THE NAVY AND ITS CHANGES DURING MY 30 YEAR CAREER 1953-1983

FIGHTING SHIPS OF THE ROYAL NAVY

Note:  Whilst some of the ships covered by this note are clearly fighting ships, the list below included deep sea units only.  The list does not include Gunboats, Monitors, River Gun Boats, Net Layers, Target Towing Vessels, MTB's, Coastal Minesweepers, Depot Sips, Repair Ships, Motor Launches, Motor Minesweepers, Trawlers, Whalers, Boom Defence Vessels, Tenders, Survey Vessels, Cable Layers, RFA's, Royal Yachts, Hospital Ships, Salvage Vessels, Fleet and rescue Tugs, QHM Vessels. BUT click here to see a full list of ships and their callsigns.    See also this link

SHIPS OF THE 1950 NAVY.

Ships that were still on the books of the navy whether operational and in commission, on loan to foreign navies, in refit, being repaired, or awaiting their fate anchored up some lonely creek.   
 

                                  COLOUR CODINGS                    LOSSES AND DAMAGE CAUSED BY ACCIDENTS

* Battleships    1951 Submarine Affray Sank in English Channel.  Crew perished.
* Aircraft Carriers   1953 Cruiser Swiftsure and 
destroyer Diamond.
Collided.
* Cruisers   1955 Submarine Sidon Exploded and sank on her trot whilst alongside her depot ship, Maidstone, in
Portland harbour. 12 lives lost.
* Mine Layers   1959 Indian carrier Mysore
and destroyer Houge
Collided. Houge scrapped Singapore 1962.
* Destroyers and Frigates   1959 Destroyers Corruna
and Barrosa.
Collided.
* Ocean Minesweepers   1962 Destroyer Battleaxe
and frigate Ursa.
Collided.  Battleaxe scrapped.

* Destroyers   1964 Diamond and Duchess Collided in the Channel.
  Cruisers and Frigates   1964 Lion and Lowestoft Collided in the Firth of Forth*
* Submarines   1971 Submarine Artemis Sank on her trot whilst alongside the submarine base Dolphin in Gosport. 

* Much to the sheer embarrassment of all, the event was the Royal official opening of the Forth Road Bridge by HM The Queen. On completion of ceremonies the ships dispersed and these two then collided.  ADDED on the 4th September 2017, 17 years after this page was first written and published. Today, HM The Queen with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh officially opens the new Forth Road Bridge. Let's hope that this time we are lucky because we don't have enough vessels to put in a naval presence on this occasion!

 

IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

ACHERON ACTAEON ACUTE AENEAS AFFRAY        
AGINCOURT AINWICK AISNE ALACTRITY ALEMEIN
ALBACORE ALBRIGHTON ALCIDE ALDERNEY ALERT
ALLIANCE ALLINGTON CASTLE AMBERLEY CASTLE AMBUSH AMETHYST
AMPHION ANCHORITE ANDREW ANSON APOLLO
ARABIS ARBUTUS ARGONAUT ARIADNE ARMADA
ARTEMIS ARTFUL ASTUTE ATHERSTONE AURIGA
AUROCHS AVONDALE BALLINDERRY BAMBOROUGH CASTLE BARFLEUR
BARROSA BATTLEAXE BEAUFORT BEDALE BELFAST
BELVOIR BERKELEY CASTLE BERMUDA BICESTER BIGBURY BAY
BIRMINGHAM BLACK SWAN BLACKMORE BLANKNEY BLEASDALE
BLENCATHRA BRAMBLE BRECON BRISSENDEN BROADSWORD
BROCKLESBY BURGHEAD BAY CADIZ CAESAR CAISTOR CASTLE
CALPE CAMBRIAN CAMPERDOWN CANARVON BAY CAPRICE
CARDIGAN BAY CARISBROOKE CASTLE CARRON CARYSFORT CASSANDRA
CATTISTOCK CAVALIER CAVENDISH CAWSAND BAY CEYLON
CHAMELEON CHAPLET CHARITY CHEERFUL CHELMER
CHEQUES CHEVIOT CHEVRON CHIDDINGFELD CHIEFTAIN
CHILDERS CHIVALROUS CLEOPATRA CLEVELAND COCKADE
COCKATRICE COMET COMUS CONCORD CONSORT
CONSTANCE CONTEST COQUETTE CORUNNA COSSACK
COTSWOLD COURIER COWDRAY CRANE CREOLE
CREOME CRISPIN CROSSBOW CUMBERLAND CYGNET
DAINTY DARING DART DECOY DEFENDER
DELIGHT DERG DIADEM DIAMOND DIANA
DIDO DOVEY DUCHESS DUKE OF YORK DUMBARTON CASTLE
DUNKIRK EGGESFORD EGLINTON ENARD BAY ESPIEGLE
EURYALUS EXCALIBUR EXMOOR EXPLORER FARNDALE
FARNHAM CASTLE FERNIE FIERCE FINISTERRE FLAMINGO
FLINT CASTLE FORMIDABLE GABBARD GAMBIA GARTH
GLASGOW GLORY GOLDEN FLEECE GRAVELINES GRENVILLE
HADLEIGH CASTLE HAMBLEDON HARE HART HAYDON
HEDINGHAM CASTLE HELFORD HELMSDALE HIND HOGUE
HOLDERNESS HOUND HOWE ILLUSTRIOUS IMPLACABLE
INDEFATIGABLE INDOMITABLE JAMAICA JASEUR JED
JEWEL JUTLAND KALE KEMPENFELT KENILWORTH CASTLE
KEYNA KING GEORGE V KNARESBOROUGH CASTLE LAERTES LAGOS
LAMERTON LANCASTER CASTLE LARGO BAY LAUNCESTON CASTLE LEDBURY
LEEDS CASTLE LENNOX LIONESS LIVERPOOL LOCH ALVIE
LOCH ARKAIG LOCH CRAGGIE LOCH DUNVEGAN LOCH FADA LOCH FYNE
LOCH GLEDHU LOCH GORM LOCH INSH LOCH KILLIN LOCH KILLISPORT
LOCH LOMOND LOCH MORE LOCH QUOICH LOCH RUTHEN LOCH SCAVAIG
LOCH TARBERT LOCH TRALAIG LOCH VEYATIE LOCHY LYSANDER
MAENAD MAGICIENNE MAGNIFICENT MAGPIE MANDATE
MANXMAN MARINER MARMION MARNE MARVEL
MARY ROSE MATAPAN MATCHLESS MAURITIUS MELBREAK
MELITA MEON MERMAID METEOR MEYNELL
MICHAEL MIDDLETON MILNE MODETE MOON
MORECAMBE BAY MORPETH CASTLE MOUNTS BAY MUSKETEER MUTINE
MYINGS MYRMIDON MYSTIC NAPIER NENE
NEREIDE NERISSA NESS NEWCASTLE NEWFOUNDLAND
NIGER NIGERIA NIZAM NOBLE NORMAN
OAKHAM CASTLE OAKLEY OBDURATE OBEDIENT OCEAN
ODZANI ONYX OPOSSUM OPPORTUNE ORCADIA
ORESTES ORWELL OSSORY OXFORD CASTLE PADSTOW BAY
PALADIN PEACOCK PELICAN PERSEUS PEVENSEY CASTLE
PETARD PHEASANT PHOEBE PICKLE PINCHER
PLUCKY PLUTO PLYM POLARIS PORTCHESTER CASTLE
PORTLOCK BAY PROVIDENCE PYRRHUS PYTCHLEY QUANTOCK
RAPID RATTLESNAKE RECRUIT RELENTLESS RIBBLE
RIFLEMAN RINALDE ROCKET ROEBUCK ROMOLA
ROTHER ROWENA ROYALIST RUSHEN SAINTES
SANGUINE SATYR SAVAGE SCORCHER SCORPION
SCOTSMAN SCYTHIAN SEA DEVIL SEA SCOUT SEABEAR
SELENE SENESCHAL SENTINEL SERAPH SERENE
SHEFFIELD SIDON SILVERTON SIRDAR SIRIUS
SKIPJACK SLEUTH SLUYS SNIPE SOLEBAY
SOLENT SOUTHDOWN SPARROW SPIRIT SPRINGER
ST AUSTELL BAY ST BRIDES BAY ST JAMES ST KITTS START BAY
STATESMAN STEVENSTONE STORK STORMCLOUD STURDY
SUBTLE SUPERB SURPRISE SWALE SWIFTSURE
SYLVIA TABARD TACTICIAN TACITURN TAFF
TALENT TALLYHO TALYBONE TANGANYIKA TAURUS
TAVY TAY TEAZER TEES TELEMACHUS
TENACIOUS TEREDO TERMAGENT TERPSICHORE TEST
TETCOTT TEVIOT THERMOPYLAE THESEUS THISBE
THOROUGH THULE TINTAGEL CASTLE TIPTOE TIRELESS
TOKEN TOTEM TOWY TRADEWIND TRAFALGAR
TREMADOC BAY TRENCHANT TRESPASSER TRIUMPH TROUBRIDGE
TRUELOVE TRUMP TRUNCHEON TUDOR TUMULT
TURPIN TUSCAN TYRIAN ULSTER ULYSSES
UNDAUNTED UNDINE UNICORN URANIA URCHIN
URSA VANGUARD VENGEANCE VENUS VERALUM
VERYAN BAY VICTORIOUS VIGILANT VIGO VIRAGO
VOLAGE WAGER WAKEFUL WARRIOR WATERWITCH
WAVE WEAR WELCOME WELFARE WHADDON
WHEATLAND WHELP WHIRLWIND WHITESAND BAY WIDEMOUTH BAY
WILD GOOSE WILTON WINGTOWN BAY WIZARD WOODCOCK
WRANGLER WREN WYE ZAMBESI ZEALOUS
ZEBRA ZENITH ZEPHYR ZEST ZETLAND
ZODIAC

 

THESE WERE THE SHIPS AND SUBMARINES, WHO, WITH THEIR  SISTER SHIPS AND SUBMARINES WHO DID NOT RETURN AND WHOSE SPLENDID NAMES ARE MISSING FROM MY LIST, FOUGHT THE SECOND WORLD WAR, THE KOREAN WAR AND THE SUEZ WAR.

For those of you who think of ships belonging to  numerical types [Type 22 for example], or named after the first of a class [Leander for example], you might be remotely interested to know how ships in the table above were referred to. 

Some, like the Tribals of the 60's, (where you had to know that the Ashanti, for example, is a tribe of Africans from Ghana, {who were renown warriors [known for the odd human sacrifice now and again], and now artisans and farmers} before you knew she was a member of this class),  all carried names of a common theme.  It was always easy to spot the ships with two names [or three - St Austell Bay and St Brides Bay] because of the word at the beginning or the end of their name.  In the list above, there are 18 Bay-class frigates; 19 Loch-class frigates; 24 Castle-class frigates. Just as easy were the ships whose names all began with the same two letters, e.g., CH etc. These were the CA,CH,CO [etc]-class destroyers. If your military history was good, you would readily pick out the Battle-class destroyers all named after famous battles from Agincourt through to Dunkirk, and the Weapon-class named after weapons like Crossbow etc- there were lots of them.

From now on, things begin to get more complicated.  The Daring-class destroyer was a most handsome type of ship, but not all ships beginning with the letter 'D' were Darings. There are eight Darings on the list with a further four destroyers also beginning with 'D'.

Are you au fait with  rivers, birds, hills, flowers, animals, villages, mythology, etc, because each and every subject was used to name different classes of ships and ocean minesweepers?

When it came to cruisers  it was easier, because there are only 25 of them against the 281 destroyers/frigates listed. The first group [the big boys] were named after Colonies.  Then came the Town-class, if one can call many of our cities towns!  Swiftsure-class, Sirius-class and others brought up the rear.

With just three mine layers, we wont dwell on their names!

As for battleships and aircraft carriers, the former were proudly stated to be 'a 15 inch' or a '16 inch' gunner, whilst the carriers were either described as Fleet,  Light,  or Repair.

Submariners had it the easiest because all they had to remember was the first letter of the name of the boat, which automatically pigeon-hole it.  It didn't matter that Alderney was named after a Channel Island [we didn't have 'G' or 'J' boats so Jersey and Guernsey missed out, and clearly, Sark must have done something wrong] and that Auriga was a constellation [the charioteer] home to Capella, the fourth brightest star in our skies some 42 light-years away [12.92 parsecs].

Of the remaining ships not specifically mentioned here, many have names from everyday speech, such as 'Cheerful' and 'Artful' for example. However, I do wonder about ships named after people!  What of: Michael and Sylvia?

Well, that concludes the story of the ships that were already there when I joined the navy.  What did we build in the 1950's, or complete from keels laid down after the war in the mid to late 1940's?

 

 

                 of                             

{MY PEN AND LINE DRAWINGS TO A SCALE OF 1:2290.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THEY ARE SYMBOLIC AND NOT INTENDED TO BE WORKS OF ART! HOWEVER THEIR LENGTHS ARE CORRECT.}

 

 

 

 

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS

Albion
Ark Royal
Bulwark
Centaur
Eagle

je109.jpg (48080 bytes)

Ark Royal -full speed ahead

and what about this on my old ship HMS Eagle. The embarked flights attending ceremonial division on the flight deck with the ship hurtling along at 25 knots and all the squadron choppers also lined up for inspection. I wonder how many of these machines got a kit muster? Note RM Band on stern end.

 

 

 

 

CRUISERS

Tiger [as built]

CRUISERS

Tiger [after
conversion]
into a Command
and Control ship

This is a nice photograph of Tiger as built and when new.

 

DESTROYERS AND FRIGATES

Whitby, Blackpool, Eastbourne. Scarborough, Tenby, Puma,
Lynx, Leopard, Blackwood, Duncan, Dundas, Exmouth, Grafton,
Hardy, Keppel, Malcolm, Murray, Palliser, Pellew, Russell,
Salisbury, Llandaff, Chichester.
SUBMARINES

Cachalot, Porpoise, Rorqual, Grampus, Narwhal.

MINE SWEEPERS

Alcaston, Aldington, Appleton, Ashton, Badminton, Belton, Bevington,
Blaxton, Boulston, Burnaston, Calton, Carhampton, Castleton. Caunton
Chediston, Chilcompton, Chawton, Chilton, Clarbeston, Clyde, Coniston,
Crofton, Curzon, Dalswinton, Darlaston, Dartington, Dilston, Dufton,
Dumbleton, Edderton, Eessington, Fenton, Fiskerton, Fittleton,  Flockton, Floriston,
Glasserton, Hexton, Hickleton, Highburton, Houghton, Ilmington,
 Invermoriston, Jackton, Kedleston, Kellington,
Kemerton, Kildarton, Killiecrankie, Kilmorey, Laleston, Lanton, Latterston,
Leverton, Lullington, Maddiston, Maryton, Mersey, Montrose, Northumbria,
Oakington, Oulston, Packington, Penston, Pictpon, Puncheston, Quainton,
Rennington, Repton, Rodington, St David, Santon, Sefton, Shoulton, Singleton,
Somerlayton, Stratton, Sullington, Swanton, Tarlton, Thames, Thankerton,
Venturer, Warsash, Wilkieston, Wiston,  Woolaston,

In 1976 the Fittleton manned at that time by RNVR personnel, collided with the frigate Mermaid in the English Channel.  Twelve men lost their lives

None of these ships was in service in 1983 when I left.  Ship building continued apace, and the following ships and submarines were built or completed in the 1960's.  Again, none of those shown in the table below was in service in 1983. It was in this period that we saw our first nuclear powered vessel, the submarine Dreadnought skippered by Peter Samborne*, and the launch of the beautiful lines of the GMD's [guided missile destroyers]

* This is Peter Sambourne

 

CRUISERS

Blake and Lion [as built].


 I SERVED
IN BOTH TIGER
AND BLAKE.

CRUISERS

Blake [after conversion] into a Command and Control ship.

GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYERS [GMD/DLG]

Devonshire, Hampshire and London.

FRIGATES

Ashanti, Eskimo, Mohawk and Nubian.

NUCLEAR SUBMARINES

Dreadnought

CONVENTIONAL DIESEL/ELECTRIC SUBMARINES

Finwhale

 

On into the 1970's then.  Just two ships which were built or completed in the 70's and which were not in service in 1983.  One GMD [more often called a destroyer light guided [DLG]], the Norfolk and the frigate
Mermaid

Click then Point to these chaps & have one on me!                                                   1980 and finally:

TO THE SHIPS AND SUBMARINES OF THE NAVY IN 1983, THE NAVY WHICH FOUGHT THE FALKLANDS WAR

 

Aircraft Carriers
Hermes

Ark Royal Illustrious Invincible

Ark Royal on her last few moments at sea before entering Portsmouth Harbour [in fog] for disposal. 3rd December 2010 - a sad day!

Assault Ships
Fearless Intrepid
Ships brought out of
reserve [awaiting scrap]
for the 1982 crisis
Gurkha Tartar   Zulu
Destroyers
and Frigates
Bristol Antrim Fife Glamorgan
Kent Brazen Broadsword Boxer Beaver

Harbour Training Ship

Battleaxe Brilliant Glasgow Sheffield Coventry

Lost in Action Falklands '82

Lost in Action Falklands '82

Manchester Liverpool Newcastle Exeter Southampton
Nottingham Gloucester Edinburgh York Cardiff
Birmingham Alacrity Avenger Amazon Ambuscade
Active Arrow Antelope Ardent Leander

Lost in Action Falklands '82

Lost in Action Falklands '82

Minerva Arethusa Achilles Bacchante Naiad
Galatea Dido Euryalus Charybdis Ariadne
Scylla Apollo Ajax Cleopatra Sirus
Phoebe Danae Diomede Andromeda Hermione
Jupiter Penelope Aurora Juno Argonaut
Yarmouth Lowestoft Berwick Rhyl Londonderry

Trials Ship

Falmouth Brighton Plymouth Rothesay Torquay

Sea Training Ship

Coastal Mine
Warfare Vessels
 

Beachampton Bickington Bildeston

Bossington

Brecon

Brinton

Brocklesby Bronington Cattistock Chiddingfold
Cottesmore Crichton Cuxton Dulverton Gavinton
Hubberston Hurworth Iveston Kirkliston Ledbury
Lewiston Maxton Middleton Monkton Nurton
Pollington Shavington Sheraton Soberton Stubbington
Upton Walkerton Wasperton Wolverton Wotton
Wilton Yarnton
Patrol
Craft
Alderney Anglesey Guernsey Jersey Lindisfarne
Orkney Shetland Leeds Castle Dumbarton Castle
Submarines

Revenge

Renown

Resolution

Repulse

Trafalgar Turbulent Swiftsure Sovereign Superb
Sceptre Spartan Splendid Valiant Warspite
Churchill Conqueror Courageous Oberon Odin
Orpheus Olympus Osiris Onslaught Otter
Onyx Oracle Ocelot Otus Opossum
Opportune Walrus Porpoise Sealion

It seems strange that any sailor who joined when I left over 20 years ago, will perhaps think of this 1983 navy as I did about the navy of 1950.  If you do, then do bother to put your navy together on a web site.

Yours aye.

Godfrey [Jeff] Dykes RN 1953-1983

P.S.   In the meantime, keep the power on, and let's go full steam ahead for a good strong navy of the future.