In this month

Dates from naval history in January:

1st, 1653: Pay for Able Seaman set at 24s per month.  Remains so until 1797

1st, 1771: Captain Maurice Suckling enters his nephew, Mishipman Horatio “Horace” Nelson, in Muster Book of Raisonnable at The Nore

1st, 1801: Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson promoted Vice Admiral

1st, 1859: Britannia becomes cadet training ship at Portland.  Moves to Dartmouth September 1863

1st, 1890: RNB Devonport commissions as HMS Vivid.  Name changes to Drake same date 1934; that of Vivid recycled several times, most recently (1959) to RNR unit, initially at FO Plymouth HQ, Mount Wise, then in Drake

1st, 1911: RN Detention Quarters open at Portsmouth.  World in Action RNDQs film here

1st, 1952: RNR and RNVR officers’ rank stripes straightened, with R in curl

1st, 1960: Morning Colours, Evening Colours abolished in favour of Colours and Sunset

1st, 1977: Last Admiral Commanding Reserves, Rear Admiral Hubert Hollins, hauls down flag.  CINCNAVHOME assumes responsibility for RNR

1st, 2008: RM Police incorporate into RN Police

1st, 2009: Director of Service Prosecutions becomes RN Prosecuting Authority

2nd, 1945: Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Allied Naval C in C Normandy Landings, dies in air crash in France

2nd, 1947: HMS Royal Arthur commissions at Corsham, Wilts.  Petty Officers Leadership School.  Now part of HMS Collingwood

2nd, 1978: Flag Officer Submarines moves to Northwood, co-located with CINCFLEET

4th, 1799: Lt Matthew Flinders completes circumnavigation of Tasmania, proving it an island and confirming a navigable passage between it and New South Wales

4th, 1994: Royal approval for UK personnel to wear Russian Government’s Arctic Convoys Medal

6th, 1767: First publication of Nautical Almanac by Nevil Maskelyne, 5th Astronomer Royal

9th, 1806: Funeral of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson, St Paul’s Cathedral

9th, 1940: HMS Raleigh commissions as training establishment for Ordinary Seamen.  Now a multi-school establishment including board & search, damage control, firefighting, first aid, leadership, logistics, ratings’ new entry & basic training, seamanship, small arms and Submarine School

10th, 1940: HMS Collingwood commissions as school for mobilised RN specialist reservists, later electrical branch ratings’ training and WE School.  Now Maritime Warfare School, incorporating multiple bedded-out units.  See RN website item on 80th anniversary recent event here, and plans for the establishment’s RM Band’s contribution to celebrations throughout 2020 here

10th/11th, 1940: Portsmouth heavily bombed overnight, including Dockyard and RNB

11th, 1972: Formation of Commando Logistics Regiment

12th, 1922: Victory moves into No 2 Dock at Portsmouth, world’s oldest dry dock

13th, 2018: Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly, SMO 3 Commando Brigade in Falklands War and the only combatant to be decorated by both sides, dies

Jolly had in 1999 received the permission of HM the Queen to wear his Argentine Orden de Mayo alongside his UK medals.  The Orden is awarded to “foreigners who distinguish themselves by service or personal achievement, or who have gained the nation’s gratitude”, in Jolly’s case for his work in saving the lives of many wounded Argentine soldiers and airmen

“Here (a derelict slaughterhouse in Ajax Bay), in an atmosphere of cheerful squalor, Jolly and his team of 120 doctors, nurses and medical assistants carried out more than 200 major operations on casualties from both sides through the three weeks of the intense and violent conflict, often working through the night in freezing surroundings, lit only by torchlight.” (Obituary, Guardian)

Short film of interview with Rick Jolly on life in the “Red and Green Life Machine” here

14th, 1991: The first Wrens, as were, to serve at sea as members of a ship’s company sail in HMS Brilliant (previous service afloat ad hoc)

16th, 1873: RN College Greenwich established

16th, 1986: Last pay parade, HMS Raleigh.  No more cash in hand, or cap

17th, 1773: First crossing of Antarctic Circle by RN: Cdr James Cook in Resolution

17th, 1912: Captain Scott reaches South Pole

17th, 1986: RNR Diving Branch established

18th, 1972: Wilton, world’s first GRP warship, launches at Woolston.  After paying off, 1994, is the subject of an unsuccessful bid by Hove and Adur Sea Cadet Unit, then facing potential extinction with the impending sale of its home, the former RNR HQ building at Maxwell Wharf, Hove.  Wilton is now HQ Essex Yacht Club, Leigh on Sea; the Sea Cadets moved to SERFCA premises at Marmion Road, Hove, in 2001, later establishing a boating station on Travis Perkins land at Shoreham Harbour

19th, 1762: Clock maker John Harrison’s 4th chronometer passes first Board of Longitude test.  Trials of Harrison’s inventions take place on several HM ships.  A fictitious lost “Harrison Lesser Watch” later becomes the focus of a transformational episode of Only Fools and Horses, in which it fetches Del Boy and Rodney Trotter £6.2m

24th, 1965: Sir Winston Churchill dies.  State funeral in St Paul’s Cathedral, 30th – see short YouTube films here and here

28th, 2009: Daring, first Type 45, enters Portsmouth for first time.  Captain Paul Bennett first CO, now Vice Admiral, Chief of Staff NATO Allied Command Transformation and SANO member

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

February will be the concluding episode of this feature, having started in March last year

The RN website carries an illustrated timeline of the history of the Royal Navy, in bite size helpings, here