lt Cdr - 19
g. Lieutenants - lots of them
h. Sub Lieutenants - "
i. Chief Engineers - a few 
j. Senior Engineers - lots of them
k. Engineers -  "
l. Assistant Engineers -"
m. Paymaster - a few
n. Assistant Paymasters - "
o. Skippers - upwards of a 1000 of them
p. Warrant Telegraphists - a few

The difference between an admiral of the fleet in charge of the Royal Navy and a "young" skipper RNR  was unbridgeable, there being many tens of thousands of officers involved, never mind between an admiral of the fleet  and the lowliest  rank of a junior officer in the RNVR.

Now there were THREE types of RN warrant officers, the basic WO = same rank as a Skipper RNR; a basic warrant officer who had held the rank for at least ten years who simply added a thin ¼" gold stripe to his cuffs above the existing buttons and flutes, and finally a chief WO or a commissioned WO [depending upon which branch one belonged to e.g., a Chief Gunner but a Commissioned Telegraphist]  whose uniform jacket changed to non-fluted sleeves with the buttons gone, and on his new sleeves he wore a single  ½" gold stripe looking exactly like a sub lieutenant, although he would be a youngster and the CWO by now would have been a very old salt. The CWO could go on to be a lieutenant wearing two ½" gold stripes and dropping the name WO altogether.  You can probably understand why in WW1 a Skipper RNR never was promoted higher because the war lasted for four years and the qualifying period for the next jump was ten years.  However, during WW2, again a war of less than 10 years so no promotions to the WO with at least ten years seniority, the Admiralty granted the rank of Chief Skipper which = the RN's CWO rank, giving him the opportunity of attaining a lieutenancy making his title Lieutenant Skipper, the highest attainable.

So, remember that by calling your dashing four stripe captain a Skipper is really a bloody insult so please desist. Thank you.

The 1996 volumes show numbers of names in descending order of number of names used - the alphabet letter shown on the end of each line. Ships etc whose names began with the letter 'S' were outright leaders with 199 entries. The letter 'X' brings up the rear, and that was a crest each 'X' craft midget submarine shared adding their number eg X5, to the name plate.  Indeed that practice was continued to other vessels who had no name but a number. A second example of this was for MTB's [motor torpedo boats]. Note however that the MTB crest was timely i.e., 1937, whereas the X CRAFT, dated 1955 was clearly an afterthought to give the brave midget submariners credibility. 


A. 199 - S
B. 152 - C
C. 117 - T
D. 110 - B
E. 105 - A
F. 97 - R
G. 94 - H
H. 82 - W
I. 81 - L
J. 77 - P
K. 76 - M
L. 72 - V
M. 68 - F
N. 62 - G
O. 59 - D
P. 47 - E
Q. 44 - O
R. 43 - U
S. 33 - N
T. 24 - K
U. 20 - J
V. 13 - Q
W. 10 - Z
X. 2 - Y
Y. 1 - X

/###\                                                                         Now a return to ships having more than one crest, with several having two and one with THREE!

First off in this part is the famous WW2 battleship HMS King George 5. She, along with the battleship HMS Rodney, jointly slew the German battleship Bismarck and left her as a shattered burning wreck for smaller ships to finish off notably the cruiser Dorsetshire. When I was a  young sailor in the mid 1950's I once rowed [the naval expression is "pulled"]  around this beautiful ship in a whaler in Portsmouth harbour, there awaiting her disposal, which came about in the late 1950's - halcyon days?


Although neither is dated, the one on the left was the first used in 1940. KG5 came before the PoW.  In 1941 they gave the PoW the left hand crest, changing the cross-trees emblem  [see above to the carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales] and the KG5 took the right hand crest.

Next comes HMS Liverpool


On left the cruiser and on right the destroyer


The British warship Iroquois [not the later Canadian warship] on Left,  from 1922 for a declared minesweepers, but also a survey ship deployed on the China Station in the 20's. On the right, designed in 1942 and redrawn in 1995. This was the crest of the Canadian Iroquois built in WW2 in the UK, one of four Tribal's for the RCN - note these tribal's were powerful destroyers not at all like the tribal's most of us remember or even served in, which were small frigates. One suffered a multi torpedo attack where all four fish struck resulting an immediate sinking with the loss of all 128 men on board HMCS Athabskan. The other three survived the war. Four more were built post war in Halifax N.S.  As regards the RCN HMCS Iroquois, I can remember working with her in Canada in 1962, our first year of two in HM S/M Auriga attached to HMS Ambrose 6th S/M Squadron based on Halifax, at a time when the RN supplied all Canada's submarines on the east coast. She had just one old boat on the west coast, HMCS Grillse an ex USN Guppy-class based on Esquimalt Vancouver Island. The RCN Iroquois was best known  for escorting RMS Queen Mary across the Atlantic from the UK taking Churchill for high powered talks with the President of the USA in Washington. 

HMS Diligence enjoyed two crests. The left crest is dated 1952 which covered the shore station at Hythe on the west bank of Southampton Waters [where the River Test and River Itchen combine] which see the largest liners in the world transiting the relatively narrow navigable part of the river to dock at Southampton's Ocean Terminal. The right crest dated 1984 is the crest for RFA Diligence a [Royal Fleet Auxiliary] Forward Repair Ship.

Inexplicable really, left dated 1955 and right 1957. Both relate to the BRNC [Britannia  Royal Naval College] in  the town of Dartmouth on the banks of the river Dart in Devon.

Now to a Portsmouth shore training establishment tucked away in the village of Southwick [pronounced 'Suthik' as opposed to  London'  Southwark which would be Suthak] just on the edge of the Portsmouth greater area.


Left crest dates from 1924 and belongs to HMS Carstairs which was temporarily [for one year only]  named HMS Dryad a navigational training ship running out of Portsmouth. The right crest dated 1950 belongs to the shore establishment of that name as outlined above which moved there from Portsmouth Dockyard in the early 1940's when the Germany bombing of Portsmouth was at its greatest. It left its premises in 2004 and the establishment is now a joint [army-navy-air force-civilian police] police training academy.

Another stranger relating to the same ship, a guided missile destroyer. Left is dated 1963 and right 1966. Fife was first commissioned in 1966 so we assume that the original badge [left] was discarded!

A magpie, a garden unwelcomed visitor, always seen in pairs and well known bullies, are revered in two complimentary crests.  The left crest dates from 1953 and the right crest from 1943. The 1943 crest is significant because of her captain from September 1950, when H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took command, his only command which he kept until 1952. She was based on Malta, and H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth accompanied her husband as yet another RA's [rationed ashore] wife. Built as a sloop, later recategorised as a Frigate.  In 1954 she returned to Portsmouth there to be part of the reserve fleet. In 1959 she was taken to the breakers yard. No other ship called Magpie has served with the navy, so the crest on the left dates from the last year of her final commission, but why the change?  Anybody's guess!



Then we encounter strange non-naval titles with the navy going out on a limb seeking suitable naval crest names way out of the run of the mill. We all know the saying "where's there muck there's money" but do we all know that where there is money and a hunt attached, there is power enough to influence the Admiralty Board? I wonder just how many admirals, ex or active, with influential rich and well connected families lived in the Yorkshire Middleton Hunt area? For those of you not familiar with our county [by the way I am a Yorkshireman  with Dales connections], Middleton is roughly half way between York and the east coast at Bridlington. It is, as one would expect, an area of privilege oozing with money, some of it from uncertain sources?  Anyway, the Admiralty gave its blessing to a WW2 destroyer which through sheer bravery deserves a place in history, so without reservation or prejudice, money well spent and for which we thank you notwithstanding. As regards the second crest, Robert Middleton, this was a reward to a naval officer, a captain,  [posthumously] of the first quarter of the 19th century [1830]  who served the navy well, in fact better than most contemporary admirals did. He was the quintessential pusser, the very first "Keeper of Naval Stores and Provisions" in direct and overall charge of all provisions including [but others] food; rum; clothing; water; medical supplies; ammunition; armament; sail, gun powder; tar, etc. He was the the leading officer of the two most famous points of provisioning namely Clarence Yard in Gosport and Devonports Royal William Yard. without which the Royal Navy would not have blossomed.  The ship named after Robert Middleton was a small  ship, an RFA, whose task from 1938 until 1975 was to plough  the coastal seas areas  of the UK delivering stores to warships in various ports/harbours. She was 220' long with a displacement of 2000 tons, and to give you a good comparison I am using the ocean-going survey vessel HMS Hecla to compare. The Robert Middleton was virtually the same length give or take a few feet, but had a lesser displacement than Hecla This is one of  my favourite pictures which puts the RFA into perspective. That 'small vessel'  alongside HMS Hood's starboard waist craneage-point was the Robert Middleton delivering stores to the Mighty Hood  at Scapa Flow.

The Repulse was a sad ship to us, remembering the sea battles of WW2.  She was commissioned early in WW1 so come WW2 she was a very old lady. Many will blame the British admiral Sir 'Tom' Phillips for the loss of this wonderful ship off Singapore destroyed by Japanese aircraft, by sailing saying that he didn't need air cover for Repulse and the Prince of Wales.  In the end that folly was to witness the destruction of both these capital ships. As one would expect for such a powerful ship, the crest on the left signifies British strength. It dates from 1919, from the beginning of naval crests. The right crest, of an eagle, dates from 8th July 1941 with bold underlined capital letters saying NOT TO BE USED. She was sunk in December 1941just three days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. The crest is marked Chatham Oct 1941 bottom right hand corner....but again, why? Why replace tower and Union Flag with a mere eagle? When the SSBN Polaris firing submarine Repulse came along in 1967, she adopted the left hand crest and rightly so.

HMS Spear by contrast was a a tiny combatant. A WW1 destroyer. Both crests  dated 1920 and both approved for use. Which one was used?



To those most welcome returning migratory birds , the Swallows, these crests were assigned. On the right is the crest of 1920 for the WW1 'S' class destroyer.  Always humble little ships, but there has been 37 HMS Swallow's to date, quite near to the top of the list of maximum list of named vessels. HMS Swallow 1984 [left crest] had the pennant number P242 and was a Peacock Class Patrol Vessel. A class of small vessels built in the UK, none was to see service in the RN. In 1988 Swallow was sold brand new to the Irish Naval Services at one stage based in Cork.


HMS THUNDERER built on the Thames, as its names suggests,  was a battleship of the Orion Class with four ships in the class.  All four were present at the  Battle of Jutland in 1916. This Thunderer, commissioned two years before the onset of WW1, was scrapped in 1921 and owned the right hand crest of three dated 1919. She is remembered for having one of her brand new 38 ton gun turret burst of firing, killing all in the turret [believed to be 12] and a further 45 of the ships company in the vicinity. The left crest of three  is dated 1952 belonged to the Royal Naval Engineering College [HMS Thunderer] at Keyham Devonport just down from HMS Drake [Guzz barracks] and later moved to Manadon, another part of Plymouth north side of the A38, virtually in the middle of a huge park/open space. The college was paid off in 1995. Where Manadon College was, in now a big housing estate. Finally, the middle crest of three dated 1983. Why you ask, I cannot tell you, other than suggesting it might represent the nuclear age and the radical change of core subject teaching to reflect engineering for a nuclear propelled submarine service ?


My favourite sport is cicket and never was it played better than my boyhood Yorkshire stars of Len Hutton, and so many others. Going to the seaside was not for me when for a few pence I could slum it at Headingly. There I could see many 'stars' in a great phalanx of Yorkshire players including names like, Robinson, Yardley, Booth, Watson, Wardle, Keighley, Close, Trueman, Appleyard, Platt, Boycott, Hampshire, Old, Leadbeater, Laker [before moving to Surrey where he earned his cricketing fame] and others. This crest, or rather two crests, remind me of those days

Today, in 2015 [and slightly before] the very word  UPHOLDER is not a popular name for the RCN [Royal Canadian Navy]. In short we built a class of diesel electric submarines which we ran with great success. However, technology dictated that nuclear submarines were in and diesels out for a global blue-water navy, and so we decommissioned them and put them up for sales. Like any machine or mechanical 'system', it develops problems if not used, and the longer laid-up the greater the problems become. The RCN were in the market to purchase a replacement class for their British 'O' boats which were world famous for their efficiency and quietness but had reached the end of their lives, and looked to the British for that replacement.  They were fully aware that we had run them operationally with great success but that they had been unused for some time. At a huge knock-down price and the understanding "buyer beware" they purchased them.  According to the RCN they were unfit for purpose, had many major defects, and could only be made operational by throwing money at the project. The money wasn't spent - they didn't have it, and the Canadian ended up with "a duff class of submarines". They tried to blame the British but they were proven wrong in their summing-up of the inherited problem[s].  It soured the relationship between the RN and the RCN which although lessening in its intensity, is nevertheless still evident. We Brits have absolutely nothing to be contrite about!


Ursula, perhaps the cuddliest of all crests, that is, remembering the guy standing in the right crest is up to 3 meters tall - in 'old money' that's 9' 10" tall! On top of that, he has the power, strength, endurance and killing power of a company of Royal Marine Commando's. Still cuddly ? I didn't think so. The right  crest eventually became a Russian submarine, when in 1944 we transferred it to the Russian Navy. They gave it back in 1950  when it went immediately to the knackers yard.  Ursula is very much a submarine clan, one WW2 and one belonging to the 'U' Class [the Upholders just mentioned  above] as the left hand crest shows. .



Vidal was commissioned in 1954 and broken up in 1976. She was a survey ship. Once again, two designs, two acceptances in the early to mid 1950's. It could be that idle minds [and pens] became the norm while idlying away thousands of hours well away from the UK helping the international audience with hydrographic measures  rather than protecting Britain's  interests.


Vulcan, a name to conjure up a deep, unknown fear-force of the unknown, but seemingly not so! In WW2 she was a humble trawler used as a depot ship for coastal forces, registered under the left crest. . She was paid off in 1947. The right crest covers the HMS Vulcan more in keeping with science fiction, namely  HMS Vulcan the naval nuclear reactor shore establishment at Dounreay between 1970 and 1981, when it was renamed the Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment


Walrus, a sea creature, can only associate with naval underwater vessels, but it didn't. The first HMS Walrus 1919 left crest, was for a WW1 destroyer - she didn't see WW2 service. It must be assumed that the second HMS Walrus, a WW2 aircraft transporter, also used this crest.   The right crescent was for the 1960 porpoise class diesel electric submarine HM S/M Walrus. After her useful life in the RN she was sold to a specialist replenishment company getting her ready for sale and service  to Egypt in 1987. We don't know why but it did not go ahead as planned and the Walrus was sold to a Grimsby company for breaking up a couple of years later in 1991.


Now simply because of the addendum added up to and including 1998, other duplications were added as follows:-

HMS Pembroke came as

with the the left hand crest dating from 1996 and the right crest from 1904-1984 [crest from 1919] for Chatham RN Barracks.

Bangor is well known for the garish red colour in its crests, but from vastly different sources.


HMS Bagnor on the left is a give away with that red hand, and is the town of Bagnor  in the vicinity of Belfast Northern Ireland, but equally, the red dragon can only be those dear brave Welshmen from Wales, in this case, the University town of Bangor, Anglesey north Wales.

Grimsby in Lincolnshire, famous for its large herring fishing fleets of yesteryear, also has two crests. 

Grimsby left dates from 1996 and is a Sandown class minesweeper. The crest on the right dates from 1934 when the then Grimsby was a sloop.

Moving west to dear old Penzance from where my wife and I have regularly flown by helicopter across to the Isles of Scilly during west country holidays.

Penzance left is modern from 1996 and belongs to the same class as Grimsby above. The other crest belonged to a WW2 sloop sunk in 1940.

Ramsey has two presences in the British Isles, one in the Isle of Man, the other being in Huntingdonshire


On the left is the crest of a WW2 vessel.  She started live as a USN destroyer but after exchange,  fought the war as a RN., destroyer called HMS Ramsey.  On the right [1996] is yet another of those Sandown Class of vessels.

Scott is almost a must for the 20th century navy, so fitting perhaps that she scored two crests.


I have to agree that the simple crest on the left is more fitting to a bleak and lonely south pole/antarctica region, and it is the more modern of the two dating from 1996. HMS Scott is a  large ocean survey vessel and at over 13.000 tons, the fifth largest vessel in the Navy, the only one of her type. Her commanding officer in 2014 was a female commander R.N.,  called 
Karen Dalton-Fyfe. HMS Scott was ordered to replace HMS Hecla. The crest on the right belonged to HMS Scott a survey vessel of pre WW2 build. When the war started, she was employed as an escort vessels for almost the entire wear resuming those surveying duties from 1946 onwards. She was scrapped in 1965.

Shoreham  by the sea on the south coast near Brighton Hove and Worthing. A bit of a dump if my memory serves me well. Yep: just checked to confirm that it is a dump!

The round colourful crest belongs to a very modern ship launched in 2001 which was, wait for it, yes, yet another Sandown class sweeper. However the diamond shaped crest, belonged to a 1930 sloop which in a way was unique for after the war she became a merchant ship.

Finally, HMS Kent which most of us will remember as a dashing DLG, a sleek guided missile destroyer with gas turbine technology.

I like both crests really, particularly the fine prancing horse, but I will admit that the anchor does look good! First crest dates from the 1960's and belonged to the destroyer referred to above which was still around in the Portsmouth areas in 1998. The right hand crest dates from 1996 and belongs to the current Type 23 frigate HMS Kent  launched in 1998. 

 Each of the Royal Naval Hospital has its own crest, all different of course but all having the proverbial single snake emblem known as the Staff of Asclepius. Before the watershed of the introduction of ships crests they were scores of naval hospitals world wide but come 1919 the majority had been closed, and some of those left, functioned as hospital in my memory, extant in the 1950 and 1960 periods but were never awarded crests or badges.  Those having listed crests are just three:-


Some hospitals were thought of as hospitals but in effect they were sick bays with temporary beds, and in a couple of cases, hospitals were recategorised as RNSQ's [Royal Naval Sick Quarters] Shotley being a good example. Smaller hospitals did not qualify although in their own right they were relatively large with several wards and theatres. Portland was a good example wherein once I was hospitalised and treated for an eight day stay. It was positioned in a well defined triangle with the base line going up hill running parallel with the main road  and the apex down hill pointing towards Weymouth. On the apex side was the fleet canteen and the port recreational facilities which became the Portland helicopter base; and on the base line nearest to the dockyard was RNH Portland and on the base line going up to Portland Square was Admiralty House, the residence of various senior officers including CAPIC [Captain in Charge Portland] and FOST [Flag officer Sea Training]. Of the main naval depot's. Portsmouth, originally served by the Garrison Hospital [which was lost in favour of HMS Victory's wardroom block in Queens Street, with the navy paying for its replacement viz Queen Alexandra hospital on Cosham hill] by Haslar; Plymouth served by RNH Stonehouse [although the crest says RNH Plymouth] and Chatham served by RNH Chatham with no crest. The navy in Scotland Rosyth were served by RNH South Queensferry - no crest. Personnel serving in Northern Ireland received their medical treatment at HMS Sea Eagles' RNSQ in Londonderry. Abroad, Gibraltar is mentioned , but Malta, with two main hospitals of Bighi and Mtarfa are not. After leaving Malta east-about, there were many RNSQ's to be found in Alexandria and Aden, in the Gulf at Jufair, in Ceylon at Trincomalee, but no RNH's until Singapore proper, twelve miles south of the naval base. By the 1960's it was losing its title to become a BMH [British Military Hospital] which was at Mount Vernon: it too did not get a crest. Moving north there was a hospital in Hong Kong called RNH Wanchai but that too became a BHM: again, no crest. In many other places around the world the natives were either exceeding friendly, the antipodes, Canada both coasts, or very  friendly like East Africa [Kenya], South Africa, Falkland Island, St Helena [Atlantic Island]  and Uruguay [Montevideo]  in South America.

 Quiz answer. HMY Britannia which had the Royal Crown.

 4. The MET [Meteorological] Office.  We know who started it, what in contemporary times was its biggest boo-boo, a famous sea area change, and now its biggest change of all about to come, but what you might not know is its association with the MOD and before it, the War Office/Admiralty.

It was the creation of Vice Admiral Fitzroy, who rather sadly had lengthy periods of instability of the mind and well advertised fall-outs with his peers and sometimes his superiors/loyal supporters. The poor man, with a brilliant mind and proven ability often suffered from depression and eventually, whilst under severe stress at the 'MET Office where things were not running as smoothly as he would have wished and personal family and financial problems, he committed suicide by slashing his throat with his cut-throat open razor. He left a wife and five children, his first wife having prematurely deceased leaving him with four children, and a girl from his second marriage. He was just 60 years of age. I have visited his grave in South London and found the experience moving.

Its biggest boo-boo was that one of its high profile forecaster, regularly seen in the media particularly on television, one Michael  Fish, missed the warning signs of an oncoming hurricane, and told the country on television  when quizzed about the 'so called gossip story prior to the occurrence' "hurricane, what hurricane?"  Sure as eggs are eggs, the hurricane struck, killing  many, causing major infrastructure damage from south to north, and struck down several millions of trees. Electrical power and water feeds/sewage treatment plants were  lost in some areas, particularly the south for upwards of three weeks, and there was a major mobilisation of regional electricity companies, NHS staff, regional fire brigades and police forces from the unaffected areas of the country to the worst areas which were in the extended parts of the southeast of England. They were supported by the armed forces deployed for several weeks.  The destruction and loss of services were akin to those suffered in WW2 concerted and regular bombing raids, which led to stand-pipes, soup kitchens, and a general sense of the need to pull together to get back to normality as soon as possible. If it is possible for a 'fish' to put its tail between its legs, Michael achieved it, and laid low for a long time thereafter!

The word Finistere relates to a land area in the extreme west of Brittany, France, extended to the large sea area off the Brittany coast jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean north of the Bay of Biscay. Its chief City/Port is Brest. For an eternity, it was classified as a British sea area by the 'MET Office and more than once a day, one could hear the name being broadcasted over the radio, giving warning to mariners of the weather conditions prevailing  in that well defined area. For reasons of confusion to other Europeans, it was decided to change the name, and in February 2002, it was changed to British sea area Fitzroy in acknowledgement of what the admiral brought to the science of forecasting and general navigation. The French still use the word Finistere for their own purposes.

Now, and soon to be when contracts become time expired, we can expect this unwanted change. Dated as shown in box over to the right.

Met Office in the news – BBC weather contract


You may have seen reports in the media today that the Met Office won’t be the BBCs main weather provider when the current contract ends.

Obviously everyone at the Met Office is disappointed that we won’t be supplying weather presenters and graphics to the BBC in the future.

As a trusted British institution we work at the heart of Government, with a wide range of customers, and with emergency responders to maintain resilience and public safety. We will be working with the BBC and others to ensure the nations official weather warnings are broadcast in a consistent way; and that our advice underpins forecasts when it matters most. We are also supporting our popular team of presenters to ensure clarity on their future.

Steve Noyes, our Operations and Customer Services Director, said: “Nobody knows Britain’s weather better and, during our long relationship with the BBC, we’ve revolutionised weather communication to make it an integral part of British daily life.

“This is disappointing news, but we will be working to make sure that vital Met Office advice continues to be a part of BBC output.

“Ranked No 1 in the world for forecast accuracy, people trust our forecasts and warnings. There are lots of ways to access these both now and in the future – via the Met Office app, website, and video forecasts, as well as through television and other digital news providers.”

Much of our 93 years of working with the BBC has been based solely on radio and television forecasts. The world is changing though, and nowadays people access weather information in many ways.

As ever, everyone will be able to access trusted Met Office forecasts and warnings on our own digital channels like our app and mobile website, delivered as text, symbols and videos. You can embed that information easily in your own website too. We continue to provide our expert forecasts on independent television networks and there are also now many other news organisations increasingly sharing Met Office content online.

And finally for this 'MET Office snippet, are you aware that the MET Office is really a part of the MOD [Ministry of Defence]. MET Office personnel have military ranks, pay and pensions, and they are also promoted the same as naval officers are. As you are aware, we have our own 'MET Officers in the navy usually attached to the FAA [Fleet Air Arm], and by and large, these officers are Instructor Branch officers with the letter "I" after their names in the Navy Lists.

5. Brown sauce!  First let's go up market and agree not to put sauce bottles on the table!

If you are partial to added embellishments to your food, and you use sauces which come already prepared in bottles or plastic containers, I'll wager that you will opt for or be offered as a fait accompli the proverbial HP brown sauce or that concoction of Heinz, tomato sauce. Ugh! Staying up market, why not try something decent? The finest and the best in this category, without a doubt, is a product called STOKES SAUCES [brown or red]  which is made in Suffolk in the town of Woodbridge. Go on...treat yourself...get the wife to source something decent.

P.S. Honest, my wife's maiden names is not STOKES and I have no shares in their company, assuming that they are a listed company. I don't even go for food-embellishments except for mustard, English of course, the odd black pepper twist and a tiny shake of sea salt, but I don't mind having some Stokes in my fridge! For those of you wondering what all is this is to do with the navy, remember Stokes is an endearment for the rate of MEM, and that Woodbridge is a seaside town not too far from Shotley!

Enough now - see you later, probably in Snippet 4.