Few other countries had fallen so deeply in love with a branch of the armed forces as the British did with the Royal Navy. It is an effort for us now to appreciate the extent to which the Navy was at the heart of national political, economic and cultural life. It was in large part the firmly implanted conviction that Britain’s destiny was to rule the waves — a tradition that went back into the mists of time — that made that prophecy self-fulfilling. The British sense of national identity was in large part forged at sea. British history is inexplicable without reference to this fact. — Ben Wilson, Preface

I am the monarch of the sea,
The ruler of the Queen's Navee,
Whose praise Great Britain loudly chants. — Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore (1878)

Discussions, Comments etc.

Uniforms, ranks and flags

Military Actions

Prominent Naval Figures

Ships and Ship-Building

Naval Institutions

Related Material


Clowes, William L. The Royal Navy: A History, from the Earliest Times to the Death of Queen Victoria. Vol. VII.. 7 Vols. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1897. Internet Archive, from a copy in the Wellcome Library. Web. 30 December 2023.

Field, Cyril. The British Navy Book. London: Blackie, n.d. HathiTrust, from a copy in the Library of the University of California, Los Angeles. Web. 30 December 2023.

"The Merchant Navy." The Honourable Company of Master Mariners. Web. 31 December 2023.

Rasor, Eugene L. Reform in the Royal Navy: a social history of the lower deck, 1850 to 1880. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1976.

Wilson, Ben. Empire of the Deep: The Rise and Fall of the British Navy. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2013.

Created 5 December 2014

Last modified 12 January 2024