Tag - RN

Royal Marines

The Royal Marines

The Royal Marines are the amphibious troops of the Royal Navy and one of the world’s most elite commando forces. They are held at a very high readiness in order to be able to respond quickly to events around the world. The Royal Marines were formed in 1755 as the infantry troops for the Royal Navy, however, they do have roots right back to the formation of the English Army’s Duke of York and Albany’s maritime regiment of Foot in 1664. The adaptable light infantry force are trained for rapid deployment and are capable of dealing with threats worldwide. The Royal Marines are split into different units: 3 Commando Brigade 1 Assault Group Royal Marines 43 Commando Royal Marines (or previously the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines) Special Forces Support Group The Corps receive training on various things: amphibious warfare, arctic warfare, mountain warfare, expeditionary warfare and its commitment to the UK’s Rapid Reaction Force. Their training is the longest and one of the most physically [...]

RFA Cardigan Leading Royal Navy Ships in the Middle East

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is a civilian manned unit delivering operational and logistical support worldwide for tasks undertaken by the Royal Navy. Some of these include warfighting, counter-piracy, disaster relief and counter-narcotic operations. The RFA is a support force aiding the Royal Navy and allows them to conduct global maritime operations. As well as its primary role of supplying Royal Navy ships with fuel, ammunition and supplies, it also transports Army and Royal Marine personnel and supports training exercises. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary has aviation training ships and hospital ships in its fleet along with landing ships. RFA officers wear Merchant Navy rank insignia with naval uniforms but are under naval discipline when the vessel is engaged on any war-like operations. The RFA was established in 1905 originally to provide coaling ships for the Navy. It wasn’t until the Second World War when the Royal Fleet Auxiliary really came into its own. The Royal Navy really depended on it as often [...]

HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth Dockyard

HMS Queen Elizabeth is ready for Sea trials.

As Britain’s largest ever warship,  it’s been an anxious and exciting wait for the launch of HMS Queen Elizabeth as it finally left its dockyard in Rosyth to head out for sea trials. The 65,000 ton aircraft carrier squeezed through an exit with only 14 inch clearance on either side. After nearly a decade-long build, this marks the latest milestone for the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, which have cost more than £6 billion pounds, the other being HMS Prince of Wales. One of the Royal Navy’s warships will be escorting HMS Queen Elizabeth while its commanders try out the North Sea and Moray Firth. Shore-based helicopters will also be on the lookout for any submarines trying to sneak a peek at Britain’s new warship. 1,000 sailors and contractors will be aboard testing the vessel for the next six weeks. 650 doors and hatches on the vessel have been checked for fire safety and to check they are water tight. Multiple [...]

HMS Ocean

HMS Ocean

Did you watch the HMS Ocean documentary ‘Warship’ on Channel 4? The show captures Britain’s biggest warship as it sails to the Gulf to lead the US Naval Combined Task Force 50. HMS Ocean is now 20 years old and weighs up to 28,000 tons. The fleet flagship of the Royal Navy was launched into sea in October 1995 and has a capacity of 40 vehicles and 830 Marines. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force. The ship can carry up to six Apache AH1 helicopters operated by the Army Air Corps as well as helicopters for the RAF. HMS Ocean is also capable of limited anti-submarine warfare activities, supporting afloat training and acting as a base facility for other embarked forces including counter-terrorism units. HMS Ocean is described as a ‘floating village’ with a hospital, bank, gym, pubs and shops on board to accommodate its [...]

British Salute American Salute

Why do Troops Salute

Salutes are primarily used in the Armed Forces to show respect. There are numerous methods for performing the salute including: hand gestures, rifle shots, hoisting flags and the removal of headgear. The salute is to acknowledge the Queen’s commission. The subordinate salutes first and holds it until their superior has responded. It is thought that the salute originated when knights greeted each other to show friendly intention by lifting their visor to show their faces. Medieval visors were equipped with a spike which allowed the visor to be lifted in a saluting motion. A British order book in 1745 stated that ‘The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass.’ This, overtime, evolved into a modern salute. The naval salute is a different gesture, again, as sailors salute with their palm downwards. This is said to [...]

Fashionable Military Jackets

Military Fashion

Epaulettes Modern Fashion Military Inspired You can see a strong military influence throughout the whole of the fashion industry. This season’s jackets have a strong 18th century British and French theme – a strong shoulder decorated with epaulettes, brass buttons and rope trims. To bring the jackets into the modern era there are usually a few add-ons such as bows or crystals. Many military uniform staples have become cornerstones of modern-day fashion but were actually borne out of more practical requirements. The trendy trench coat, for instance, dates back to 1853 when it was thought that officers fighting in the Crimean War needed long practical jackets to protect them from the elements. In fact Burberry submitted a design to the War Office in 1901 for an officer’s raincoat. They made it using their own patented cotton fabric featuring large lapels and epaulettes. Khakis were introduced in the 1840s by Harry Lumsden. Until then the British Military wore bright outfits. Lumsden was the [...]

Prince Harry Parade with Beard

Is Facial Hair Allowed in the Military?

Ideas about whether facial hair is allowed in the military have differed throughout the years. In the mid-19th Century, facial hair was an unusual sight in the British Army, except for the Infantry Pioneers who were the only ones for whom it was tradition to have a beard. Later facial hair, moustaches and beards became more common in the military and it was even encouraged during the Crimean War, especially during winter months when the soldiers were encouraged to grow full beards. Regulations were later introduced which actually prevented soldiers from shaving above their top lip, ensuring that, those who could grow a moustache, had to have one. It wasn’t until 1916 when the rule was abolished by Lieutenant General Sir Nevil Macready who disliked his own moustache. Since 1916 the British Army, Royal Air Force and the Royal Marines have allowed moustaches and connected side whiskers, and only allowed full beards if they were grown for medical reasons or religious [...]

Women-of-the-Auxiliary-Territorial-Service-unload-rifles

Women in the Military

Women serving in the military has always been a controversial topic. As increasing numbers of countries begin to expand the role of women in their militaries, the debate continues. In order to be on the front line, women have been known to cross dress. The Royal Navy were the first to employ women in 1969 allowing a few to be nurses and laundresses on hospital ships. This was a controversial move and by the 19th century both roles had been eliminated. The Queen Alexandra’s Royal Nursing Service began in 1902 and is still in operation today. During World War II Britain established a uniformed service for women. This combined with the small units of nurses which had been in operation for a while meant that about 600,000 women served in the military. Most were working in units close to London where there was no risk of being captured by the enemy. The first woman was killed in the military in April [...]

What is the Best Looking Military Uniform?

The Hussars The uniform of the Napoleonic Hussars included the pelisse: a short fur-edged jacket which was often worn slung over one shoulder in the style of a cape, and was fastened with a cord. This garment was extensively adorned with braiding (often gold or silver for officers) and rows of multiple buttons. The tunic was worn underneath, which was also decorated in braid. The Hussar’s accoutrements included a Hungarian-style saddle, covered by a decorated saddlecloth, with long pointed corners surmounted by a sheepskin. On active service the Hussar normally wore reinforced breeches which had leather on the inside of the leg to prevent them from wearing. On the outside of their breeches was a row of buttons, and sometimes a stripe in a different colour. A busby was worn as headwear. The colours of the dolman, pelisse and breeches varied greatly by regiment, even within the same army. Hussars were the only corps in the British Army allowed to wear moustaches. The [...]

RAF College Remembrance Parade 2009

What is the Purpose of a Sword Knot?

The sword knot began existence as a simple cord attached to the hilt of the sword of a mounted soldier. The knot is in fact, a loop usually made out of leather, or other material. Before engagement with the enemy the soldier wraps the loop around his wrist to prevent the loss of his sword, which can happen either in the heat of the battle or if he needs to relax his group in order to steady his mount. In more recent years the sword knot has gradually evolved to become a more ornamental and decorative piece of uniform regalia. The design of it has also changed such that it now features a double strap which is also attached to the sword guard and wrapped around the hilt when not attached to the wrist. There are two main types of sword knots: full dress and active service. The sword knot used for active service features a plain buff leather strap, while the [...]