Her Majesty's Ship
His or Her Majesty's Ship, abbreviated HMS and H.M.S., is the ship prefix used for ships of the navy in some monarchies. Derived terms such as HMAS and equivalents in other languages such as SMS are used.
During the late 17th century, following the Restoration, the name Royal Navy was officially adopted, as well as the prefix His Majesty's Ship, and later, Her Majesty's Ship. The first recorded use of the abbreviated form HMS was in 1789, in respect of HMS Phoenix. From 1707 to circa 1800 HBMS (for His Britannic Majesty's Ship) was also used. Submarines in Her Majesty's service also use the prefix HMS, standing for Her Majesty's Submarine, though this is sometimes rendered HMS/m. (See, for example, HMS/m Tireless, at IWM). The Royal Yacht Britannia, which was a commissioned ship in the Royal Navy, was known as HMY Britannia. Otherwise all ships in the Royal Navy are known as HM Ships, though formerly when a distinction was made between three-masted ship-rigged ships and smaller vessels they would be called HM Frigate X, or HM Sloop Y.
The prefix HMS is also used by shore establishments that are commissioned "stone frigates" in the Royal Navy. Examples include HMS Excellent, a training school located on an island in Portsmouth Harbour, and HMS Vulcan, in Caithness in the Highland area of Scotland, which is established to test the design of nuclear power systems for use in submarines.
The sample ship name used by the Royal Navy to signify a hypothetical vessel is HMS Nonsuch. This is a name that has been used by the Royal Navy in the past; on the eve of World War II the name was given[by whom?] to the Royal Canadian Navy. As of 2012[update] HMCS Nonsuch was the "stone frigate" of the Edmonton Division of the Canadian Naval Reserve.
Prefixing the name by "the", as in "the HMS Ark Royal", while common, is considered bad grammar.
British government ships not in the Royal Navy have other designations, such as RFA for ships in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Commonwealth realms and former British Empire
- Canada: Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) / (French: Navire canadien de Sa Majesté) (NCSM) – Royal Canadian Navy
- Australia: Her Majesty's Australian Ship (HMAS) – Royal Australian Navy
- New Zealand: Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship (HMNZS) – Royal New Zealand Navy
- Bahamas: Her Majesty's Bahamian Ship (HMBS) – Royal Bahamas Defence Force
- Papua New Guinea: Her Majesty's Papua New Guinean Ship (HMPNGS) - Papua New Guinea Defence Force
- Jamaica: Her Majesty's Jamaican Ship (HMJS) – Jamaica Defence Force
- Tuvalu: Her Majesty's Tuvalu Surveillance Ship (HMTSS)
- Colonial: Her Majesty's Colonial Ship (HMCS)
- Australia: Commonwealth Naval Ship (CNS)
- Burma: His Majesty's Burmese Ship (HMBS)
- Barbados: Her Majesty's Barbadian Ship (HMBS) – Barbados Defence Force
- South Africa: His Majesty's South African Ship (HMSAS) / (Afrikaans: Sy Majesteit se Suid-Afrikaanse Skip) (SMSA) - South African Navy
- Ceylon: Her Majesty's Ceylon Ship (HMCyS)
- Fiji: Her Majesty's Fijian Ship (HMFS)
- India: His Majesty's Indian Ship (HMIS)
- Queensland (before the federation of Australia): Her Majesty's Queensland Ship (HMQS)
- Victoria (before the federation of Australia): Her Majesty's Victorian Ship (HMVS)
- Pakistan: His Majesty's Pakistan Ship (HMPS)
All Danish Navy ships carry the ship prefix KDM (Kongelige Danske Marine) in Danish, but this is translated to HDMS (Her / His Danish Majesty's Ship) in English.
Seiner Majestät Schiff (pronounced [ˈzaɪ̯nɐ majɛsˈtɛːt ʃɪf]; German: His Majesty's Ship, abbreviated to S.M.S. or SMS) was the ship prefix used by the Prussian Maritime Enterprise (Seehandlung), the Prussian Navy, the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) and the Austro-Hungarian Navy (Kaiserliche und königliche Kriegsmarine). It was created by translating the British prefix into German.
It was sometimes also abbreviated to S.M. or SM (for Seiner Majestät) when a ship was mentioned by class, such as S.M. Kleiner Kreuzer Emden ("His Majesty's Light Cruiser Emden").
Special forms included
- S.M.Y. (or SMY) = Seiner Majestät Yacht ("His Majesty's Yacht") for king's or emperor's yacht
- I.M.Y. = Ihrer Majestät Yacht ("Her Majesty's Yacht") for the queen's or empress' yacht.
- S.M.F. = Seiner Majestät Feuerschiff ("His Majesty's Lightvessel")
- S.M.H. = Seiner Majestät Hilfsschiff ("His Majesty's Auxiliary Ship")
- S.M.W. = Seiner Majestät Werkstattschiff ("His Majesty's Workshop Ship")
- S.M.U. = Seiner Majestät Unterseeboot ("His Majesty's Submarine", prefixing a number not a name)
International prefixes for ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy is HNLMS (His/Her Netherlands Majesty's Ship). The Netherlands navy itself uses the prefixes Zr.Ms. (Zijner Majesteits, His Majesty's) when a king is on the throne, and Hr.Ms. (Harer Majesteits, Her Majesty's) when there is a queen. This happens automatically at the moment of coronation.
The Royal Norwegian Navy vessels have since 1946 been given the ship prefix KNM, short for Kongelig Norske Marine (Royal Norwegian Navy). In English, they are given the prefix HNoMS, short for "His/Her Norwegian Majesty's Ship" (HNMS could be also used for the Royal Netherlands Navy, for which HNLMS is used instead). Coast Guard vessels are given the prefix KV for KystVakt (Coast Guard) in Norwegian and NoCGV for Norwegian Coast Guard Vessel in English.
Prior to World War II, the subsequent ousting of the monarchy and post-war Soviet occupation, all Royal Romanian Navy vessels were given the prefix NMS which stands for Nava Majestăţii Sale which translates to His/her Majesty’s Ship in english.
Abroad, Swedish navy ships are sometimes given the prefix HSwMS (for His Swedish Majesty's Ship), to avoid confusion with other uses of the HMS prefix.
- See ship prefix for a list
- Royal Mail Ship (RMS)
- Category:Ships of the Royal Navy
- HM Prison (HMP)
- Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution (HMYOI)
- Her Majesty's Government (HMG)
- Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London
- United States Ship
- "Frequently Asked Questions of the Sailing Navy Gallery". www.royalnavalmuseum.org. National Museum of the Royal Navy. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- "The Evolution of Ship Naming in the U.S. Navy". (US) Naval History and Heritage Command. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
Some, but apparently not all, other navies also use prefixes with their ships' names. Perhaps the best known of these is HMS (His/Her Majesty's Ship), long used by the Royal Navy. In earlier times this was also seen as HBMS for His Britannic Majesty's Ship.
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- The Guardian style guide
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- Australian War Memorial Glossary Archived 2007-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
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- Jane's Fighting Ships, Frederick Thomas Jane, S. Low, Marston & Company, 2010, page 61
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- Annual Report for the Year, Fiji Mineral Resources Department, 1980, page 20
- HMQS Gayundah (Aboriginal for 'lightning') and her sister ship HMQS Paluma ('thunder') (National Library of Australia) Archived February 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Department of the Environment and Water Resources: HMVS Cerberus". Archived from the original on 10 February 2007.
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- Shukal, Om Prakash (2007), Excellence In Life, Gyan Publishing House, p. 332, ISBN 9788121209632
- "List of Acronyms Preceding the Name of a Ship". Corporation of Lower St. Lawrence Pilots. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "Defensieschepen worden meteen Zr. Ms. in plaats van Hr. Ms" (in Dutch). Volkskrant. 29 January 2013.
- Ordbok: "H" Archived 2011-08-12 at the Wayback Machine Försvarsmakten (in Swedish)