WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY CALLSIGNS OF RN WARSHIPS IN 1919 - I.E., THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND SURVIVED THE FIRST WORLD WAR, THROUGH TO 1925.

First to 1919.

Mentioning those ship's which were fitted with Wireless Telegraphy Equipment.

The hieroglyphics are relatively easy to decipher.  Take for example the APOLLO.  She is a twin screw light cruiser with a callsign of GQHC - look at the first jpeg.

Notice the limited spread of letters i,e,. from GQ onwards.

Notice the original and historically important HMS  DREADNOUGHT with its callsign of GRFH

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Then onto 1921.

In 1921 the navy had many units which had been issued with signal letters and these were listed in a document produced by the HMSO called THE BRITISH CODE LIST.  By and large, these listed units had been involved in WW1 [in some way or other] although, without sticking my neck out, long before the end of the war in November 1918, the major naval battles of Jutland, Dogger Bank, Heligoland, Coronel and Falklands were long over, and the seagoing navy [but not the Royal Naval Division {RND} fighting as land soldiers in northern Europe] were keeping the pressure on containing a barricaded German Fleet in German ports, which hardly involved the blood letting and carnage which was the lot of the Jutland veterans in 1916.  By 1921, getting on for five years had passed since the navy had seen a major action. The army of course were not so lucky, in fact decidedly unlucky, because many soldiers who had seen much action in the infantry or the artillery on various fronts were, at the end of the war, co-opted into the Pioneer Corps which spent from 1919 to 1922 digging deep graves to bury their former colleagues many of whom had lain in shallow graves throughout the terrible plunder and rape of the French and Belgium fields and farms. 

And 1925

By 1925 so many more units were issued with signal letters that a re-vamp of the 1921 document was necessary, and it was produced correct to date the 31st December 1924.  Later on in 1925, a supplement was published to the 1925 lists correct to 31st October 1925. 

These two pictures show the cover of the 1925 edition and the October 1925 Supplement

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By the time of the supplement, every unit in the Royal Navy was listed from the largest capital unit to the smallest unit.  The totals were as follows:-

a. Carriers 8
b. Battleships 22
c. Battlecruisers 4
d. Monitors 7
e. Cruisers 52
f. Destroyers 195
g. Sloops 32
h. Depot Ships 19
i. Repair Ships 1
j. Hospital Ships 1
k. Cable Layers 1
l. Salvage Vessels 1
m. Gun/Patrol Boats 30
n. Armed seagoing Tugs, Drifters. Whalers and Trawlers 118
o. Survey Ships 6
p. RFA's 70
q. Royal Yachts 4
r. Minesweepers 58
s. Auxiliaries 34
t. Submarines Not mentioned by see my page BRITISH SUBMARINES BUILT AND NAMED BEFORE 1930

Excluding submarines from the count, the Fleet in 1925 totalled 683 units - massive by any reckoning.

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