Royal NavyThe Royal Navy is the navy of the United Kingdom. The Royal Navy has historically played an extremely important role in the defence of the UK and the British Empire. Because the UK is a country in which all locations are within 74 miles (120 km) of the sea, any power which achieved naval superiority would put it in great peril. Moreover, a strong navy was vital in maintaining supply and communication links with distant locations in the Empire.
England's first navy was established by King Alfred, but soon fell into disrepair. The first reformation and major expansion of the Royal Navy occurred during the reign of King Henry VIII whose ships the "Great Harry" and the "Mary Rose" engaged the French navy in a battle in the Solent in 1545. The second reformation was under Admiral Robert Blake during Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth.
The Naval Service didn't really exist until the mid 17th century when the Fleet Royal was incorporated into the Government following the defeat of Charles I in the English Civil War. The incorporation of the royal navy was in contrast to the land forces, which are descended from parliamentary forces and hence are not royal.
Between 1690 and World War I, the Royal Navy was the strongest navy in the world with almost uncontested power over the world's oceans. Between 1690 and 1916, the Royal Navy suffered only one major defeat, at the Battle of the Chesapeake, and was able to defeat decisively all challengers, as at the Battle of Trafalgar. They did, however, lose numerous small engagements.
During World War II, the Royal Navy played a vital role in keeping the UK supplied with food, arms and raw materials. See Battle of the Atlantic (1940). It was also vital in guarding the sea lanes that enabled Britain to fight in remote parts of the world such as North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East. Naval supremacy was vital to the amphibious operations carried out, such as the invasions of West Africa, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. See British military history of World War II.
After World War II, the growing power of the United States and the retreat from empire reduced the role of the Royal Navy. The most important post-war operation conducted solely by the Royal Navy involved defeating Argentina in the Falkland Islands War. The Royal Navy also participated in the Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, the Afghanistan Campaign and the 2003 Iraq War.
Nicknames include "The Mob", "The Andrew" and "The Senior Service". One point of pride of the Royal Navy is that it is known simply as the Royal Navy as opposed to other navies which have the national name in them.
HMS (acronym) = Her (or His) Majesty's Ship
|Table of contents|
2 Royal Navy Timeline
3 Famous members of the Royal Navy
4 Famous ships of the Royal Navy
5 Weapons Systems
6 See Also
Components of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy Timeline
Famous members of the Royal Navy
Famous ships of the Royal Navy
For a full list, see List of Royal Navy ship names
- HMS Ark Royal
- HMS Victory - Nelson's flagship.
- HMS Bounty - scene of the mutiny.
- HMS Hood - destroyed by the Bismark
- HMS Beagle - carried Charles Darwin on his voyage.
- HMS Dreadnought
- HMS Resolution - first submarine of the Resolution Class
- HMS Warrior
- HMS Hercules
- HMS Nelson