Military Wiki

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.[1]

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:


By types of ship

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

In novels:

  • 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)
  • Clam and Moth (Bomb ketches) (from Commodore 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)
  • Lydia (from The Happy Return 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)
  • Sophie (from Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. Based on the actual HM Sloop Speedy)
  • Surprise (from novel by Patrick O'Brian. Fictional ship based on the actual frigate HMS Surprise)
  • 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).

In films and television:

Fictional metal RN ships

In WW2 novels:

In WW2 films:


See also


  1. Colledge and Warlow (2006) Page viii.


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