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Royal Navy post-World War 2


CHRONOLOGY, Part 2 - 1951-60

by Geoffrey B Mason, Lieutenant Commander, RN (Rtd) (c) 2007

HM Submarine Affray, lost 17 April 1951 (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) on to Part 3 - 1961-70
or return to Lt-Cdr Mason's researches

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)




1 9 5 1





RN Minewatching Service formed


PINCHER Report on Courts Martial presented to Parliament. 52 of 61 recommendations on Summary Punishment accepted.


RN Patrol Service Regulations altered.


Rank of Skipper replaced by Sub-Lieutenant.


Reserve and Auxiliary Forces Bill had second Reading in Parliament.


Protection provided for Recalled man and Reservists.


Investigations into living conditions during service in tropics began at Singapore.


Survival equipment research programme initiated.


Rank of Commodore introduced in RFA Service.


Generic title of Flotilla for destroyers and frigates replaced by Squadron.


Potential threat from Soviet submarines recognised.


NATO Standards for equipment to be introduced including use of alternating current (AC) as basic electrical power supply in ships.


Total Manpower strength increased to 152,000.


Requirement for Royal Corps of Naval Constructors (RCNC) Department in Admiralty and Royal Dockyards 125 below complement.


RNVR ceiling raised to 11,000.


RNVR Divisions given ship's names.


New pay code introduced.




600 Emergency List and RNVR officers recalled by 1st April for 18 months service.


Extension of service for existing Engagements anticipated as being for 18 months.


Ratings re-engagement bounty of £100 introduced.


Pension increases announced.


6,000 RFR ratings recalled by 1st April for 18 months service.


44 percent of manpower serving at sea.


2,500 National Serviceman joined.




Two ships being built for China seized and entered as Royal Fleet Auxiliaries.


HMS CAMPANIA began Festival of Britain cruise.


HM Frigate RELENTLESS, first anti-submarine frigate conversion commissioned.


HM Survey Ship VIDAL launched at Chatham. Design included helicopter operating facility.


First gas turbine-powered operational ships – HM Fast Patrol Boats BOLD PATHFINDER and BOLD PIONEER


HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE completed.


HM Destroyer DARING began contractors seas trials.


Build of new Royal Yacht announced and to be named BRITANNIA.


HM Destroyer GRENVILLE involved in collision with Italian mercantile ALCEO, with 3 killed and 4 missing.


HM Battleships DUKE OF YORK and KING GEORGE V (pictured - Maritime Quest) laid-up in reserve in Gareloch.


HM Battleship HOWE at Devonport as Senior Officer, Reserve Fleet.




Investigation into use of nuclear propulsion began.


Submarine and diving research programme in hand.


HM Submarine AFFRAY lost in English Channel without survivors after failure of Schnorkel mast structure. Extensive search and subsequent salvage operation carried out which included use of underwater television.


New escape hatch fitted in other "A" Class submarines.


Naval Aviation


Royal Naval Air Station commissioned at Singapore as HMS SEMBAWANG.


Helicopter trial landings made in RFA FORT DUSQUESNE.


Future use of helicopters in the anti-submarine role recognised.


New anti-submarine squadron formed.


RNVR air squadrons re-equipped with SEA FURY and FIREFLY Mark VI aircraft


Home Station


Closure of RN Supply School HMS CERES at Wetherby projected.


Major Home Fleet Exercise carried out in October.


HMS EAGLE commenced sea trials.


Modernisation of HM Cruisers BIRMINGHAM and NEWCASTLE completed.


HM Cruiser NEWFOUNDLAND modernisation in hand.


HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier TRIUMPH, HM Fast Minelayers MANXMAN and APOLLO brought

forward from Reserve for service.


Mirrlees diesel engine problems in coastal minesweepers recognised.


HM Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE replaced HM Battleship VANGUARD as Home Fleet Flagship.


Foreign Stations


RN deployments with UN in Korea continued.


Yangtse river steamer converted for use as HQ ship at Sasebo, Japan. Commissioned as HMS LADYBIRD.


RN support for military operations during Malayan Emergency continued.


Yangtse River patrol discontinued.


Completion of closure of HM Dockyard Bermuda.


HM Frigate BIGBURY BAY, HM Sloop SPARROW and HM Fast Minelayer MANXMAN assisted in relief work after Hurricane in Jamaica.


British Vice Admiral serving with UN Task Force off Korea on promotion from Rear Admiral agreed to remain under overall command of US Navy Rear Admiral.


Explosion in RFA BEDENHAM at Gibraltar on 24 April, 13 killed, but not members of the crew.


RN deployments made to Abadan after Iranian threat to nationalise oil industry


HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS and HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier TRIUMPH refitted for transport  of troops to Cyprus and the Canal Zone in Egypt.





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Reserve Fleet ships to be dispersed as a precaution from a Nuclear attack and transferred to Cardiff, Penarth, West Hartlepool, Barrow, Greenock and Lisahally, Ulster.


Manpower strength 147,000


Start Service Commission offered to some aircrew ratings on Regular Engagements


Atomic tests at Montebello, Australia included the vaporisation of HM Frigate PLYM.




National Service entry 10,000.


MONTAGUE Committee set up to examine methods of entry into Dartmouth.




8,500 'Time Expired‘ personnel still serving.


Provision of canned beer at Sea under investigation.


Boy Entries to Seamen and Communications Branches to be accepted between 16Yrs 6 months and 17Yrs 6 months as in other Branches.




HMS VICTORIOUS refit being delayed due to shortages of skilled labour in Royal Dockyards.


Build of TIGER Class cruisers still suspended.


HM Fast Minelayer APOLLO (right - Navy Photos/Mark Teadham) visited Ferrol, Spain for first official RN visit since Civil War.


HM Frigate HELMSDALE used for trials to examine propeller cavitation.


Low rate of fuel transfer by RN tankers publicised in USA press.


First Type 14 Anti-Submarine Frigate laid down.


Two EX US Navy destroyers lent by Britain to Soviet Navy during WW2 returned to UK.


HM Cruiser ROYALIST modernisation began.


Total number of Destroyer/Frigate conversions reduced from 85 to 33


Some newly constructed Inshore and Coastal 'minesweepers to put directly into Reserve after Acceptance Trials. Increased research facilities for constructional investigations to be provided at  CRE, Dunfermline.


New design Anti Submarine Mortar System (LIMBO) to be fitted in Destroyer/Frigate conversions.


HM aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE to be scrapped.


HM Cruiser SWIFTSURE escorted M/S PATRICIA, serving as Royal Yacht, to Helsinki for the Olympic Games being held in Helsinki.




Trials of new Immersion Suit to be carried out.


100 Foot Escape Tower to be built at Gosport in HMS DOLPHIN for 'Free Escape‘ training.


Naval Aviation


Steam Catapult trials completed and demonstration to be given by HMS PERSEUS in USA.


First trials of Prototype Mirror Deck Landing Sight carried out in HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.


Helicopter used for Search and Rescue in two Carriers.


Aircraft fitted with SKYRAIDER Early Warning radar to be obtained from USA


Delays in completion of HMS VICTORIOUS compounded by need to fit Angled Flight Deck and Steam Catapult.


Commercial SYCAMORE Helicopter trials carried out in HMS TRIUMPH.


Training Establishment HMS ARIEL at Warrlngton, Lanes closed and all Electrical Training transferred to Worthy Down, Winchester name HMS ARIEL retained.


HMS LANDRAIL RN Air Station at Macrihanish, Argyll, Scotland closed.


Royal Flypast carried out at Lee on Solent.


Home Station


Minesweeping training exercise BANDEAU II carried out in Forth estuary supervised by Flag Officer Scotland. Summer NATO and Home Fleet exercises including Operation CASTANETS for Trade Protection and Mine Counter measures. Exercise VIKING held in Oslo Fjord after Home Fleet visits to Norway with attacks by Norwegian Fast Patrol Boats carried out after Home Fleet visits to Norwegian ports.


Autumn NATO Exercise MAINBRACE


Heavy casualties on board HM Motor Launch 2582 when hit by crashing Dutch jet aircraft off Den Helder


HM Minesweeper WAVE ran aground off St Ives, Cornwall and some of crew rescued by Breeches Buoy.


Foreign Stations


Spring Combined Home and Mediterranean Fleets Exercise GRAND SLAM.


NATO Mediterranean Summer Cruise Exercise BEEHIVE II


Commonwealth WW2 War Memorial opened in Athens.  Attended by CinC Mediterranean in HM Despatch Vessel SURPRISE.


Egypt abrogated 1936 Treaty with Great Britain. Naval parties used to ensure flow of Suez Canal shipping. Passage of 2,600 mercantiles assisted.


Naval deployments in Korea continued.


Malayan Emergency naval support continued


Mercantile ss GOTHIC converted for use during tour of Australia by Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.


Argentine interference with British activities in Antarctica continued.


West Indies Station ships to be provided by Home Fleet for periods of one year on Station


HM Sloop ALACRITY put boarding party on British mercantile ss ATHELDUKE to assist Master after crew unrest.






1 9 5 3





Increase of finding by Treasury for Married Quarters.


Manpower strength 151,000.


4,000 National Servicemen joined.


Manning redundancies enforced except in Far East.


Greenwich Observatory moved to Herstmonceaux, Sussex.


Russian naval strength reported to Parliament.


1,000 officers and 16,000 rating retained because of Korean War. RFA recalls were 600 and 8,000


Local Overseas Allowance and Married Unaccompanied payments introduced for man serving overseas.




Officers on Pre 1946 Pensions still receiving 1919 Scale payments.


Despite Montague Report recommendation that Dartmouth entry should return to age 13 entry to Dartmouth. Admiralty decided all Cadets to Join at 18 with first entry in May 1955.




Payment of Re-engagement Bounty to continue.


Increase in number of 12 year Engagements noted but manpower diminishing.


Additional funds for building married quarters at Portsmouth voted by Parliament. Work to be started at Portsmouth, Chatham and Plymouth.





(For some of the possible background to these incidents - see "Some Aspects of Officer/Rating Relationships in the Royal Navy 1941-1972")

Trials of new design gun mountings for TIGER Class cruisers carried out in HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND (right - old County-class heavy cruiser employed as Trials Cruiser, Navy Photos).


HMS INDOMITABLE paid-off because of fire damage and to provide crews for HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS CENTAUR.


HMS TRIUMPH replaced HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE as Cadet Training Ship.


Completion of HMS VICTORIOUS forecast for 1957.


HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE commissioned.




Marker Buoy trials carried out by HM Submarine ANDREW.


HMS ANDREW made submerged crossing of Atlantic Ocean.


Test launches of torpedo using HTP fuel carried cut (Exercise FANCY).


Naval Aviation


Name changed back to Fleet Air Arm.


First fit of British Angled Flight Deck in US Navy aircraft carrier.


USS ANTIETAM gave demonstration off Spithead using new facilities including operation of SEA HAWK aircraft.


Trials of two sets of Mirror Landing Sight carried out.


HMS VENGEANCE loaned to RAN pending completion of HMAS MELBOURNE.


Helicopter trials carried out in RFA FORT DUSQUESNE.


Home Station


HMS DILIGENCE commissioned at Hythe, Hampshire specifically for acceptance of Inshore and Coastal  Minesweepers.


Coronation Review by HM Queen Elizabeth II at Spithead. HM Despatch Vessel SURPRISE used as Royal Yacht.


50th Anniversary of use of HMS VICTORY as name for RN Barracks at Portsmouth


WRNS Depot at Burghfield commissioned as HMS DAUNTLESS.


Dartmouth RN College became BRITANNIA RNC instead of HMS BRITANNIA following use for the name for the Royal Yacht.


Boiler Room explosion in HM Destroyer DUCHESS with 1 fatality and 3 injured.


Naval parties gave assistance after flooding of east coast areas in UK.


HM Submarine SIRDAR and HM Frigate BERKELEY CASTLE damaged in HM Dockyard, Sheerness during adverse weather conditions.


HM Cruiser SWIFTSURE and HM Destroyer DIAMOND involved in collision off Iceland. Both ships sustained serious damaged.


Fire on board RN Fast Patrol Boats at Aarhus, Denmark during visit.


Foreign Stations


Several casualties caused by serious fire on board HMS INDOMITABLE.  Two George Medals awarded.


HM Depot Ship TYNE deployed at Sasebo, Japan in place of HMS LADYBIRD for support of RN ships serving  with UN in Korea. HM Depot ship RANPURA replaced HMS TYNE in Malta.


Anglo-Egyptian tension reduced and only Guardship deployed at Port Said.


RN warships took part in major international SEATO exercises (JET) in Indian Ocean


CinC Mediterranean visited Massawa, Eritrea.


Malayan Emergency naval support still required and helicopters used for first time.


HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD attended Brazilian Navy Review.


Forty cases of interference during passage of British flagged ships reported in Far East.


HMS ST BRIDES BAY prevented seizure of mercantile ss NIGELOCK in Straits of Formosa.  HM ML1323 fired on by Chinese in Pearl River with 3 fatalities.


Korean War armistice signed and RN ships resumed to Fleet duties.


RN assistance provided after earthquake in Greek Islands and Cyprus.


Local political unrest in British Guiana.  Troops embarked in HMS SUPERB and HMS BIGBURY BAY in Jamaica and in HMS SHEFFIELD at Plymouth to prove aid to civil power.


Mercantile ss GOTHIC embarked Royal Party in Jamaica for Commonwealth tour.


No Guardship deployed at Trieste after Italian/Yugoslav crisis.


During visit to Taranto crews of HM Destroyers ROEBUCK and WRANGLER attacked by hostile crowds


HM Sloop FLAMINGO recovered Arab Dhow stolen by pirates in Indian Ocean.






1 9 5 4





General Service Commissions for ships introduced and to last 18 months instead of 30 months of foreign service. Aircraft Carrier commissions to be 2 year and foreign service for all other ships restricted to 18 months.


Shore foreign service to remain as 30 months with free family passages


Pay increases announced.


Married quarters building started in Home Ports.


New Queens Regulations and Admiralty Instructions published.


National Service intake increased to 6,500.


Modernisation of ship and shore accommodation announced.


Comparison of costs of Commercial and Royal Dockyard refits raised in Parliament.


Official List of Battle Honours promulgated In Admiralty Fleet Order.




Midshipmen no longer to serve at sea.


Lack of sea time available is evident for Seamen Branch officers.


Shortage of Seamen Branch List Officers.


Premature retirement to be permitted at 'own request'.




Increased concern evident about lack of Re-engagement and a deterioration in recruiting generally.


Complaints made in Press included Food, Discipline, Uniform, Hot Water rationing in ships and effects of family separation.


Discharge by Purchase regulations introduced. 70 applications out of 107 officers approved. 830 application out of 1,016 ratings approved


Broadside messing still in use.


Entitlement for all Good Conduct Badge changed to 4 year intervals, instead of first after 3 years service, second after 8 years and third after 13 years by Admiralty Fleet Order 2132/54.


PILCHER Committee Report accepted and Leading Ratings and above can chose trial by Court Martial instead of summary punishment by commanding officer.


Article in Press about re-introduction of Warrant Rank






HMS VANGUARD (right - Navy Photos), HMS IMPLACABLE and HMS INDEFATIGABLE to be withdrawn from service.




HM Maintenance Ship GIRDLENESS to be converted for use as Guided Weapon Trials ship for SEASLUG Guided Weapon for anti-aircraft defence.


Records of Bathythermograph readings, Depth recordings and results of Magnetic Swing to be kept during Ocean Passages in future (Admiralty Fleet Order 29452/54).


HM Minesweepers COQUETTE and ROMOLA assisted Goodwin Lightship before it sank in storm.


HMS ILLUSTRIOUS stood by tanker in Irish Sea during last passage before Paying-off.


HM Royal Yacht BRITANNIA embarked Royal Family in Malta for return to London after Commonwealth visits


HM Destroyer DAINTY reduced to Reserve status due to lack of manpower.


SEASLUG Missiles tested at Woomera Range in Australia


First trials of SEACAT Guided Missile carried out.


HMS BIRMINGHAM and HMS NEWCASTLE returned to UK after two years to recommission under new General Service Commission arrangements.


HMS CUMBERLAND carried out first 'Pre-Wetting' trials against effects of nuclear fallout.




Four Midget Submarines (SPRAT Class) replaced XE Craft.


First HTP powered submarine HM Submarine EXPLORER launched.


Search operations activated for HM Submarines ALCIDE (right - in 1947, Navy Photos) and SCORCHER after failure to report surfacing.


HM Submarine TALENT swept into River Medway after Dock Caisson collapsed in Dockyard.


HMS KINGFISHER (Ex Salvage Vessel KING SALVOR) commissioned for use as Submarine Rescue Ship.


Naval Aviation


HMS ST MERRYN, Naval Air Station, Cornwall closure announced.


HMS SISKIN, Naval Air Station, Gosport closure announced.


First Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron operational.


First reference to future use of naval aircraft for nuclear weapons.


HMS CENTAUR to be refitted and 'Interim Angled Flight Deck’ installed.


Mirror Deck Landing Sight introduced into service.


WIVERN aircraft grounded after engine problems.


First Angled Deck Trials carried out in HMS ALBION.


Home Station


HM Frigate VIRAGO carried out trials in Arctic using first operational Inflatable 20 Man Life raft.


Uniform still required to be worn by Junior ratings going ashore on leave.


Devonport NBCD School at Tamerton Foliot moved to Gunnery School at Wembury.


Royal Marines establishment at Poole (Ex WW2 HMS TURTLE) opened on 1st December.


Advance Party from Fort Cumberland arrived in September.


* Reserve Fleet Article in NAVY NEWS.


HMS DEFIANCE Hulk used at Devonport Paid-off. Last Hulk to be used by RN.


HM Minesweeper 1558 , Tender to RNVR London Division sank after fire in English Channel


Extensive search carried out in Bristol Channel for crashed JAVELIN aircraft


Ex Royal Yacht HMS VICTORIA AND ALBERT left Portsmouth to be broken-up.


Foreign Stations


Reserve Fleet ships at Gibraltar cleaned up by a combined Fleet operation instigated by Admiral Mountbatten, CinC Mediterranean in preparation for the Royal visit in HM Yacht BRITANNIA when on passage to UK after Commonwealth Tour.


CENTO multi-national exercise (JET) off Colombo (August)


Far East Station Fleet exercise carried out off Manus (October)


Search for wreckage of crashed COMET aircraft carried out by Mediterranean Fleet ships, HMS WAKEFUL recovered large section using television equipment.


Visit to Spanish ports cancelled after claims by Spain to sovereignty of Gibraltar


HMS TRIUMPH, HMS SAINTES and HMS ST KITTS embarked took personnel from troopship EMPIRE WINDRUSH after catching fire off Algiers. 4 of troopship crew lost their lives.


HM Landing Ship (Tank) BEN LOMOND returned to UK after carrying out Germ Warfare trials in West Indies.


Naval support during Malayan Emergency continued.


Formosa Straits patrol continued to deter further threat to British flagged ships.


HMS WARRIOR used to evacuate refugees from Haiphong.


HMS VIDAL provided relief in Haiti after Hurricane.


RM Commando withdrawn from Canal Zone by HMS GAMBIA and HMS GLASGOW.


HMS WHIRLWIND and HMS ROEBUCK embarked last British Troops from Trieste.


HMS GAMBIA embarked Emperor Haile Selassie in Malta for State Visit to UK.






1 9 5 5





Restrictions on issue of Beer at sea relaxed but no regular issue to be made. Ship Refit-Cycle policy changed.


Dockyards to be responsible for 'clean' handover of ship on completion.


Admiral Mountbatten took up appointment as First Sea Lord.


GOODENOUGH Committee formed to investigate use of naval manpower.


Independent Chairman appointed to Chiefs of Staff Committee.


Emergency Ports to be provided for use in event of nuclear attack announced.


Payment of Local Overseas Allowance introduced.


Future use of aircraft carriers criticised in National Press.


Reduction of number of ships in Reserve Fleet to be made.


Increased use of air transport for commissioning of ships overseas and for transport of families.


Extension of modernisation programme in Royal Dockyards anticipated.


Torpedo development programme details announced in Parliament at variance with the actual achievement. First trials of Mk 24 prototype


Hydrographic work included investigation into Anti-Submarine sea conditions and production of new charts to suit increased use of radio navigational aids by mercantiles such as DECCA and LORAN




HMS TEMERAIRE commissioned at Port Edgar, Queensferry, Scotland for the training of Upper Yardman instead of at RNC Dartmouth following a 5 Year trial period.


After promulgation by Admiralty Fleet Order 1/54 , increasing concern voiced by officers over career structure as compulsory redundancies possible.


Changes to be introduced in 1st January 1957 included:


Two separate Lists to be introduced for Commanders on promotion ('Wet” and “Dry” Lists).


“Branch Rank” generic title replaced by “Special Duties List” for ratings promoted to Commissioned Rank


Uniform colour designation for used to identify Non Executive Officers discarded with the exception of Medical, Dental and Constructor Branches.


Permanent commissions to be given to aircrew officers on Supplementary List.


Cadet entry requirements reduced.


Dartmouth Training Squadron Cruiser HMS DEVONSHIRE used for Cadet Training Ships replaced by HM Ships - HM Destroyers VIGILANT, VENUS, CARRON, HM Fleet Minesweepers JEWEL and ACUTE.




* Article on Mechanician Rating in NAVY NEWS.


Wearing of Plain Clothes by ratings when going on leave allowed.


New assign of uniforms announced including plastic white tops for caps instead of loose covers and new foul weather gear.


New Entries for totalled 9,000 including 6,000 for National Service.


Availability of only 62 married quarters at Portsmouth since 1946 hardly encouraged re-engagement.


Consultant appointed to assist in improving accommodation in ships


Stoker Mechanic Title replaced 'Stoker' rating introduced in 1842.


Improved opportunities to be provided for ratings to be promoted to Special Duties List.




Experience gained in trials to simulate atomic attacks showed need for closed citadels including compartments such as Operations Room and Communications Offices in Bridge structure.


Pre-wetting trials continued in HM Trials Cruiser CUMBERLAND.


HMS ARK ROYAL commissioned. Steam Catapult and Angled Flight Deck fitted. Ships Bell from renowned WW2 aircraft carrier presented by previous ships' company


First Coastal Minesweeper fitted with new DELTIC - NAPIER propulsion engine commissioned


Trials carried out in HMS CUMBERLAND using new design Sea-boat.


Only sabotage reported was in HMS WARRIOR.


First of new Type 15 Fleet Destroyer/Frigate Conversions joined Fleet


HM Frigate EGLINTON held in Reserve Fleet ship at Hartlepool brought forward for Fleet service (Exercise SLEEPING BEAUTY I)


Modernisation of HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS ROYALIST in hand.


HMS VANGUARD nominated to recommission with reduced complement after refit.


HMS BRITANNIA took part in Fleet exercise in Mediterranean in her role as a Hospital Ship.


HMS GREY GOOSE commissioned for use as Test Bed for Gas-Turbine propulsion Machinery trials.


HMS TRIUMPH and HMS APOLLO visit Leningrad in exchange for visit to Portsmouth by Soviet warships SVERDLOV and ALEXANDER SUVAROV.




6th Submarine Squadron of “A” Class at Halifax, Canada and 4th Submarine Squadron at Sydney formed to satisfy requirements of RCN and RAN for anti-submarine training.


HMS SOLENT carried out 'Free Ascent' trials in Loch Fyne at a depth of 128 feet.


Feasibility of 'One Man Escape' Chamber established as a result.


HMS SIDON sank at Portland following explosion of HTP used for propulsion fuel. 13 crew were killed.


Naval Aviation


Introduction of the Angled Deck and the Mirror Landing Sight shown to reduce incidence of accidents when landing on aircraft carriers.


Mirror Landing Sight demonstrated to USN during Mediterranean exercises with 6th Fleet


WIVERN aircraft to be replaced by BUCCANEER.


First trials of replenishment using helicopters (VERTREP)


Orders for WESSEX Mk II A/S Helicopters, SEA VIXEN and SCIMITAR aircraft orders announced.


 Demonstration of  'Sproule' Net for rescue of personnel from water demonstrated.


 'Audio' Air Speed Indicator Introduced.


Filming of aircraft landings became standard practice after a crash landing on HMS EAGLE.


Minesweeping trials using helicopter carried out.


Aircrew rating received Commendation for his brave actions to assist pilot after aircraft crashed off Lands End.


Home Station


Assistance provided by 'air-drops' to communities in NW Scotland after blizzards.


Island of Rockall annexed by HMS VIDAL because of intended use of sea area off Hebrides to be used as for testing of Guided Weapons.


Reserve Fleet Divisions at Harwich and Sheerness closed following completion of dispersal of ships laid-up.


RFA FORT ROSALIE used for disposal of radio-active waste in Atlantic.


Inshore Minesweepers deployed to clear allied minefields off Sjaeland, Denmark.


Salvage of HM Auxiliary Minelayer PORT TALBOT began at Kyle of Lochalsh. This ship was lost during WW2 after a fire.


Foreign Stations


South America and South Atlantic Station introduced.


Simons Town Dockyard and Base facilities handed over to South African Navy.  New Build programme for South African Navy announced.


CENTO Exercise JET in Indian Ocean included warships of Australian, New Zealand, Indian Navies as well as some from  new South Atlantic Station.


Joint Anti-Submarine School (JASS) exercise carried out in Mediterranean.


Patrols off Cyprus established to prevent smuggling of arms.


HMS OCEAN and HMS THESEUS ferried stores for 3rd Commando Brigade in Cyprus.


RN support for military operations in Malaya still required. HMS COMUS and HMS NEWCASTLE carried out bombardments prior to low level air attacks by RAF LINCOLN aircraft.


Fleet air Arm WHIRLWIND Squadron based at Kuala Lumpur also extensively used.


Build up of RN presence in Falklands after Argentine seizure of Peruvian whale catchers


HMS PROTECTOR sailed for first use as Ice Patrol Ship with RM Detachment embarked and a Hydrographic party.


Interference by Chinese warships with British shipping off Formosa continued and patrols made. Two mercantiles shelled and forced to stop.


HM Sloop OPOSSUM visited Pnom Penn.


HMS LOCH KILLISPORT and HMS LOCH INSH (right - Navy Photos) engaged in major fire fighting in Italian tanker ARGEA PRIMA after collision in Straits of Hormuz.


HMS WAKEFUL towed damaged US Flying Boat to Malta.






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Voluntary Retirements. Officers: 111 out of 153 Applicants. Ratings: 1174 out of 1370 Applicants.


New Pay and Pensions Code introduced.


Centralised Drafting System to be introduced to replace separate drafting from Port Divisions at Portsmouth, Devonport and Chatham. Drafting Preference Cards introduced for ratings to complete.


Extensive rundown of Reserve Fleet with many ships placed on Disposal List.  Remaining ships re-categorised into three Classes.


Intake of 7,500 expected compared with 10,100 in 1952/3.


Total manpower requirement of 128,00 to be reduced by 1958.


New Anti-Submarine Trainer to be provided at RN Tactical School, Woolwich.


NATO support requirement started in UK for moorings, fuel depots and communications.




General Review of Officer structure to be implemented by 1957. General List introduced and Cadet Entry requirements revised. Special Duties List to replace Branch List. Proposal to have different design uniform buttons was dropped rapidly after concern of officers concerned. Special Duties Officers to wear same uniform rank designation as General List and titles changed


Compulsory retirement age raised to 50 except for Commanders and above.


Supplementary List to include Seaman Officers.


Coloured Lace on uniforms abolished except for Medical, Dental and Constructor Branches.


300 officers retained after reaching old retirement age, and re-employed released.


Dartmouth vacancies filled with by award of 90 Scholarships from 840 applications.


Recruitment of personnel for Royal Corps of Naval Constructors to be encouraged for school leavers accepted for University education.


Expected National Service intake 6,000.




Evening Rig introduced for Chief Petty Officers.


Uniform for all Ratings of Supply and Secretariat Branch and Artificers under training changed into Seaman Rig


Continuous Service Engagement Periods altered. 9 Year term Instead of 7 or 12 Years, except for Artificer Apprentices. Royal Fleet Reserve Service no longer required on discharge. Further service of 5 years planned instead of 10 year period.


"Boy" Rating title changed to "Junior".


New Gunnery Rating qualifications Introduced in Admiralty Fleet Order 1904/56


New design Hats introduced to replace Cap Covers and to be permanently used instead of only in Summer months.




Air Conditioning to be provided in Living Spaces.


HMS CENTAUR to be refitted with Steam Catapults and improved radar fit when replaced by HMS BULWARK.


Improved arrangements for refits announced.


Design for Guided Missile Destroyer design with SEASLUG weapon system in hand.


HMS HARDY (right - Navy Photos/David Downey), first Type 14 A/S Frigate completed


HMS GIRDLENESS commissioned as Trials Ship for SEASLUG. (24 July)


HM Depot Ship AULANIA to be scrapped.


HM Destroyer DAINTY brought forward from Reserve in second "SLEEPING BEAUTY" Exercise. Inshore Minesweeper to be brought forward in SLEEPING BEAUTY III in June.


 Conversion of HMS TRIUMPH for use as a Repair Ship began. (Note: Completion took 9 years.)


Trials in HMS CUMBERLAND included gunnery firings against Pilot-less aircraft and new design 6" guns to be fitted in "TIGER" Class cruisers.




Design of Nuclear power plant for submarines begin carried out in conjunction with commercial companies.


First high speed submarine HMS EXPLORED began trials using HTP fuel.


Proposal to fit nuclear weapons raised in Parliament


Search operations carried out for HMS ACHERON off Iceland after failure of communications.


Naval Aviation


RN Air Station HMS SISKIN at Gosport Paid-off. Land to be used for Marine Engineer Training School and establishment renamed HMS SULTAN. Facilities at Flathouse to be retained. HMS SULTAN to be used by Admiralty Interview Board.


Home Station


HMS SULTAN, Mechanical Training Establishment at Flathouse to transfer to Gosport.


Reserve Fleet Category changes introduced.


Proposal made for Dounray, Scotland to be used as Nuclear Test Establishment by RN.


Base facilities as Scapa Flow closed.


Invergordon facility to be placed in Care and Maintenance


Two Naval Air Stations closed and six other shore establishments.


HMS CAMBRIDGE commissioned at Wembury, Devon for use as Gunnery School. Replaced School in RN Barracks at Devonport (HMS DRAKE) used since 1907.


3rd Training Squadron moved from Londonderry to Plymouth (September)


* Article in NAVY NEWS on Joint Anti-Submarine School, HMS SEA EAGLE at RNAS Londonderry.


HMS RALEIGH at Plymouth to be Paid off and training transferred to RN Barracks, Devonport.


Training at Devonport Division Signal School at Vicarage Road to be transferred to HM Signal School (HMS MERCURY), Petersfield.


HMS DEFIANCE (Hulk) at Devonport once used for accommodation to be Paid-off and training transferred


HMS SULTAN at Gosport for engineering ratings or HMS COLLINGWOOD at Fareham for electrical ratings.


Trials on use of oxy-helium by divers at 600 feet carried out in Diving Training Ship HMS DEEPWATER.


Torpedo Trials Unit at Stokes Bay, Gosport transferred to RNAS CULDROSE


HMS WIZARD, RN end RAF helicopters rescued crew of tanker DOOVEFJELJL off Portland.


Belgian fishing vessel escaped from HMS SQUIRREL of Fishery Protection Squadron with an RN rating still on board. Rating subsequently left en a Lightship.


Extensive press publicity over death of Commander Crabbe (Ex RNVR) during visit by Soviet cruiser to Portsmouth


HMS VANGUARD replaced HMS CLEOPATRA and HMS DIDO in Reserve Fleet at Portsmouth and became Flagship of Reserve Fleet.


Deep Diving Record using standard Diving Suit established from HMS RECLAIM.


Foreign Stations


HMS AMBROSE commissioned at Halifax, Canada for support of submarines used for training,


HMS MANXMAN and HMS URSA took relief stores to Lebanon after an earthquake


Suez Canal nationalised. HMS MANXMAN end HMS JAMAICA sent to Cyprus. Extensive precautionary measures at Home and abroad included requisitioning of ships in anticipation of action against Egypt following Suez Canal nationalisation. Two destroyers (Ex HMS MYNGS and HMS ZENITH) sold to Egypt were allowed to sail from Portsmouth but not without ammunition. Discharge by Purchase suspended


Operation MUSKETEER executed to recover control of Suez Canal with French forces involved. 105 RN ships and RFA deployed. Later UN took over control of situation and RN ships dispersed. HMS CHEVRON remained for use by NOIC after hostilities ceased. Some RN presence retained for clearance of sunken ships. Extensive salvage work undertaken.


Formosa Strait patrol continued. HMS ST BRIDES BAY obtained release of mercantile HYDRALCOC.


HMS EAGLE carried out exercises with US Navy aircraft carriers in Mediterranean and also visited Istanbul.


HMS LOCH FADA embarked Archbishop Makarios at Mombasa for passage to exile in Seychelles.


HMS DIANA deployed as Guardship at Montebello during second Atomic Weapon Tests.


HMS LOCK KILLISPORT embarked first RM Detachment to serve in a Frigate.






1 9 5 7





1956 changes in officer structure implemented.


Defence Review to be carried out by Duncan Sandys.


Eight Work Study Teams to be introduced.


NATO Commanders warned of threat posed by Soviet submarines.


Naval Weather Service introduced.


Port Auxiliary Service in Royal Dockyards re-organised.


Proposed that future Fleet be centred around Task Groups including an aircraft carrier.


Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) abolished and all Reservists to be included in Royal Naval Reserve (RNR).


Voluntary Discharges.  Officers 162 out of 198 applications;  Ratings 667 out of 1011applications.




Board of Admiralty composition changed.  5th Sea Lord to be Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.


Appointment of Flag Officer Malay merged with CinC Far East Station


New Entry numbers reduced.


1,750 officers to leave within next 5 years.


Gratuity of 6,000 for officers of Captain rank.


Quarter of Flag Officers to be retired.


Review to be made for award of Degree Status to Engineering Officers after the satisfactory completion of training to Degree status at RN Engineering College at Manadon, Plymouth.




Redundancy of 900 expected.


Bi-monthly payments introduced instead of fortnightly. Caps to be kept 'On’.


Centralised Drafting procedures introduced. To be established at Lythe Hill, Petersfield, named as HMS CENTURION.


Intake during 1956/7 Financial Year to be 8,150 with 1,600 National Servicemen.


Recruiting Booklet ‘In which we serve" published.


* NAVY NEWS article - Uniform.


Upper Yardmen training syllabus widened.,




HM Fleet Minesweeper BRAMBLE sent to investigate complaints by British trawlers about damage being caused by Russian trawlers.


HMS BULWARK to be replaced in Fleet by HMS CENTAUR.


KING GEORGE V Class battleships to be scrapped.


Type 277, New designs ONAR Equipment in production


RFA strength to be increased due to lack of overseas bases.

* SEASLUG Guided Missile article in NAVY NEWS.


HMS SOLEBAY to be brought forward at Chatham in SLEEPING BEAUTY exercise.


Teleprinters now in extensive use at sea


HMS TRIUMPH conversion to repair ship started


Use of light fleet aircraft carriers as Commando Carriers first hinted by First Sea Lord.


HMS WARRIOR sailed for use a Squadron Flagship during planned Nuclear Weapon trails at Christmas Island

in Pacific Ocean (Operation GRAPPLE).




First Nuclear Powered submarine to be named HMS DREADNOUGHT. PWR Type reactor at Harwell went 'critical’.


Experimental submarine HMS EXCALIBUR (right - Navy Photos) build completed. HMS EXPLORER achieved 25 knots submerged.


Search operation carried out for midget submarine HMS SPRAT in Channel after failure to transmit surfaced signal.


HMS SIDON not to be repaired and to be sunk for use as A/S target.


"SPRAT" Class midget submarines to be Paid-off.


HMS THOROUGH returned to UK after service in Far East.


Move of 3rd Submarine Squadron from Rothesay to Faslane planned for 1958.


Naval Aviation


First deliveries of British produced WHIRLWIND helicopter made.


‘Cross Deck' operations carried out with US Navy carriers. Interchange of landings by Carriers during joint operation.


HMS EAGLE to be modernised when HMS VICTORIOUS becomes available for service.


HMS OCEAN and HMS THESEUS to be reduced to Reserve status.


Royal Navy Air Station NAS NUTHATCH, Anthorn, Cumbria, Receipt and Despatch Depot, Paid-off


RNVR Air Squadrons disbanded.


HMS DAEDALUS, Gosport used as Depot for Fleet Air Arm ratings, merged with RNAS Gosport


848 Squadron received silver Kris from Chief Minister, Malay for support of military operations.


Home Station


CASTLE Class Frigates to be taken out of Reserve and transferred to Air Ministry Weather Service to replace FLOWER Class corvettes for use as Meteorological reporting ships.


New coastal Survey Ships of  ECHO Class ordered.


HMS Minesweeper GAVINGTON towed for three miles by FAA helicopter.


HMS GRENVILLE carried out first helicopter trials by a RN frigate.


*NAVY NEWS article on HMS HORNET, Gosport closure. This establishment was first used in 1925 and Paid-off in 1925 until commissioned as MTB base in 1939.


HMS PHOENIX , Hilsea, Portsmouth Paid-off and renamed NBCD School. (Originally RN Gas School at Tipner and replaced Barons Court, London as Damage control school in 1946.)


Reserve fleet reductions in continuation.


RNR Communications centres to be established in UK for training of Reserve Communications personnel


Royal visit to Fleet made at Cromarty.


HMS SOLEBAY commissioned for service after period in Reserve.


Torpedo Experimental Establishment (TEE), Greenock closed.


HMS ULSTER rescued survivors and fought fire in Greek mercantile after being in collision in English Channel.


Victoria Barracks, Southsea returned to Army. Had been used as overflow for RN Barracks in 1939 and later for RN and WRNS New Entries. After WW2 used for Divisional training of Upper Yardman and also as Seamanship and Cox'ns School.


Two Russian submarines sighted off Scotland.


Foreign Stations


America and West Indies Station closed. Commodore appointed as Administrative Authority with office at Bermuda


HMS ARK ROYAL attended US Naval Review in Hampton Roads for 350th anniversary of founding of Virginia.


Further 'Cross Deck' landings carried out with USS SARATOGA


HMS BIRMINGHAM visited Black Sea ports. Strong protest made by USSR. (No protests were made by UK when Russian submarines passed through Channel.)


British Involvement in Suez Canal clearance ended when HMS KINGARTH left Port Said.


HMS DAINTY took stores to aid survivors after earthquake in Turkey.


Base at Christmas Island to be used during GRAPPLE, named HMS RESOLUTION. Anniversary of discovery by James Cook.


East Indies and Far East Stations to be closed and merged as Far East Station.


HM Dockyard, Trincomalee to be closed.


Exercises with Turkish warships brought protests from USSR.


HM Dockyard, Hong Kong to be closed. Six Inshore minesweepers to be deployed at Hong Kong based in HMS TAMAR.


Increase in activities in Persian Gulf after revolt in Oman. RM parties landed.


Increased deployment of Russian warships noted worldwide.


HMS MAIDSTONE and HMS OCEAN visited Helsinki and shadowed by Russian ships.


HMS NEWCASTLE bombarded terrorist position at Kota Tingli river, Malaya.


RN aid provided after floods in Ceylon. HMS COCKADE brought stores from Singapore


*. Operation MUSKETEER Article in NAVY NEWS


HM Dockyard Simons Town formally transferred to South African Navy after 143 years RN use


HMS ULSTER took troops to reinforce garrison at Belize.


14 warships and Auxiliaries deployed for GRAPPLE Tests.






1 9 5 8





Boarding School Allowances payable.


*Article on NAAFI in NAVY NEWS


2nd Sea Lord's Visiting Team to include a Chief Yeoman of Signals.


RNR and RNVR Merger completed


Sandys Defence White Paper published. Naval manpower 112,000. Target by 1962 is 84,000.


Proposed Task Group concept for Fleet dropped and replacement by Squadron concept using destroyers and frigates,


'NILHILL’ Report recommendations on Royal Dockyard to be implemented.


Regulations for wearing of Blue Ensign changed.


Length of New General Service Commission extended to 24 months of which 9 will be overseas.


Cost of maintaining ships in Reserve and for conversions criticised in Parliamentary Report. 157 ships scrapped leaving about 200 in Reserve status,


GRIGG Committee recommendations on pay and allowances accepted. To be reviewed every two years. Rates of Pensions will not be subjected to 2 year Review.


New Naval Discipline Act to come into effect on 1st January 1959




Flag Officer appointments to be reduced to 79, 12 of which will be at sea


25% of officers are now Ex Ratings. In 1949 this was 18%


1,000 redundancies out of 1,900 redundancies applications have been completed


702 applications have been made for 79 Naval Scholarships.


First of the 18 year old RNC cadet entries now at sea.




Only 20% of existing 7 Year Re-engagements were renewed.


All 950 redundancies to have been made by March 1959.


Half of ships in the Fleet reported to have Bunks.


Communication Ratings titles changed. Leading Radio Operator and Leading Tactical Operator instead of Leading Telegraphist and Leading  Signalman


Intake 7,100 including Juniors and Apprentices.




HMS VANGUARD to be scrapped.


* Picture of new Inflatable Liferaft in NAVY NEWS.


Orders for new AA Frigate (HMS PANTHER) and new AD Frigate (HMS COVENTRY) cancelled. To be replaced by orders for LEANDER Class Frigates.


Refit of HMS VICTORIOUS completed. Angled Deck and new design CDS Air Warning Radar fitted. Cafeteria messing system in use


HMS EAGLE and HMS HERMES (right - Navy Photos)  to be fitted with CDS Type Air Warning Radar.


SEASLUG Anti-Aircraft Guided Weapon System trials satisfactory and may be converted for use as a  Ship/Ship weapon.


Last Fleet exercise without inclusion of a Task Group.


HMS GLORY, HMS OCEAN and HMS THESEUS to be scrapped.


HM Boom Vessel BARCOMBE ran aground in Loch Buie after assisting HM Submarine TACITURN.


HM Sloop MODESTE returned to UK after 6 years continuous foreign service,


Last ISLES Class Trawler, HMS STEEPHOLM Paid-off.


Experience with Type 14 Frigates revealed hulls required strengthening.


HMS CUMBERLAND Paid-off as Trials Ship


SEACAT Guided Missile fitted in some frigates displayed at Farnborough Air Shaw by manufacturer as SX-A25




HMS TURPIN towed to UK from West Indies after main machinery defect. This submarine had been fitted with new engines in 1957.


HMS AUROCHS attacked by unknown aircraft in Pacific.


Submarine Service Badge introduced for all qualified submarine personnel


BIBS Breathing System introduced in submarines for emergency use.


Chief Executive appointed to supervise liaison with Atomic Energy Authority.


SPRAT midget submarine loaned to US Navy for trials.  STICKLEBACK sold to Sweden.


Naval Aviation


RNAS ANTHORN closed but to be used by Federal German Navy.


RNAS Worthy Down and RN Aircraft Repair Yard at Donibristle, Fife closed.


Londonderry Anti-Submarine helicopters to be transferred to Portland.


Helicopters in HMS BULWARK to be convertible by ships staff for A/S use. (This was never achieved.)


Pilot of SCIMITAR aircraft trapped in cockpit after landing attempt on HMS VICTORIOUS, and lost his life when unable to escape.


Home Station


Humber RNR Division closed except for Communications Centre.


Fishery Protection Office at Hull closed and transferred to HMS LOCHINVAR at Port Edgar. HMS LOCHINVAR to be used as the Base for Fishery Protection Squadron except ships deployed in Channel. ALGERINE Class Minesweepers in Squadron to be replaced by Type 14 Frigates.


Chatham Gunnery School and Bartons Point AA Range at Sheemess closed.


Nore Command to be closed.


* Article in NAVY NEWS. HMS CERES Supply School to be transferred from Wetherby to Chatham Barracks.


National Press publicity on Ocean Weather Service


RNEC at Manadon, Plymouth commissioned as HMS THUNDERER,


National Press publicity on Wreck Dispersal operations.


Major naval deployments made in Iceland during First 'Cod War’ with Iceland to support of Fishery Protection Squadron.


New design Minehunting SONAR outfit Type 193 used to find SCIMITAR aircraft from HMS VICTORIOUS which crashed in English Channel.


Royal Marines Arctic training began in Norway.


HMS CHICHESTER rescued crew of coaster CONCHA off Milford Haven before ship sank.


Foreign Stations


Malaya Emergency support in continuation.


HMS BURGHEAD BAY visited Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island and Ngate Island in South Atlantic.


* Article on Hong Kong in NAVY NEWS.


Joint Exercises in Atlantic with RCN included RN ships from West Indies.


HMS ALERT with CinC FES attended ceremony in Japan to commemorate founding of Imperial Japanese Navy.


HHS BRITANNIA to be used by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh during planned Far East Tour.


HMS CEYLON present at Royal Review of RN ships by King of Jordan when British forces left Aqaba.


RN Rhine Squadron to be Paid-off.


HMS ULSTER helped to restore power ashore in Nassau, Bahamas.


HMS ARK ROYAL prepared to evacuate British nationals from Lebanon.


HMS EAGLE provided cover for trooping flight to Amman.


HMS BERMUDA carried RM Commando to reinforce Cyprus garrison. Other RN deployments planned


HMS BULWARK, HMS ST BRIDES BAY and HMS LOCH KILLISPORT carried out major salvage operation and tow after tankers MELIKA and FERNAND GILABERT involved in collision in Indian Ocean off Qatar. Substantial salvage awards were paid in 1960.


East Indies Station abolished after 314 years.


HM Dockyard in Malta to be leased to C H Bailey for use as a commercial shipyard.






1 9 5 9





Manpower details. Existing 88,000. New Entries 8,250. National Servicemen 850. Employed ashore 68,000, including 12,000 at Naval Air Stations. Employed at sea 40,000. Redundancies 2,350 sinc eintroduced.


Reorganisation of Surface and Underwater Weapon Research Establishments completed. Surface Weapons at Portsdown,   Portsmouth and Underwater Weapons at Portland.


10 Work Study Teams with the Fleet and four to be formed. School of Work Study to be set up at Portsmouth.


Rules for 'Loyal Toast' procedure in naval messes changed.


Parliamentary criticism of costs of refits and conversions continued.


Offices of Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty abolished.


Procurement of aircraft weapons transferred from Ministry of Supply to Ministry of Aviation


Second Sea Lord's visiting Team established.


Defence Courses provided for Merchant Navy personnel.


GRIGG Report on Pensions accepted.




Admiral Lord Mountbatten became Chief of the Defence Staff


Establishment of Flag Officer appointments amended. Now 81 instead of 79 to go


Opportunities to be offered to Seaman Officers to spend 14 days on board merchant ships.


Chair of Nuclear Technology established at RN College, Greenwich.


Provision of Cambridge University training for General List Electrical Officers to be minimised in future


Future Dartmouth entries required to have a minimum of 2 Passes at ‘A' Level and 3 at 'O' Level GCE.


MURRAY Review of Officer Training to be implemented In September 1961.


Upper Yardmen training to be transferred from HMS TEMERAIRE at Port Edgar to RNC Dartmouth in 1960.


Title Engineer-in-Chief changed to Chief Naval Engineer.


Five Year Supplementary List Commission introduced for Helicopter pilots.




Slight increase in re-engagements reported. 50% from previous 48%




HMS KENYA and HMS JAMAICA to be scrapped.


HMS SUPERB Placed on Sales List.


HMS TIGER (right - Navy Photos) began sea trials. Evidence found of poor design of steam pipe-work.


HMS LION and HMS BLAKE to complete in 1960


First Type 81, ‘TRIBAL’ Class Frigate laid down.


New Flag Officer Portland for Sea Training appointed (FOST)


Radar Data Processing system being developed for Ship Weapons system management


Arbitrary cuts made in manning of HMS EAGLE as an experiment following Work Study.


HMS VICTORIOUS demonstrated new CDS radar to US Navy at Norfolk, VaCosts of Modernisation being questioned.




SEACAT Guided Weapon trials being planned.




HMS TIRELESS had to return from Joint Home/Mediterranean Fleet Spring Exercises  because of machinery defects.( See HMS TURPIN 1958)


Queens Colour awarded to Submarine Service.


American design nuclear propulsion plant to be used in HMS DREADNOUGHT. Training of crews for nuclear submarines began in USA.


HMS DREADNOUGHT keel laid down.  Delays introduced by industrial problems in shipyard.


10th Submarine Squadron formed for service in Far East.


AFD59 laid down at Portsmouth for use by nuclear submarines.


First PORPOISE Class submarine – HMSO BERON laid dawn at Chatham.


Naval Aviation


Details of trials on new ejector seat which will operate underwater announced.


New FIRESTREAK Air to Air Missile trials carried cut in HMS VICTORIOUS.


RNAS Portland opened for support of Sea Training. First military helicopter airfield in Britain.


Crew of crashed SKYRAIDER aircraft rescued off Norway by Russian trawler.


RNAS Gosport renamed HMS ARIEL.  HMS DAEDALUS retained for use of Flag Officer (Air).


GANNET aircraft to replace SKYRAIDERS.


Saunders-Roe helicopter order placed. Later developed as WASP.


First Front Line Squadron of SEA VIXEN aircraft formed.


Home Station


'Cod War’ deployments by Home Fleet ships in continuation. .Engineering, Medical and Dental help given to British trawlers. Some clashes with Icelandic gunboats and collision between HMS CHAPLET and Icelandic ODIN. 40 RN ships deployed during first year of confrontation.


Russian trawlers agreed to pay compensation for damage to UK fishermen's nets after intervention by Fishery Protection ship.


HMS BERMUDA visited Greenland.


HMS CENTAUR and RFA WAVE VICTOR in 'Near Miss' incident during RAS in Bay of Biscay.


HMS BARNARD grounded off Scotland.


Hovercraft demonstration by Saunders-Roe to RN and foreign naval representatives.


Battle of the Atlantic Service held in Liverpool Cathedral


Last refit in Sheerness Dockyard completed on HMS LOCH LOMOND


Extensive salvage operation in St Georges Channel to recover the wreckage from RAF VICTOR aircraft.


HMS BULWARK conversion for use as a Commando Carrier delayed by Suez Crisis.


HMS SOBERTON intervened in dispute between British and Russian trawlers.


Foreign Stations


Commodore (Cyprus) appointed to replace Flag Officer (Middle East) for administration of nav responsibilities during emergency.


HMS BRITANNIA embarked HRH The Duke of Edinburgh for Far East visits including to personnel at Christmas Island for  "GRAPPLE" test operations. On return HMS BRITANNIA used for Royal Visit to Canada to open St Lawrence HIghway.


HMS SALISBURY visited Cleveland, Ohio and was first RN warship on Lake Eerie since 1812.


HMS BIRMINGHAM and HMS DELIGHT involved in collision in Mediterranean.  Two ratings died during Damage Control activities.


HMS MAXTON rammed by Frigate off Malta.


HMS ALBION grounded in Plate Estuary


HMS HOGUE scrapped after being involved in collision with Indian Cruiser MYSORE (ex-HMS NIGERIA) during CENTO exercise in Indian Ocean.


Coastal Minesweeper Squadron re-deployed from Mediterranean to Singapore.






1 9 6 0





AUWE established at Portland as part of Weapons Department in place of UWE.


Cost of SEASLUG weapon System development and financial control criticised in Parliament.


Competitive tendering to b» used for build of all ships above Frigate size.


Expense of having Admiralty departments sited in both Bath and London criticised.


Editor of NAVY NEWS to be appointed by Admiralty.


Flag Officer Reserve Fleet to be replaced by Reserve Ships Authority.


Manpower total 102,000.


Modifications to gunnery equipment in HMS TIGER and HMS LION needed after trials problems.


POLARIS and SKYBOLT systems controversy not resolved.


Second Sea Lord's department re-organised with separate Directors introduced for Training, Manpower, Personnel Services and Officer Appointments.


14 Work Study teams operating.


Agreement reached with RAF over operational control of maritime aircraft.




Retiring Age for Captains fixed at 55 and at 53 for Commanders.


General List Electrical and Engineering Specialisations combined into one List.


New Short Service Commission introduced in Seaman Branch for educationally qualified ratings.


Numbers of applications for 18 year Entry to Dartmouth falling off.


Five Year Supplementary List Commissions in use for Helicopter Pilots.




Mechanician apprentice training scheme introduced for Fleet Ait Arm ratings.


Re-engagement rate of 65%, highest since 1936.


Upper Yardman to have 2 year course at RNC Dartmouth to prepare for 'A' Level Exams.




Accommodation standards criticised in Parliament.


Canadian Variable Depth SONAR equipment to be adopted by RN In place of a British design which had been tested in HMS BROCKLESBY.


Delays in developing NAPIER DELTIC engines as replacement for MIRLEES type used in CMS (coastal minesweepers). Only 46 have been fitted with new type of engine.


Laying of SOSUS System to detect passage of submarines begun in Atlantic by USA.


Production order placed for SEASLUG missiles.


First SEACAT anti-aircraft guided missile trials carried out in HMS DECOY (right - Navy Photos).


US Underwater Test Range (AUTEC) established In Bahamas and to be used by RN.


HMS ALBION to be converted for use as a Commando Carrier.


HMS BULWARK commissioned as a Commando Carrier.


Design details of Assault Ships HMS FEARLESS and HMS INTREPID announced.


Modernisation of HM Support Ship HARTLAND POINT completed.


HMS SHOULTON demonstrated new Mine Hunting SONAR Type 193 to US Navy.


HMS ULSTER assisted in relief operations In Jamaica, Anguilla and Barbuda.


HMS VANGUARD grounded off Portsmouth during passage to breaker's yard


First Guided Missile Destroyer HMS DEVONSHIRE launched.


Seven modern Tankers chartered for use as RFAs.


Six BATTLE Class destroyers to be scrapped.


HMS SWIFTSURE scrapped after expenditure of £3.5M on refit work.




Training of Nuclear Monitoring Teams began in HMS COLLINGWOOD.


HMS DREADNOUGHT launched by HM Queen at Barrow. Delivery of machinery commenced.


US Navy POLARIS submarines to operate from Holy Loch.


First nuclear powered fleet submarine HMS VALIANT ordered.


Naval Aviation


HMS ARK ROYAL carried out trials on new Deck Landing equipment to replace Mirror Sight. (See 1961)


GANNET Air Early Warning aircraft replaced SKYRAIDER aircraft


Rescue of crew of Greek ARGO DELOS off Donegal by helicopters from RNAS Ellington.


US Strop Recovery equipment to be used In HMS VICTORIOUS.


BUCCANEER aircraft deck landing trials carried out in HMS VICTORIOUS. Production order placed.


SEA VIXEN aircraft joined HMS ARK ROYAL.


WASP Helicopter trials carried out for use in anti-submarine frigate.


Home Station


CinC Home Fleet headquarters transferred ashore to Northwood, Middlesex.


'Cod' War settlement with Iceland reached and British trawlers to keep outside 12 mile Limit. Isolated Incidents continued.


NATO Fuel Depot to be sited at Loch Ewe.


Extensive search carried out in St George's Channel for wreckage of crashed RAF VICTOR aircraft. Research Ship RRS SHACKLETON joined RN operations and carried out survey of area.


Conversion of more BATTLE Class Destroyers for use as Radar Pickets not carried out due to cost.


Modernisation of HMS SWIFTSURE stopped and ship scrapped.


RN W/T Station at Forest Moor, Yorkshire opened and replaced station at Flowerdown, Hants.


Russian seaman found on board coastal minesweeper at Leith.


Sabotage reported in HMS DAINTY and HMS BATTLEAXE. Machinery on board HMS JAGUAR sabotaged during build and shipyard labour suspected.


HM Dockyard Sheerness closed.


HMS PLOVER carried out trials on new inflatable life raft in Weymouth Bay,


HMS SCOTT deployed for special survey to ensure adequate depth of water available for large tankers over wrecks in navigable channels


Foreign Stations


George Medal awarded to Fleet Bomb and Mine Disposal Officer, Far East Station for removal of warheads from wreck  of Japanese submarine.


Ship and aircraft deployments in Cyprus continued.


Salvage of Norwegian tanker POLYANA in Persian Gulf by HMS DALRYMPLE, HMS LOCH RUTHVEN and  HMS BASTION.


HMS BRITANNIA with HRH Princess Margaret embarked visited West Indies.


HMS APOLLO visited Leningrad.


HMS GAMBIA embarked medical stores and provided aid after cyclone disaster in Mauritius.


HMS FISKERTON rescued crew of wrecked US mercantile near Singapore.


HMS LEOPARD sailed 1,144 miles up the River Amazon to Godajas.


HMS OWEN landed party on St. Paul’s Rock in Atlantic during extensive oceanographic survey.


HMS SURPRISE embarked Papal Legate at Naples for passage to Malta for a religious ceremony.


HMS TYNE and HMS DARLASTON delivered relief stores after earthquake at Agadir.

on to Part 3 - 1961-70
or return to Lt-Cdr Mason's researches

revised 10/7/11