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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.

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Selected battle

Map of the Battle of Jutland, 1916.svg

The Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht (Battle of the Skagerrak); Danish: Søslaget ved Jylland / Søslaget om Skagerrak) was the largest naval battle of World War I, and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. It was fought on May 31–June 1, 1916, in the North Sea near Jutland, the mainland of Denmark. The combatants were the Kaiserliche Marine’s High Seas Fleet commanded by Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer and the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The intention of the German fleet was to lure out, trap and destroy a section of the Grand fleet, part of their larger strategy of breaking the British naval blockade of the North Sea and allowing German mercantile shipping to operate again. The Royal Navy, on the other hand, was seeking to engage and cripple the High Seas Fleet with a single engagement.

On the afternoon of 31 May, Beatty and Hipper encountered each other, and in a running battle to the south Hipper drew the British into the path of the High Seas Fleet. Beatty turned and fled towards the Grand Fleet and from 18:30 until nightfall at about 20:30 the two huge fleets — totaling 250 ships between them — were heavily engaged. Fourteen British and eleven German ships were sunk with great loss of life. Jellicoe tried to cut the Germans off from their base in the hope of continuing the battle in the morning, but under cover of darkness Scheer crossed the wake of the British fleet and returned to port.

Both sides claimed victory. The British had lost more ships and many more sailors, and the British press criticized the Royal Fleet's actions, but Scheer’s plan of destroying Beatty's squadrons had failed. The Germans continued to pose a threat that required the British to keep their battleships concentrated in the North Sea, but they never again contested control of the seas. Instead, the German Navy turned its efforts and resources to unrestricted submarine warfare.

Selected ship


HMS Daring is the lead ship of the Type 45 or 'D' Class of air defence destroyer (AAW) being built for the Royal Navy and the seventh to hold that name. Construction began at the BAE Systems Naval Ships yard at Scotstoun on the River Clyde in March 2003. The ship was launched at 14.21 GMT on February 1, 2006. HRH The Countess of Wessex was the ship's sponsor at her launch. As of September 2007 Daring is undergoing the second stage of sea trials. The first phase of sea trials were successfully completed on 14 August 2007. During these trials, Daring reached her design speed of 29 knots in 70 seconds and achieved a speed of 31.5 knots in 120 seconds.

Daring is both the first warship to include e-mail and entertainment systems (including iPod charging points) within the messdecks and the first Royal Navy vessel to include gender-neutral living spaces to accommodate male and female crew members. When fully active the Daring class will be one of the most advanced air-defence warships in the world. The ship's capabilities centre on the SAMPSON Multi Function Radar which can detect targets out to a distance of 400 km (250 miles) and the PAAMS missile system.



Selected picture

A UGM-27 Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile is launched from the British submarine HMS Revenge (S27).

Original photograph is a public domain image produced by a US military or Department of Defense employee.

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.


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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





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