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RN Ship Names


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This thread is intended to be a little light hearted before anyone gets too serious.

I was having a chat with a friend recently and we were discussing RN ship names and how some of them have been rather odd. After reading a recent thread on here about the loss of HMS Fairy it reminded me of yet another. The First World War seems to have a monopoly on daft ship names:

HMS Coquette

HMS Cockchafer (A gunboat not a medical ship!)

HMS Spanker

HMS Badger

HMS Fairy

Anybody know of any others in this era with names that wouldn't exactly strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of the RN?

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I think all of the Flower class must have given their crew a rough ride socially now and again...

[oops scrub round that wrong war!]

HMS Irresistible, perhaps?

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There was a class of sloops which was called the 24 class allegedly to avoid confusion with the Racecourse class of paddle minesweepers as they were named after Racehorses. Some of them are OK. But others nowadays sound a bit odd:

Isinglass

Persimmon

Rock Sand

Sanfoin(?)

Merry Hampton was probably OK at the time, but now always reminds me of Carry on Henry for some reason.

There were also all the Admiralty drifters named after "meteorological events", one or two of which were still around NE Scotland fishing under their original names when I was a very small child.

Roger.

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There was a class of sloop named after flowers in the First World War. I think it was the late James Lamb, who commanded a Flower-class corvette in the Second World War, who said that it was more likely to bother the Germans (or other enemies) that their U-boats were getting hunted by ships with names like "Buttercup" and "Petunia."

Simon

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SeaJane. I hadn't of that! It made me laugh to think of the obligatory Army and Navy bar room brawls that could possibly have been started by some loud mouth Tommy going over to a sailor and take the Michael out of the name on his cap because it reads HMS Pansy. Also I should imagine a young lad proud of his father in the navy would be loathe to mention that his Dads ship was HMS Badger etc.

I must profess complete ignorance as to how ships were given their names. Was there a chap at the admiralty at a desk who had the job or was it the Sea Lords? Simon, you'll probably know this.

I had a look at those Flower class sloops of the First World War. HMS Convolvulus and HMS Pansy are my favourites so far.

Rolt. I can understand some of the ships taken into he navy and keeping their merchant names. Like the Daffodil at Zeebrugge etc, but it just amazes me that someone approved these names. As you say, it reminds me of something out of Carry On film.

Does anybody know any ships that have hidden meanings in their names? My mate who I was having a chat with the other day pointed out HMS Coquette and when I said that it didn't sound too bad explained to me that it is the term for a flirtatious young girl.

Here is one from the Second World War. The submarine HMS Unruffled.

I used to work with a chap at my last jail who had been in the RN and served in the Falklands. He was on HMS Hermes and apparently the crew, due to the condition she was in, referred to her as HMS Herpes. Just came across a good nickname from the First World War, HMS Amphitrite = HMS Am & Tripe.

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The joke about Hermes was; matelot goes to see doctor, "Doc, I think I've got Hermes" to which doc replies, "I think you mean herpes". Sailor says, "Nah, no symptoms, but I think I'm a carrier"

Boom Boom.

Always thought HMS Dido was a bit fraught -

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I must profess complete ignorance as to how ships were given their names. Was there a chap at the admiralty at a desk who had the job or was it the Sea Lords? Simon, you'll probably know this.

Ships' Names and Badges Committee. My colleague the Admiralty Librarian is a member as the source of all wisdom on ship history. She will tell you that Churchill suggested HMS TIPTOE for a submarine, but never expected to end up with a ballerina on the badge. Also how Churchill (again, sigh) suggested HMS PITT until HM George VI suggested he say it aloud... and why there has never been an HMS CROMWELL...

HMS Prometheus > Promiscuous

HMS Hermione > Hermy One

HMS Agamemnon > Eggs and Bacon (certainly Nelson's sailors called their Agamemnon that - don't know if the name survived to the GW ship too).

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I wouldn't like to say! (though I can recommend Rick Jolly's Jackspeak for those who want to brush up their naval slang).

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There was and is, a committee which decides on ships names.

Usually the names will follow whatever the class of ship has been called, thus Flower Class were named for flowers.

Tiptoe was used as a name as it was one of the T Class submarines. In fact, it was the last WW2 submarine to go out of commission, in either 1969 or 1970. The T class was a very big class, with about 20 boats, I seem to remember. By the time Tiptoe went out of use she was used only for training and, frankly, I wouldn't have gone on board if I hadn't had to, and would certainly not have gone to sea. She was a wreck.

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I am assuming that old Olly Cromwell missed out on having a ship named after him due to that unfortunate incident of regicide. I know that Churchill had his heart set on it but King George V took the hump. After browsing the internet it appears there was a destroyer HMS Cromwell commissioned in 1946 but quickly flogged to Norway. Could it have possibly be named for someone like Thomas Cromwell? I know that is a longshot.

There are some photos of Tiptoe on the net of her lying up rusting away if you feel nostalgic and fancy looking.

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  • 2 months later...

Ships' Names and Badges Committee. My colleague the Admiralty Librarian is a member as the source of all wisdom on ship history. She will tell you that Churchill suggested HMS TIPTOE for a submarine, but never expected to end up with a ballerina on the badge. Also how Churchill (again, sigh) suggested HMS PITT until HM George VI suggested he say it aloud... and why there has never been an HMS CROMWELL...

Hi all, sorry to take this topic off track and off period but i am doing some digging into HMS Tiptoe as my grandfather served on board during WW2. I remember him saying Tiptoe was named by Churchill and that he took a continued interest in her, however i have never been able to find any documentation for this or any mention in Churchill's diaries. The earliest i can find is a times article from the 80's, apart from that it is all word of mouth or unattributed. It would be very nice to have a look at any of the Primary which may be available on this.
If anyone could help with that it would be much appreciated!
Ill let normal programming resume.
Many thanks,
James
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James,

Will see what I can do.

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Ermmmm... I'll let you know!

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This is the only entry in British Warship Names by Capt TD Manning and CDR C.F Walker.

post-11859-0-11730400-1387129656_thumb.j

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Have discussed HMS Duncan with Seajane before. A current named ship where the others in the class are more war like. However Duncan has been used for a few ships including WW1.

HMS Badger? Badgers are nasty brutes, an apt name for a small war ship.

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Thanks Auchonvillerssomme! That pushes attribution back to 1959 at least. Once again sorry for cluttering up your thread. Its given me a good chuckle to think of those who had to face HMS Pansy or Buttercup in battle.

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Or say HMS Chrysanthemum to the regulators after a particularly hearty run ashore!

(HMS Chrysanthemum was an Anchusa Class sloop launched in 1917, used for convoy duty).

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Jimmy

sent you a PM.

sJ

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Ships' Names and Badges Committee. My colleague the Admiralty Librarian is a member as the source of all wisdom on ship history. She will tell you that Churchill suggested HMS TIPTOE for a submarine, but never expected to end up with a ballerina on the badge. Also how Churchill (again, sigh) suggested HMS PITT until HM George VI suggested he say it aloud... and why there has never been an HMS CROMWELL...

HMS Prometheus > Promiscuous

HMS Hermione > Hermy One

HMS Agamemnon > Eggs and Bacon (certainly Nelson's sailors called their Agamemnon that - don't know if the name survived to the GW ship too).

I know this thread was a while ago but I happened to stumble across Churchill's specific written submission in support of 'HMS Cromwell' which I thought might be of interest

"Oliver Cromwell was one of the founders of the Navy and scarcely any man did so much for it. It seems right that we should give to a battleship a name that never failed to make the enemies of England tremble." (Very Churchillian!)

The King was unmoved however and refused. Churchill sent his response, "I bow".

David

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Very interesting! that turn of phrase would have swayed me i think. Can i ask where you dug up the submission please? I have managed to get a 1945 Australian newspaper for HMS tiptoe which also states it was churchill's name but no further back than that yet.

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It was still a question in 1979, Julian Critchley asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is prepared to name a ship of the Royal Navy HMS "Oliver Cromwell". And Mr John Biggs-Davison on March 23, 1979

re HMS"Oliver Cromwell ", asked whether Her Majesty the Queen's approval is required to be obtained to the naming of Her Majesty's ships. I can't find any answers though.

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Very interesting! that turn of phrase would have swayed me i think. Can i ask where you dug up the submission please? I have managed to get a 1945 Australian newspaper for HMS tiptoe which also states it was churchill's name but no further back than that yet.

Only a secondary source I'm afraid. It was quoted in 'Dreadnought' by Robert Massie page 781. I was searching for a reference Churchill made to the vulnerability of battle cruisers when I saw this quote and remembered this thread. There is a lot in the book about Churchill at the Admiralty if you are interested in that period of naval history

David

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