Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 2 October ……….

1699  Half-pay limited by Order in Council to 9 flag officers, 51 captains, 100 lieutenants and 30 masters.

1758  Lizard captured the French Due d’Hanovre off Brest. Heroine was engaged but escaped.

1779  Apollo captured the French Mutin, Jupiter and Crescent captured the French Pilote 3 miles S. by W. of Lizard Head.

1786  Adm Viscount Keppel died.

1804  Abortive attack with Fulton’s fireships off Boulogne by Keith, which Gambier considered ‘a horrible and anti-Christian mode of warfare’.

1805  Egyptienne captured the French Acteon off La Rochelle.

1836  Beagle arrived Falmouth having sailed from Devonport 27 December 1831.

1840  Boats of Edinburgh and Hastings destroyed an ammunition store at Beirut.

1866  Wood screw gunvessel Griffon stranded and lost after night-time collision with sister ship Pandora off Little Popo, Bight of Benin, due to failure of night signalling system.

1900  Grant’s guns handed over to the RGA and the Naval Brigade left Simonstown. Bearcroft embarked on the 12th.

1901  RN’s first submarine boat, a yard shorter than a cricket pitch and designed by the Irish-American J.P. Holland, launched at Barrow-in-Furness, and without a name or number until usage alone called her HM Submarine Torpedo Boat No. 1, and then simply Holland 1. Now preserved at the RN Submarine Museum.

Holland1 1901

The Launch of Holland 1 in 1901. (RNM)

1905  Dreadnought, Britain’s first all-big-gun battleship, laid down at Portsmouth Dockyard.

1917  Armoured cruiser Drake torpedoed by U-79 in the North Channel. San later in Church Bay, Rathlin Island, and later still rummaged by those seeking explosives. What she had were in remarkably good condition but were officially disposed of.

1918  Begonia (Q-10) sunk in collision with U-141 off Casablanca.

1918  Bombardment of Durazzo. Ships: Dartmouth, Glasgow, Gloucester, Lowestoft (SO), Weymouth. Destroyers: Acheron, Acorn, Badger, Cameleon, Fury, Goshawk, Jackal, Lapwing, Nereide, Nymphe, Ruby, Shark, Swan (RAN), Tigress, Tribune (D 5), Warrego (RAN).

1925  Naval officers attached to RAF for FAA service to wear a badge consisting of a foul anchor superimposed upon the wings of an albatross.

1934  Royal Indian Marine became Royal Indian Navy. (Bombay Marine 1863-77.)

1940  Destroyers Hasty and Havock sank the Italian S/M Berillo off Egypt.

1940  Light cruisers Orion and Sydney (RAN) bombarded Maltezana area, Stampalia.

1941  Vanguard, Britain’s last battleship, laid down at John Browns on the Clyde.

1942  Light cruiser Curacoa sunk in collision with RMS Queen Mary in N.W. Approaches (55-50N, 08-38W). The official inquiry in June 1945 attributed all blame to Curacoa which was alleged to have been in pursuit of U-407. The Court of Appeal and the House of Lords upheld an Adiralty appeal, despite unequivocal orders to the Master of the Queen Mary that he was not to stop for anything, and attributed one-third blame to the liner. Three hundred and thirty-eight lives lost.


‘Midshipman’ by Thomas Rowlandson, 1799. (RNM 1956/4)

How To Master Copywriting | Co.Design | business + design

How To Master Copywriting | Co.Design | business + design.

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From Google Ventures: 5 Rules For Writing Great Interface Copy | Co.Design | business + design.

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BBC News – Campaigning for coding @BBCTe.

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BBC News – Does English still borrow words from other languages?.

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BBC News – Learn English online: How the internet is changing language.

Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 1st October ……….

1748  Rear-Adm Charles Knowles (Cornwall) fought Vice-Adm Don Andres Reggio (Africa) 12 miles N.E. of Havana. Ships: Tilbury, Strafford, Cornwall, Lenox, Warwick, Canterbury, Oxford.

Knowles failed to benefit from intelligence brought by Holmes, and engaged with only four of his squadron. Hence he was severely handled, and although he took Conquistador, and Africa was burned by her own people, he was tried and reprimanded.

1807  Windsor Castle packet captured the French privateer Jeune Richard 100 miles N.E. by E. of Barbados.

1841  Second capture of Tinghai, the principal town of Chusan in the First Opium War with China, by Rear-Adm Sir William Parker (Wellesley) and Lt-Gen Sir Hugh Gough. Ships: Wellesley, Blenheim, Blonde, Modeste, Cruizer, Columbine, Bentinck, Sesostris (IN), Phlegethon, Nemesis, Queen (Ben. Marine): Jupiter and Rattlesnake troopships. Troops: Royal Artillery, 18th, 49th and 55th Regiments, Madras Artillery, Madras Sappers and Miners, 36th Madras Native Infantry (rifle company). Seamen and marines were landed.

1849  Columbine and Fury, with a party from Hastings, destroyed twenty-six junks and the pirate stronghold in Tai Pang harbour, Bias Bay.

1858  Pearl’s Naval Brigade at Amorha (fourth action), with detachments of 13th Light Infantry, 6th Madras Light Cavalry, 27th Madras Native Infantry and Sikh Police Force.

1860  Metropolitan Police from the 2nd Division took over security duties at Portsmouth Dockyard. Establishment: 1 superintendent, 5 inspectors, 26 sergeants and 141 PCs.

1869  Closure of the Steam Yard at Woolwich which had taken over from that at Deptford in 1827.


One of the eight dress styles for officers in the 1891 uniform regulations. They ranged from No. 1 ‘Full Dress’ for the most formal occasions to No. 8 ‘White Undress’ for hot climates. (RNM Lib.)

1900  Electrical Department of dockyards instituted.

1907  Ranks of First and Second Class Petty Officer abolished, the latter becoming Leading Seamen.

1912  The Naval Society formed ‘to promote the advancement and spreading within the Service of knowledge relevant to the higher aspects of the naval profession’. The Society’s quarterly, The Naval Review, remains the authoratative medium of debate on professional matters within the Royal Navy. (

1917  First flight from platform on gun turret: Sqn Cdr Rutland in a Sopwith Pum from 8 turret, battlecruiser Repulse.

1918  Allied net barrage established across Otranto Strait.

1919  WRNS disbanded.

1920  Greenfly, river gunboat, captured by insurgents in Mesopotamia.

1920  First fortnightly payment.

1923  Vernon established ashore, on the old Gunwharf at Portsmouth.


The torpedo school HMS Vernon before being moved ashore in 1923. The ships are the Marlborough (1855), the Warrior (1860) and the Donegal (1858). (RNM)

1931  Boy Servants became Boy Stewards.

1931  All pay to have been reduced to 1925 scales on recommendation of May Committee.

1941  The titles Royal New Zealand Navy and the designation His Majesty’s New Zealand Ships granted to the New Zealand Naval Forces by King George VI. The Royal New Zealand Navy Order 1941 (Order in Council) was signed by the Governor General at Government House, Wellington, 1 October 1941; but AFO 4110/41 dated 25 September 1941 appears to have pre-empted this.

1943  1770 Squadron FAA formed at RNAS Yeovilton with first Fairey Firefly aircraft.

1946  Reconstitution of RNVR.

1946  Demetrius, Supply and Secretariat School at Wetherby, renamed Ceres.

1954  Official naval battle honours for ships and FAA squadrons promulgated in Admiralty Fleet Order 2565/54. The earliest action recognised is Armada 1588.

‘The award of Battle Honours to Her Majesty’s ships is intended to foster esprit de corps among their officers and ships’ companies, who are thereby encouraged to take a personal interest in the war-time exploits not only of their present ship but also of those of the same name which distinguished themselves in the past . . . .

A battle honour will be awarded for those actions which resulted in the defeat of the enemy, or when the action was inconclusive but well fought and in exceptional cases where outstanding efforts were made against overwhelming odds. A Battle Honour will not be awarded for a British defeat, or when the action was inconclusive and badly fought.’

1954  Fair ledger replaced by S.50 ledger sheet, and the rough (S41a) became the working ledger.

1958  Ship Department formed by merger of DNC, E-in-C and DEE departments.

1966  Royal Marines Forces Volunteer Reserve (RMFVR) became Royal Marines Reserve (RMR).

1967  The last C-in-C Home Fleet, Adm Sir John Frewen, hauled down his flag at Warrior, Northwood, and was succeeded by the first C-in-C Western Fleet, Adm Sir John Bush, who also assumed the NATO appointments of Allied C-in-C Channel and C-in-C Eastern Atlantic.

1971  Announcement of PWO Doctrine and formation of the Warfare Branch.

1976  Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service (RMAS) amalgamated with Port Auxiliary Service (PAS). DCI(RN) 448/76.

1984  Portsmouth Royal Dockyard relegated to Fleet Operational and Maintenance Base.

1988  Hard-lying money replaced by long service at sea bonus.

1992  Civil war in former Yugoslavia. RFA Resource, Sir Bedivere and Argus sailed to Adriatic to support British element of UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR), later UN Implementation Force (IFOR) ashore in former Yugoslavia. RN presence considerably increased in 1993 with one anti-submarine carrier, two destroyers/frigates, one submarine (conventional or nuclear) as required, and RFA support ships. Force levels varied with the development of operations ashore. RN forces remained in Adriatic supporting successively Operations Grapple, Hamden, Joint Endeavour, Diligen Force until 1996. British destroyers and frigates also served in the NATO Standing Naval Forces Atlantic and Mediterranean deployed in the Adriatic to monitor and enforce the UN embargo on trade with the former Yugoslavia. SNFL released 15 May 1996, SNFM released 19 June 1996 when Operation Sharp Guard ended.

2000  Comacchio Group RM remustered as Fleet Protection Group RM.

Time to spare? @UKbusinessRT | St. Flori

Time to spare? @UKbusinessRT | St. Florian Monastery Library in Austria |

Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 30 September ……….

1780  Pearl captured the French Espérance 120 miles S.W. by W. of Bermuda.

1822  Eliza captured the slaver Firme Union off Cuba.

1858  Pearl’s Naval Brigade at Mau, with detachments of the 13th Light Infantry, Bengal Yeomanry, 6th Madras Light Cavalry, 27th Madras Native Infantry, and Sikh Police Force.

1863  Britannia, towed by Geyser and Prospero from Portland, entered River Dart and moored in Mill Creek. For employment as cadets’ training ship. Joined by Hindustan in 1864.

1890  Abolition of the blue shirt, with its attached collor, which made a blue jacket synonymous with a British seaman.

1900  Pigmy, composite screw gunboat, received the surrender of six Chinese forts at Shanhaikwan, northern China.

1903  RN Barracks, Portsmouth, first occupied. Four thousand officers and men left the hulks in Portsmouth Dockyard and marched to the new barracks in Edinburgh Road.

1909  Launch of tenth Neptune at Portsmouth. First HM ship with superimposed turret and first Dreadnought able to fire all main armament in broadside.

1913  Aurora, ninth of the name, the first oil-fired light cruiser laid down at Devonport. Commissioned in RCN, 1 November 1920.

1918  Minesweeper Seagull, ex-torpedo gunboat, sunk in collision in Firth of Clyde.

1931  The first destroyers built in a Royal Dockyard, Comet and Crusader, floated out of No. 13 Dock at Portsmouth, together with the mining tender Nightingale. All three vessels had been laid down on 12 September 1930.

1940  Monitor Erebus, with destroyers Garth and Vesper, bombarded Calai. Operation M.W.

1940  Destroyer Stuart (RAN) and Sunderland L2166 (230 Sqn) sank the Italian S/M Gondar off Alexandria (31-33N, 28-33E), preparing for a chariot raid.

1941  Gurkha and Legion sank the Italian S/M Adua off Alicante (37-10N, 00-56E).

1942  Unsuccessful coastal force action off Terschelling. Four MTBs and an MGB lost. German SS Thule sunk.

1944  Swordfish F/813 (Campania) sank U-921 in Arctic (72-32N, 12-55E). Convoy RA 60.

1944  Terrible, only British carrier built in a Royal Dockyard, launched at Devonport. Commissioned 16 December 1948 at Devonport as HMAS Sydney.


HMS Terrible, ready fo launching at Devonport in 1944 (FAAM)

1950  RM barracks at Chatham closed.

1970  Warrant rank reintroduced with establishment of Fleet Chief Petty Officer. To be addressed as ‘Sir’ by juniors and as ‘Mr’ by commisioned officers.

1983  ‘From FO Medway to AIG 1312. WDI/WAT 290900Z SEP 83: The flags of Flag Officer Medway and Port Admiral Chatham will be struck, finally, at sunset Fri 30 Sep 83.’

‘From CINCFLEET to FO MEDWAY. WDI/WAT 300800Z SEP 83: Personal from CINC. Farewell to a fine Command that has served loyally in the highest traditions of the Service for the last 450 years. The Fleet will miss you.’

Rear-Adm Bill Higgins was the tenth and last FO Medway since the post was created in 1961 on the demise of the old Nore Command.

1985  Salisbury, Type 61 aircraft direction frigate, sunk as target W. of Ireland. Last RN ship to carry Squid A/S mortars.

1990  Frigate Jupiter, with USS Taylor, boarded an apparent blockade runner in Persian Gulf. First of thirty-three boardings and 3,151 challenges in Operation Granby.

1998  Ocean, Capt Robert Turner RN, commissioned.

1998  Dolphin, submarine base at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, since 1905, paid off.

HMS Dolphin

Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 29 September ……….

1653  Commission for sick and wounded formed.

1690  Capture of Cork by the Joint Admirals, Sir Richard Haddock, Henry Killigrew and Sir John Ashby (Kent) and the Duke of Marlborough. Ships: Grafton, Kent, Sovereign, Breda, Charles Galley. The Duke of Grafton, commanding his eponymous ship, killed in action ashore.

1758  Horatio Nelson born.


Born the son of a Norfolk rector in 1758. Nelson joined the Navy in his twelth year and was posted captain in his twenty-first. He is still regarded by most as Britain’s greatest naval hero. His career at sea distinguished by bold decisions, usually taking offensive action against the enemy and often exposing his ship to heavy enemy fire. He lost the sight of an eye at Corsica and an arm at Tenerife. With Jervis’s fleet at the battle of Cape St Vincentin 1797. It was his audacious manoeuvre against the Spanish line that led to their defeat. Against the French at the battle of the Nile in 1798, his fleet was numerically inferior yet he all but annihilated the enemy squadron. During the attack on the anchored Danish Fleet at Copenhagen, again sailing through dangerous waters, he pounded the enemy into submission. On that occasion when signalled to withdraw, it is said that he raised his telescope to his blind eye with the remark, ‘I really not see the signal.’ He inspired his men and taught his captains well. It was at Trafalgar in 1805, however, when he made his famous signal, ‘England expects that every man will do his duty’, that he sealed his fame. In a brilliant tactical victory he won the battle but lost his life, struck down by a bullet from a sharpshooter in the rigging of the French Redoubtable.

 He typified all that was best in the sea officers of the period, being a great fighting man, much loved by his officers and men. He had a grasp of tactics and strategy which was exceptional even by the standards of his day.


Portrait of Nelson by Charles Lucy. Painted forty-eight years after his death, but attested by survivors who served with him as ‘highly characteristic and true’. (RNM)

1795  Southampton fought the French Vestale off Genoa.

1795  Vanguard captured the French Superbe 50 miles to the eastward of Desirade, Leeward Islands.

1803  Leda destroyed two gunboats of the Boulogne invasion flotilla off Boulogne.

1805  Nelson rejoined the Fleet off Cadiz; his 47th birthday

1808  Marla taken by the French Departement des Landes to the north-east of Antigues Point, Grand-Terre.

1812  British and Russian gunboats occupied Mitau, Riga, and  captured enemy personnel. Crews provided from Aboukir and Ranger.

1849  Boats of Columbine destroyed a pirate junk in Hong Hai Bay.

1917  Sylvia and Tirade sank UC-55 off Shetland.

1918  Destroyers Ouse and Star san UB-115 off Newbiggin Point, Northumberland. The last U-boat to leave Zeebrugge to attack shipping.

1939  Light cruiser Calypso intercepted the German Minden which was scuttled 330 miles N.W. of Cape Wrath.

1939  Caledonia (ex-Majestic), training ship, destroyed by fire at Rosyth.

1941  PQ 1 sailed first convoy to USSR.

1942  Destroyer Nizam (RAN) and SAAF aircraft intercepted the Vichy Admiral Pierre off Lourenco Marques, where she was scuttled next day (26-04S, 34-54E).

1972  Fulmar (RNAS Lossiemouth, transferred from RAF and commissioned 2 July 1946) paid off and returned to RAF.

2000  RFA Wave Knight, first of class of double-hulled fast fleet tankers, launched by Lady Guthrie, wife of Gen Sir Charles Guthrie, CDS, at BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness.


RFA Wave Knight, last fleet tanker, launched at BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness, by Lady Guthrie, 2000. (RN)

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