Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 31 October ……….

1762  Panther and Argo captured the Spanish Santissima Trinidad, with $3 million on board, off Kapul Island, Philippines.

1803  Admiral Mitchell drove ashore two French invasion vessels at Patel (Le Portel).

1808  Circe captured the French Palinure at Cape Solomon, Martinique.

1815  Pembroke Dockyard officially founded by Order in Council. ‘We beg leave to recommend . . . that Your Royal Highness will be graciously pleased to establish, by Your Order in Council, the yard forming at Pater as a Royal dockyard.’

1860  Adm Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, died. Buried in Westminster Abbey. A service is held in the Abbey every year on 21 May, Chiliean Navy Day.

1914  Hermes sunk by U-27 off the Outer Ruytingen Shoal, Dover Strait, while employed as a seaplane carrier.

1914  The German cruiser Konigsberg located in the Rufiji River, East Africa.


The German cruiser Konigsberg sunk in the Rufiji River, 1914. (RNM)

1915  Destroyer Louis wrecked in Suvia Bay.

1921  Sir Oswyn Murray, Secretary of the Admiralty, appointed a member of the Board by Order in Council.

1943  Douglas, Imperialist and Loch Oskaig sank U-732 in Gibraltar Strait (35-45N, 05-52W).

1943  Corvette Geranium and destroyer Whitehall sank U-306 in Atlantic (46-19N, 20-44W). Convoys SL 138/MK 28.

1971  Far East Fleet, established in 1946 disbanded.

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

1708  Adm Leake took Minorca.

1757  Adm Edward Vernon died.

1809  Surveillante took the Spanish Milan 60 miles S.W. of Ushant.

1824  Capture of Martaban by combined forces under Lt-Col Henry Godwin (41st Regiment) and Lt Charles Keele (Arachne). Ships: Arachne, Sophie. Troops: 41st Regiment, Bengal and Madras Artillery, 3rd Madras Native Light Infantry.

1828  Bombardment and capture of Morca Castle, Patras, by combined British and French forces. Ships: Blonde, Aetna, Conquerant, Armide, Didon, Duchesse de Berry. Ships landed guns for the bombardment.

1844  Gorgon refloated, having been aground since 10 May near Montevideo.

1877  Wearing of a half-stripe by officers ranking as a lieutenant with eight years’ seniority extended to all branches.


‘The Purser': a print by Thomas Rowlandson, 1799. (NMM Neg. No.1640)


The Bursar, later Purser, now ‘Pusser’, of a King’s ship has been a member of the crew from the earliest days of the Navy. In 1623, Slops (clothing shops) were established ‘to avoyde nastie beastlyness by continual wearing of one suite of clothes, and therbie boddilie diseases and unwholesome ill smells’. The ‘Slop Room’ still exists today.

In 1683 the Purser was officially paid by making ‘savings’, partial cause of the Spithead Mutiny in 1797. By 1808 he dad become a warrant officer of wardroom rank and by 1843 a commissioned officer. In 1852 he became salaried, and was no longer paid on a percentage basis. On 1 January 1956 the Supply Officer became a General List Officer. He is now an expert on logistics and administration as well as taking a full part in the fighting of his ship.

1899  Powerful’s Naval Brigade at Lombard’s Kop Ladysmith.

1914  Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher of Kilverstone, First Sea Lord 1906, recalled at age 71 by Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, to serve again as First Sea Lord after the resignation two days earlier of Adm HSH Prince Louis of Battenberg.

1917  M 15, M 29, M 31 and, occasionally, M 32 and Raglan, and Ladybird, Aphis, Comet, Staunch and City of Oxford, began bombardment of Gaza coast. Ended 11 November with loss of M 15 and Staunch.

1918  Armistice signed by Turkey on board battleship Agamemnon.

1940  Destroyer Sturdy wrecked in gale on Tiree Island, west Scotland. Convoy SC 8.

1940  First Italian midget S/M attack at Gibraltar.

1940  Harvester and Highlander sank U-32, which had just sunk the Empress of Britain, in N.W. Approaches (55-37N, 12-20W).

1942  Liberator X/10 (RCAF) sank U-520 (47-47N, 49-50W) and Hudson Y/145 (RCAF) sank U-658 in Atlantic (50-32N, 46-32W). Convoy SC 107.

1942  Dulverton, Hero, Hurworth, Pakenham, Petard and Wellesley aircraft of 47 Sqn sank U-559 in E. Mediterranean (32-30N, 33-00E). Codebooks and new Wetterkurz-schlussel recovered but not the M-4 cypher machine. Nevertheless, the material was of immense importance. It arrived at Bletchley Park on 24 November and was significant in the penetration of Triton on 13 December.

GC: Lt Francis Anthony Blair Fasson and AB Colin Grazier (Petard) for attempting to salvage cypher machine from U-559. Both posthumous.

1943  Submarine Ultimatum sank U-431 off Toulon.

1954  X 51 (Stickleback) set new altitude record for a submarine – 279m. (This was reached on a railway track on Shap Summit.)

1967  Resolution, first Polaris submarine, commissioned.


HMS Resolution (1966), the first Polaris ballistic missile submarine. (RNSM)

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

1618  Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh.

1704  Vice-Adm Sir John Leake (Nottingham) surprised and destroyed a French squadron of eight in Gibraltar Bay. Ships: Nottingham, Swallow.

1746  Eagle captured the French privateer Shoreham 90 miles to the westward of the Scilly Isles.

1792  Last of Bounty mutineers executed at Spithead.

1801  Nelson, having been created a viscount after Copenhagen, made his maiden speech in the House of Lords.

1807  Louisa fought a French lugger privateer to the southward of Cork.

1813  Capitulation of the French forces at Trieste. Ships: Eagle, Elizabeth, Milford, Tremendous, Weazle, Wizard. Troops: British 21st Regiment: Austrians, under Maj-Gen Count Nugent. Naval siege batteries were landed.

1856  Capture of a portion of Canton by Rear-Adm Sir Michael Seymour (Coromandel). Ships: Barracouta, Bittern, Calcutta, Comus, Coromandel, Encounter, Nankin, Sampson, Sybille, Winchester. US ships: Levant, Portsmouth. Naval Brigade was landed, with Royal Artillery.


A group of coastguards in the 1890s; originally an armed service, the Coastguard provided a reserve of men for the manning of ships as well as its duties of coast-watching and lifesaving. Many lost their lives in action during the First World War. (RNM)

1916  Picton, Grafton, M 18, M 28, M 32 and, occasionally, Raglan began bombardment of Turkish forts in Macedonia.

1940  First German acoustic mine recovered by Lt S. Baker, RNVR, and Sub-Lt P.A. Cummins, RNVR, in River Ogmore near Porthcawl. Mine stripped and identified 3 November in Vernon.

1943  Duncan, Sunflower and Vidette sank U-282 in N. Atlantic (55-28N, 31-57W). Convoys HX 263 and ON 208.

1984  Norfolk, first of the Type 23 Duke-class frigates, ordered from Yarrow, Glasgow.

1997  Capt Muriel Hocking, RNR, appointed first female RNR commodore. The rank was substantive in the RNR and RNVR from their foundation. It was not so in the RN until 10 January 2002.

Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 28 October ………..

A MemorableDate observed by the Corps of Royal Marines – see below

1664  King Charles II sanctioned the formation of the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, the first regiment to be formed specially for service afloat, and the colour of whose uniform is remembered in the yellow of the Corps’s colours.







The Prince’s Regiment



Two Marine Regiments of Foot



Four Regiments of Marines



Six Regiments of Marines



Four Companies of Invalids of Marines


Six Regiments of Marines             Four Regiments of Marines        Gooch’s Marine

1739-48                                       1740-8                                        1739-43


The Marines



The Royal Marines


The Royal Marines (Light Infantry)                     Marine Artillery Companies

1855-62                                                             1804-62

|                                                                           |

Royal Marines Light Infantry                                       Royal Marine Artillery

1862-1923                                                            1862-1923




The first Marines uniform, 1664. (RNM)

The Birth of the Royal Marine Corps, 1664

‘That twelve hundred land souldjers be forthwith raysed, to be in readiness, to be distributed into his Mats Fleets prepared for Sea Service’. So read the report of the Proceedings of a Meeting of the Privy Council held on 28 October, which authorised the formation of the first regiment specially for service afloat. Styled the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot or Admiral’s Regiment, it was recruited mainly from the Trained Bands of the City of London. It is from this origin that the Royal Marines derive their privilege of marching through the City with colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed.

1799  Gozo surrendered.

1801  Pasley captured the Spanish Virgen del Rosario 60 miles E.S.E. of Cape de Gata.

1832  Cocoa replaced by slab chocolate – ‘Pusser’s Kye’.

1914  Resignation of HSH Prince Louis of Battenberg as First Sea Lord. When asked by the Kaiser why he served in the Royal Navy and not the Imperial German Navy, he had replied that ‘when I joined the Navy the German Navy did not exist’.

1915  Armoured cruiser Argyll wrecked on Bell Rock, east coast of Scotland.

1915  Minesweeper Hythe lost in collision with Sarnia off Cape Helles.

1918  UB-116 sunk in the controlled minefield guarding Hoxa Boom, Scapa Flow.

1918  Submarine G 2 sank U-78 in Skagerrak (56-02N, 05-08E).

1937  First RN all-welded ship, minesweeper Seagull, launched in Devonport Yard, as commercial yards could not do the job.

1937  Seagull launched at Devonport, the first all-welded ship in the RN. Originally a Halycon-class minesweeper, she became a surveying ship 1946-54.

1941  Destroyer Duncan sank the Italian S/M Guglielmo Marconi 250 miles N.E. of the Azores 941-57N, 21-56W).

1943  Adjutant-General Royal Marines became General Officer Commanding Royal Marines, by Order in Council.

1944  Two chariots from submarine Trenchant sank one merchant ship and damaged another in Phuket harbour, Siam.

1958  First flight of Westland Wasp helicopter.

1982  Admiral President of RN College, Greenwich, struck his flag, his now ceremonial appointment assumed by Second Sea Lord.

1996  Royal Marines granted the Freedom of Gibraltar. Maj-Gen Simon Pack, CBF Gibraltar, received the Freedom Scroll from the Mayor, the Hon. Judge J.E. Alcantara in Grand Parade. Members of 40 Cdo then marched along Main Street with swords drawn and bayonets fixed.

1996  RM School of Music operational in Nelson after leaving Deal on 22 March 1996.


The Royal Marines granted the Freedom of Gibraltar, 1996. (RMM)

Royal Navy …………. On This Day ………… 27 October ……….

1651  ‘General at Sea’ Blake defeated the Royalist fleet under Prince Rupert.

1728  Capt James Cook born at Marton-in-Cleveland, North Riding, Yorkshire.

1758  Adm the Hon. Edward Boscawen (Namur) fought five French ships under Capt Comte du Chaffault (Dragon) in the Soundings. Ships: Bienfaisant, Namur, Royal William, Somerset. Frigates: Boreas, Echo, Trent.

1800  Boats of Phaeton cut out the Spanish San Jose at Fuengirola, near Malaga.

1810  Orestes captured the French privateer Loup Garou 120 miles W. of Ushant.

1890  Capture of Witu. East Africa by Naval Brigade from Boadicea, Brisk, Conquest, Cossack, Humber, Kingfisher, Pigeon, Redbreast and Turquoise. Troops: detachment of East African Protectorate Forces and Zanzibar Government Army. A punitive expedition under Rear-Adm Fremantle against the Sultan. Clasp ‘Witu’ to East and West African medals.

1914  Audacious sunk by mine 18 miles N. 3DEG E. of Tory Island, north-west of Ireland. Their Lordships sought to keep her name in the Navy List throughout the war in an effort to conceal her loss, but too many passengers in Olympic witnessed the event.


HMS Audacious sinking off Tory Island, 1914. The crew are abandoning ship in lifeboats from the passenger liner Olympic. (NMM Neg. No. P39692)

1916  Flirt torpedoed by German destroyers off Dover, and Nubian off Folkestone. (Zubian created from salvaged halves of Nubian and Zulu.)

1927  Wild Swan repulsed Chinese attack on mission hospital at Swatow, China.

1940  Eight Swordfish aircraft of 813 and 824 Sqn (Eagle) bombed Matezana airfield, Stampalia.

1941  Destroyer Cossack sank while in tow after being torpedoed off Cape St Vincent on the 23rd. Convoy HG 75.

1942  Fortress F/206 sank U-627 on her maiden voyage in N. Atlantic (59-14N, 22-49W).

1944  Firefly aircraft of 1771 Sqn (Implacable), Halifax D/502, T/502, and Liberators H/311, Y/311 (Czech) sank U-1060 off Norwegian Coast (65-24N, 12-00E).

1946  Hulk of the Japanese heavy cruiser Takao, torpedoed and damaged by USS Darter at Leyte Gulf 23 October 1944 and finally crippled by the RN X-craft attack in Johore Strait 31 July 1945, towed from Singapore and scuttled in Malacca Strait.

1994  Adm Sir John Hamilton, last C-in-C Mediterranean, died. Flag hauled down 5 June 1967.

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Royal Navy ………… On This Day ………… 26 October ……….

1781  Hannibal captured the French Neckar off the Cape of Good Hope.

1854  VC: A/Mate William Nathan Wrighte Hewett (Beagle), for heroic action when manning a gun before Sevastopol.

1858  Pearl’s Naval Brigade at the unsuccessful action at Jagdispur.

1874  Queen Victoria approved the form of religious service to be used at the launching of HM ships.

1916  German destroyer raid in Dover Strait (night of 26/27th). Ships: Viking, Amazon, Nubian,* Tartar, Mohawk, Cossack, + Kangaroo, Gipsy, P 21, Swift, Laforey, Liberty, Lucifer, Laurel, Syren, Racehorse, Falcon, Myrmidon, Lawford, Lance, Lochinvar, Lark, Flirt, ~ P 34, P 23; Zulu, TB 15, Also: Ombra, Dragon, H.E. Stroud, Drifters: Eskburn, South Tyne, East Holme, Girl Norah, Pleasants, Roburn,^ Paradox, Spotless Prince,^ Waveney,^ Gleanor of the Sea,^ Datum,^ Young Crow, E.B.C., Ajax II,^ Launch Out,^ Mishe Nahma, I.E.S., Devon County, Girl Annie, E.H.S., New Spray, Broadland, Roulette. *Torpedoed on 27th. +Not engaged. ^Sunk on 26th. ~Sunk on 27th.

1943  Liberator A/10 (RCAF) sank U-420 in N. Atlantic (45-10N, 41-01W). Convoy ON 207.

1944  Corvette Rose (Nor) sunk in collision with Manners 500 miles E. of Cape Race (45-10N, 39-40W). Convoy ON 260.

1944  Implacable (Adm Sir Henry Moore), Mauritius and six destroyers of 26th  DF successfully attacked shipping between Bodo and Rorvik (and on 27th and 28th). Operation Athletic. FAA Squns: Barracuda: 828, 841: Firefly: 1771: Seafire: 887, 894.


HMS Implacable, 1942. (RNM)

1944  Accountant Branch retitled Supply and Secretariat Branch and prefix ‘Paymaster’ abolished, somewhat to the vexation of the Submarine Branch of the Service, who relinquished ‘S’ for S/M.

1991  Adm Sir Arthur Francis ‘Attie’ Turner died. First officer of a non-executive branch to become a full admiral.

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