Battle Honours

Discussion in 'The Quarterdeck' started by Seaweed, Sep 27, 2007.

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  1. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Can someone tell me whether the Bay class RFAs are allowed to inherit the Battle honours of their RN precursors of the same name? It would seem to me only justice now that RFA ships 'lie in the line' as the LSLs did in 1982. And, thinking about it, did the STUFT merchant ships in San Carlos Water get any such recognition?
  2. I'm not sure whether I can answer your question but Maritime Books is currently selling Badges & Battle Honours of HM Ships, originally priced £27, for the knockdown price of £7.99. See here for details. I've just ordered a copy and no, I am not on commission.
  3. I cannot see anything in that link which allows or justifies a RFA, which is a civilian manned Merchant Marine Vessel flying a blue ensign, to wear the Battle Honours of a Warship sailing under the white ensign and won what is called a "Battle Honour" in battle.

    It is what it says a Battle Honour not a, we were there honour.

    No doubt as Pusser now has so few warships they will spin and allow anything that will show they have a connection to the past.

    Nutty (rant mode)
  4. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    At risk of being contentious, it's extremely difficult to say what constitutes a battle honour's eligibility for transfer to another ship.

    It's only my opinion but any ship in which the crew acquitted themselves well in battle, service, civilian or a mixture of both is worthy of recognition, I feel. Bullets & bombs don't discriminate between service & civilians.

    If the ship, newly named, continues in direct support of the Service, then surely the honour should go with it, rather than consigned to a dusty storeroom in a museum.
  5. I agree with Nutty, and have posted concerns about the problems with the RN web site before. My understanding is that Battle Honours will only be passed from HMS to HMS vessels, or RFA to RFA but not HMS to RFA or merchant fleet. So this is the first vessel to hold the name RFA Mounts Bay, the next warship to be called HMS Mounts Bay will be the second (not the third) to hold the name, ignoring the RFA vessel of the same name. Whether this is right or wrong is a different argument and I support what Ninja said. But to answer Seaweeds question No, they are not allowed to carry battle honours gained by an HMS vessel of the same name. But they could have carried a battle honour achieved by that name with RFA in front.
  6. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    I think there might some Merchant Navy personnel who were present in San Carlos who might take issue with that generalisation.

    Battle Honours continue to be an emotive subject though. Following the most recent operation, the CVS was awarded a Battle Honour, however the close escort destroyer which spent the entire time up threat of the CVS was not......
  7. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    I've got the book in front of me (good old ebay) both HMS and RFA are listed but without going through reading up on each ship and knowing of any in the past that have been pusser and then RFA its not easy to find out.
    The current Bays aren't listed as far as I can see from a quick glance. I will continue my research and come forward with any answers when Mrs Janner runs out of other things for me to do.....don't hold your breath.


    I at no time said that merchant ships or RFA involved in a battle i.e. Falklands should not be awarded a battle honour and wear it with pride.

    What I did say that Battle Honours should not be transferable between ships of the RN, RFA and MM. Are we saying a Cruise liner called SS Warspite could wear the honours of HMS Warspite.

    I am still searching to see if any RFA in the past has inherited battle honours from a HMS Ship. I still maintain it spin applied by Min of Def to enhance our shrinking Navy.

  9. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    The spark for my original question was partly that until the Bay class RFGAs came along, I can't think of any RFA which took an old warship name. There were lines of RFA names - Waves, Tides, Eddys, Rovers, Forts etc but I do not think any HM Ship had ever had those sort of names. But RR seems always to have someone with the answer to any naval question, just thought I would try this one.

    Nutty I know has reservations about 'been there' medals and honours which I quite understand but lots of people have 'done that' and have nothing but their campaign medals to show for it. No end of citations go in which don't result in an award - there is a filter at every level on the way up the chain. Battle Honours I suspect come in for the same sort of process.

    Just to stretch the thread again, I believe all kia's in WW1 were marked by a gift to the NoK of a largish bronze medallion. I don't think this happened thereafter but RRs may also know something about this -seen one in the family or something. The medallions had a relief of a lady with a lion, the lady carrying a palm branch or something.
  10. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    ambiguity resolved - my bad.
  11. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator


    Oh dear, I don't want to be disrespectful, but personally feel that another ship of the same name carrying the "honour" earned by a war vessel of the same name (HMS, SS, MV, MFV, SSBN, etc.,) would surely be a "moving cenotaph" to those that went before, flying under any coloured British ensign.

    Lest we forget.
  12. Hello Nutty

    RFA ARGUS, which I believe was the first RFA to 'take up' a former warship name, carries the badge, motto and all the Battle Honours of the previous ships of the name. The last one was an Aircraft Carrier launched in 1917 that served in WW2.
    In addition she also carries the Battle Honour FALKLANDS 1982, where she served in her original identity as Contender Bezant.
  13. Battle Honours were for the first time in history officially listed in AFO 2565/54, Issue 98/54, dated 1st Oct 1954. (AFOs were the forerunners of DCIs.)
    (By the way, in reference to another thread, RE-WRITING HISTORY and the Armada, ARMADA is listed as a Battle Honour, in spite of the fact that this engagement pre-dated the formation of the Royal Navy by about 72 years!).

    These honours were intended to be carried by HM SHIPS AND FAA SQUADRONS only.

    Whilst in no way belittling the work and service of the RFA, it is a fact that it is a civilian manned organisation, a component part of the Naval Service and a related civilan service of MOD.

    Battle Honours are a very important part of RN tradition.

    Should RFAs carry HM Ships Badges and HM Ships Battle Honours? In my opinion, no, but I think the die is cast.
  14. I think that some ships taken up from trade are technically HMS prefixed
    like the Armed merchant cruisers of the ww1 &2 periods they would also carry RN personnel. The skippers/masters were possibly RNR/RNVR ???.Or similar to the WW2 T124 system when the Merchant crew signed articles to serve under RN orders.
    Thus the' battle' honours

    With other vessels including the RFA the 'battle honour' would be classed as a campaign award. They were there and endured the hardships and possible damage by 'enemy action'.
    Therefore I suppose a RFA could carry on the honours of an earlier warship of the same name

    There was also a 'Battle honour' classed as an area award .

    Thats how its explained in a book I have called Battles and Honours of the Royal Navy by David A.Thomas-----based on the published 1954 AFO's

    :nemo: :nemo:
  15. Not intending to take up a "Ninja Stoker admiration group" position, But his contribution is, once again, right on the button.


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