List of ship names of the Royal Navy
This is an alphabetical list of all the names of ships that have ever been in service with the Royal Navy, as well as a list of fictional vessels in literature about the Royal Navy. Many of the names have been re-used over the years and thus represent more than one ship.
Altogether over 13,000 ships have been in service with the Royal Navy.
Note that, unlike many other naval services, the Royal Navy designates certain types of shore establishment (e.g. barracks, naval air stations and training establishments) as "ships" and names them accordingly. These establishments are often referred to in service slang as stone frigates.
Lists of ship names
Due to the large number of names the list has been split into smaller lists:
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (A)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (B)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (C)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (D–F)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (G–H)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (I–L)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (M–N)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (O–Q)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (R–T)
- List of ship names of the Royal Navy (U–Z)
By types of ship
- List of aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy
- List of amphibious warfare ships of the Royal Navy
- List of pre-dreadnought battleships of the Royal Navy
- List of dreadnought battleships of the Royal Navy
- List of battlecruisers of the Royal Navy
- List of bomb vessels of the Royal Navy
- List of cruisers of the Royal Navy
- List of destroyers of the Royal Navy
- List of fast patrol boats of the Royal Navy
- List of frigates of the Royal Navy
- List of corvettes and sloops of the Royal Navy
- List of gunboats and gunvessels of the Royal Navy
- List of gun-brigs of the Royal Navy
- List of ironclads of the Royal Navy
- List of monitors of the Royal Navy
- List of mine countermeasure vessels of the Royal Navy (includes minesweepers and mine hunters)
- List of Royal Prison ship names
- List of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship names
- List of ships of the line of the Royal Navy
- List of submarines of the Royal Navy
- List of survey vessels of the Royal Navy
- List of Royal Navy shore establishments
Fictional RN ship names
Many novels and films about the Royal Navy feature fictional ships, but most use real names. This is a list of fictional names of note. Where real ship names are used fictionally, there is a link to the actual ships using that name.
Fictional wooden RN ships
- Argonaute (from Colors Aloft by Alexander Kent)
- Atropos (from Hornblower and the Atropos by C. S. Forester)
- Bellipotent (from Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville)
- Caligula (from A Ship of the Line by C. S. Forester)
- Clam (from Hornblower in the West Indies by C. S. Forester)
- Clorinda (from Hornblower in the West Indies by C. S. Forester)
- Crab (from Hornblower in the West Indies by C. S. Forester)
- Harvey and Moth (Bomb ketches) (from The Commodore by C. S. Forester)
- Flame (from Lord Hornblower by C. S. Forester)
- Friday (from the 1970s Urban myth about a fictional HMS Friday)
- Harpy (from Mr Midshipman Easy by Captain Frederick Marryat)
- Hotspur (Hornblower Saga by C. S. Forester)
- Justinian (from Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C. S. Forester)
- Lotus (from The Commodore by C. S. Forester)
- Lydia (from The Happy Return by C. S. Forester)
- Nightingale (from Hornblower and the Atropos by C. S. Forester)
- Nonsuch (from The Commodore by C. S. Forester)
- Phoebe (from Hornblower in the West Indies by C. S. Forester)
- Pinafore (from the operetta HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan)
- Polychrest (from Post Captain by Patrick O'Brian)
- Porta Coeli (from Lord Hornblower by C. S. Forester)
- Pucelle (from Sharpe's Trafalgar by Bernard Cornwell)
- Pluto (from A Ship of the Line by C. S. Forester)
- Renown (from Lieutenant Hornblower by C. S. Forester)
- Roebuck (from Hornblower in the West Indies by C. S. Forester)
- Sophie (from Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. Based on the actual HM Sloop Speedy)
- Surprise (from HMS Surprise (novel) by Patrick O'Brian. Fictional ship based on the actual frigate HMS Surprise)
- Sutherland (from A Ship of the Line & Flying Colours by C. S. Forester)
- Themis (from Under Enemy Colors by S. Thomas Russell)
- Venus: (from the scatalogical drinking song "Good Ship Venus". Although this usage is apochryphal, the ship's name HMS Venus has been used five times by the RN between 1758 and 1972).
- Witch of Endor (from Flying Colours by C. S. Forester)
In films and television:
- Avenger (from 1962 Peter Ustinov/Terence Stamp film Billy Budd)
- Defiant (from 1962 Alec Guinness/Dirk Bogarde film HMS Defiant)
- Bounty (from 1962 Marlon Brando/Trevor Howard film Mutiny on the Bounty, a novel-based version of the HMS Bounty story. The replica built for the film was lost in 2012)
- Venus (from 1962 Kenneth Williams/Bernard Cribbins comedy film Carry On Jack)
- Indefatigable and Hotspur (from 1999 Ioan Gruffudd TV Series Hornblower; HMS Indefatigable played by replica frigate Grand Turk; HMS Hotspur played by Earl of Pembroke)
- Surprise (from 2003 Russell Crowe film Master and Commander; played by replica ship HMS Surprise )
- Dauntless and Interceptor (from the 2003 Johnny Depp film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. A fictional HMS Dauntless is the 'flagship of the Royal Navy'. HMS Interceptor - described as the 'fastest vessel in the Navy' - is played by the replica ship Lady Washington).
- Providence (from the 2011 Johnny Depp film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; played by replica ship HMS Surprise)
Fictional metal RN ships
- HMS Clampherdown (from The Ballad of the "Clampherdown" by Rudyard Kipling (1892); satirising the Admiral-class battleships HMS Camperdown and Benbow)
- HMS Thunder Child (an "Ironclad torpedo ram" from The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (1898))
- HMS Charybdis (from the 1931 novel Brown on Resolution by C. S. Forester)
- HMS Rutland (in the 1935 John Mills film Brown on Resolution; played by C-class cruiser: HMS Curacoa )
In WW2 novels:
- HMS Artemis (from The Ship by C. S. Forester; inspired by Arethusa-class cruiser: HMS Penelope)
- "HMS Flower" and "HMS Compass Rose" were fictional Flower class corvettes in the short story H M Corvette (1942) and the novel The Cruel Sea (1951) by Nicholas Monsarrat
- "HMS Dipper" and "HMS Winger" were fictional Kingfisher class corvettes in the stories East Coast Corvette (1943) and Corvette Command (1944), by Nicholas Monsarrat, (republished with H M Corvette as Three Corvettes in 1945).
- "HMS River" and "HMS Saltash" were fictional River class frigates in H M Frigate (1946), and the novel The Cruel Sea (1951) by Nicholas Monsarrat. (In the 1953 film version HMS Saltash was depicted by Castle-class corvette: HMS Portchester Castle, and hence named Saltash Castle).
- HMS Marlborough (from the short story "HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour" by Nicholas Monsarrat; based on a 1927 sloop)
- HMS Ulysses (from HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean, based on a fictional Dido class cruiser)
- HMS Vagabond is a fictional V and W class destroyer in the 1989 novel The Fighting Spirit by Charles Giddey (Wheeler)
- HMS Viking and HMS Vectra are two escorts of the 14th Aircraft Carrier Squadron in Alistair MacLean's novel HMS Ulysses.
- HMS Viperous, a fictional V and W class destroyer from The Cruel Sea (1953) by Nicholas Monsarrat)
- HMS Warlock is the name of the leader of a flotilla of fictional V and W class destroyers in novel The Destroyers by Douglas Reeman.
- HMS Wrestler, Invader, Defender and Blue Ranger were Escort carriers of the 14th Aircraft Carrier Squadron in Alistair MacLean's novel HMS Ulysses.
- HMS Sirdar fictional S class destroyer in Alistair MacLean's novels The Guns of Navarone and Force 10 From Navarone.
In WW2 films:
- HMS Torrin (in the 1942 Noël Coward film In Which We Serve; played by destroyer: HMAS Nepal)
- HMS Sea Tiger (Submarine, in 1943 John Mills film We Dive at Dawn; played by Turkish S-class submarines P614 and P615).
- HMS Ballantrae (in the 1951 Trevor Howard film Gift Horse; based on HMS Campbeltown, played by HMS Leamington)
- HMS Stratford, HMS Amesbury, and HMS Cambridge (from 1953 Michael Rennie film Single-Handed or Sailor of the King, (based on the novel Brown on Resolution by C. S. Forester), played by Dido class cruiser: HMS Cleopatra and Town-class cruiser: HMS Glasgow)
- HMS Compass Rose and HMS Saltash Castle (in 1953 Jack Hawkins film The Cruel Sea; played by corvettes: HMS Coreopsis and HMS Portchester Castle. In Nicholas Monsarrat's original book, "HMS Saltash" was a larger River-class frigate)
- HMS Rockhampton (in the 1955 John Wayne film The Sea Chase, played by River-class frigate: HMCS New Glasgow)
- HMS Solent (the only fictional ship in the 1960 Kenneth More film Sink the Bismarck!; played by Battle class destroyer: HMS Hogue)
- HMS Sherwood (in 1957 A. E. Matthews comedy film Carry on Admiral; played by a Daring-class destroyer)
- HMS Troutbridge (from the 1960s The Navy Lark radio comedy; inspired by Type 15 frigate: HMS Troubridge)
- HMS Carousel (from We Saw the Sea by John Winton; based on C-class destroyers in the Dartmouth Training Squadron)
- HMS Seahorse (from Down the Hatch & All the Nice Girls by John Winton; submarine)
- HMS Dorchester (in the 1960 Norman Wisdom film The Bulldog Breed, played by a Type 14 Blackwood-class frigate)
- HMS Hero (from the 1970s BBC drama series Warship played by Leander class frigate: HMS Phoebe among others)
- HMS Beaufort (fictional Type 23 frigate in Mike Lunnon-Wood's novel King's Shilling).
- HMS Bedford, HMS Chester, HMS Devonshire : (fictional Type 23 frigates in 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies)
- HMS Suffolk (from the 2004 ITV drama series Making Waves, played by Type 23 frigate: HMS Grafton and others)
- HMS Monarch is a fictional Type 23 frigate in the Action Stations exhibit at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, England.
- Colledge and Warlow (2006) Page viii.