In this month

Dates from naval history in July:

1st, 1971: Submarine Artemis founders alongside HMS Dolphin.  Hatches, fouled by electric cables, cannot be closed.  Following a later explosion in Alliance, alongside at Portland causing 1 death and 13 injuries, questions about future of A-class submarines

1st, 1977: WRNS become subject to Naval Discipline Act

1st, 2007: “R” in RNR officers’ uniform lace abolished

1st, 2008: Fleet HQ on Whale Island renamed Navy Command HQ

3rd, 1860: Gold oak leaves introduced on peaks of caps of officers ranking Commander and above in executive branch

3rd, 2009: 3 Cdo Bde, under Brigadier Gordon Messenger RM (later General Sir, VCDS 2016 – 2019) marches through Exeter following return from 6-month deployment to Afghanistan.  Service of remembrance in Exeter Cathedral for 32 men lost in action

4th, 1982: HMS Conqueror, Commander Christopher Wreford-Brown (later Captain), returns to Faslane, having sunk the Argentine cruiser Belgrano in the South Atlantic; flies the first Jolly Roger with an atomic symbol

4th, 2014: Carrier Queen Elizabeth, the largest ship ever built for the RN, named at Rosyth by HM the Queen.  Leaves dry dock 17 July

6th, 1998: RN College Greenwich passes out of naval control, handed over to a foundation on a 150-year lease.  Now houses University of Greenwich

7th, 1988: Phoebe and Blackwater lead SAR operation at Piper Alpha oil rig explosion, 120 miles NE of Aberdeen

8th, 1795: Trials of sliced dried potato and ground meat.  Results unknown

18th, 1959: Oberon launches at Chatham

19th, 1994: Resolution, the first UK Polaris submarine, pays off at Faslane

21st, 2009: Brigadier Mark Noble RM takes command of RNAS Yeovilton.  First RM to command an air station since 1971

25th, 2014: The Royal Marines march through City of London to mark 350th anniversary of founding the Corps

30th, 1949: HMS Amethyst, Lt Cdr John Kerans, later Commander, DSO and in later life MP,  slips moorings at 2200 in Yangtse River, moves downstream under heavy Chinese Communist fire, reaching the sea 0530 and rejoining the fleet without damage or casualties

31st, 1970: Black Tot Day – Last tot issued.  Daily ration when first issued, as palliative to appalling food and water, half-pint (12 1970 standard English measures); at abolition, one-eighth.  Deemed inappropriate in a highly technical navy; many serving despair at how the RN will ever work without it

Principal source: The Royal Navy Day by Day, Captain A B Sainsbury RNR 1992 / Lt Cdr F L Phillips RNR 2018


The RN website is currently running an illustrated timeline of the history of the Royal Navy, in bite size helpings, here.