Open main menu

The Royal Navy Portal

The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). From the early 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, it was the largest and most powerful navy in the world, playing a key part in establishing the British Empire as the dominant power of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In World War II, the Royal Navy operated almost 600 ships. During the Cold War, it was transformed into a primarily anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines, mostly active in the North Atlantic Ocean. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, its role for the 21st century has returned to focus on global expeditionary (blue water) operations.

The Royal Navy is the second-largest navy in NATO in terms of the combined tonnage of its fleet. Its global power projection capabilities are deemed second only to the United States Navy. There are currently 91 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, including aircraft carriers, submarines, mine counter-measures and patrol vessels. There are also the support vessels of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The Royal Navy is a constituent component of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which also comprises the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and associated reserve forces under command. The Naval Service had 38,710 regular personnel as of November 2006.

White Ensign defaced by "The Royal Navy Portal"

Selected battle

Bluecher sinkend.jpg

The Battle of Dogger Bank was a naval battle fought near the Dogger Bank in the North Sea that took place on 24 January 1915, during the First World War, between the battlecruiser squadrons of the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet. The engagement, which saw the sinking of the German cruiser SMS Blücher (pictured), was a British victory, and German naval activity was reduced out of a desire to avoid the loss of further ships. Additionally, the use of wireless intercepts to determine German battle plans demonstrated the usefulness of a new form of intelligence gathering. However, the battle exposed weaknesses in British communications and also revealed a fatal flaw in the design of battlecruiser magazines, which would result in the loss of three ships at the Battle of Jutland.

Selected ship

RFA Oakleaf A111.JPG

The RFA Oakleaf is a Leaf-class fleet support tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Formerly the Swedish vessel MV Oktania built by A. B. Udevella, Sweden and completed in 1981, Oakleaf was added to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1986. As well as their role of replenishing warships at sea, support tankers perform the bulk movement of fuels between MOD(N) depots. The Oakleaf has three Leaf Class sisters - RFAs Brambleleaf, Bayleaf and Orangeleaf. All four were originally designed as commercial tankers and underwent major conversions to bring them up to RFA standards and equip them for naval support. These involved adding a considerable amount of electronics, both in communications and navigational aids, fitting two replenishment rigs and increasing the amount of accommodation.



Selected picture

Victory by Constable.JPG

His Majesty's Ship Victory, Capt. E. Harvey, in the Memorable Battle of Trafalgar between two French Ships of the Line

Painting by John Constable.

Selected biography


Skipper Thomas Crisp VC, DSC, RNR (April 28, 1876 – August 15, 1917) was a posthumous English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British military service personnel. He earned his award during the defence of his vessel, the armed naval smack HMS Nelson, in the North Sea against an attack by the German submarine Unterseeboot C-41 in 1917.

Thomas Crisp's self–sacrifice in the face of this "unequal struggle" was used by the government to bolster morale during some of the toughest days of the First World War for Britain, the summer and autumn of 1917, during which Britain was the most active Allied participant and was suffering consequent losses. His exploit was read aloud by David Lloyd George in the Houses of Parliament and made headline news for nearly a week.


Did you know...?

Major topics

Royal Navy
Major engagements Notable personnel Notable ships Equipment & Technology See also

War of the Grand Alliance

War of the Spanish Succession

War of the Austrian Succession

Seven Years' War

American War of Independence

French Revolutionary War

War of the Second Coalition

Napoleonic Wars

Barbary Wars

Greek War of Independence

World War I

World War II


Not all battles included

Seven Years' War

American War of Independence

French Revolutionary War

Napoleonic Wars

World War I

World War II





Associated Wikimedia