Help HMS crests

I've got a customer from ARRSE who wants me to engrave a crest similar to this:

for another ship. And I've had to draw it from scratch... but I've noticed that the threads in the rope take on different directions depending on ship and artist... Does the direction mean anything? Is there a correct way?

Thanks for any help,- C

Thanks Always,

me too... but the shape I'm interested in is the diamond... the rope threads on the one I showed go (clockwise) horizontal, horizontal, horizontal, vertical... but other versions can also be found... just seems a bit weird... I mean... there must be a standard, mustn't there? This is the RN with some pretty serious traditions, not the Austrian Boat Corps.



Lantern Swinger
I can't remember when but somewhere around 15 years ago, the decision was taken that all shore establishments would have the diamond-shape as in the first example above and all seagoing ships would have the circle as in the 2nd post. RFAs have pentagonal badges.
Prior to that, it was a matter of choice or history - I'm not sure which.

A member of the College of Arms, which controls and issues heraldic arms in England and Wales, advises the Ship's Badges Committee and produces designs.

See for a little official background and who the official contact is.


Lantern Swinger
Brains you are quite right except I think it was a bit more recent than 15 years. As to previous shapes, there was supposed to be some order. With Carriers having one shape, Cruisers another and every one else round. I cannot recall which of the first two were diamonds or pentagons. I I have a suspicion that the shape conventions were never strictly followed.

PS. I can confirm that what is invariably refered to as a "Crest" is officially a "Badge"


At one time the shape of the crest indicated the type of ship, ie capitol, cruiser, minor, aux etc. I think there were originally four shapes, circular, shield, pentagon and diamond or lozenge.These came into force in the early part of the last century. However with the decrease in size of the Navy, the rules have changed. When I don't know. I think there is one shape for sea going ships, one for shore estabs and one for flags and misc etc. A seamanship manual or ancient buffer may be able to tell you more.



A Ships Badges Committee was formed in December 1918. It determined that Badge shapes should be as follows:-

Circular for Battleships
Pentagonal for Cruisers
Shield Shaped for Destroyers
Diamond Shaped for Aircraft Carriers, Depot Ships, Submarines, Sloops and Auxillary Ships.

In 1935 badge design was passed to the College of Heralds.
In 1976 the MOD standardised badges into the following categories:-

Circular for HM Ships, Submarines, RN Air Squadrons
Diamond for Shore Establishments
Pentagonal for RFA, RMAS and PAS vessels

The outer edging represents rope and it would appear that the "lay" of the rope can be left or right! So I suggest that you reproduce the "Sultan" crest just as you have shown it.
Whilst on the subject, can anyone help me please?

I'm sourcing a cap tally and/or ship's crest for HMS Ferret.

Anyone any bright ideas where I might find one please?


phoenixworld said:
Whilst on the subject, can anyone help me please?

I'm sourcing a cap tally and/or ship's crest for HMS Ferret.

Anyone any bright ideas where I might find one please?


Why don't you write to them at the address here?


War Hero
This is a comment not criticism and not looking for bites. Given the number of RN ships surely the 'Badge ' issue should be far better organised than it appears . With 'official'and 'un-official' versions and different interpretations a standard needs to be set . The UK historic and unique art of ' heraldry ' must be involved and what an ideal work of love that would be for a group of former RNers . Such an organisation would make money too.I'm confident that with an efficient international mailing system the sale of ' badges ' would be considerable given the number of ' old salts ' throughout the globe . A standard set for each class of vessel and I do like the ' motto ' in Latin . Anyway , just a thought from an old hand . BTW the designs to be copyright as with the RAN ships badges
bootneck54 said:
:thumright: Heyup.HMS Ferret.Aye jr
I also thank you Bootneck54 - my old man was here during his wartime service.
You don't happen to have access to 'HMS Hurricane' or 'HMS Haydon' by any chance, he was on the former when she was torpedoed, and my OH's dad was on the Haydon when she was also tinfished in the Med.



War Hero
Book Reviewer
Hobbit, my understanding is that there is indeed a system - the 1976 system of circles, diamonds, lozenges etc as reported in another post I believe still holds; for each individual ship the official badge pattern used to be kept in the Ship's Book (but presumably the heralds had a master copy & so also presumably the MoD).

However there are older badges about (e.g from the cruiser London) with the 'old' shapes and these sometimes get copied and used in various ways.

Ships used to turn out their own replicas as souvenirs and sometimes these varied from the official version. For instance in the sixties London's toothy was turning out badges in dental plaster! Also boat badges and tompions tended to be acquired as dockyard rabbits and these sometimes varied from the official design. GMDs had a funnel badge was was a new departure as previously funnel badges were only used for squadrons, not individual ships. The true ship's 'badge' would always be the one on the bridge screen.

Minesweepers (Tons, Leys and Hams) only had a generic official badge but some used a bit of paint, gilding and initiative to cook up something for themselves.

Not all ships have mottoes. These tend to be either an historic acquisition or an unofficial addition.


War Hero
Thanks Seaweed . I figured there is/would be a system so that to me means a lack of control or supervision . Although not devoid of a sense of humour I suggest more respect and control . including copyright , is needed for such a significant part of UK and RN history. I see an industry here of love and dedication not to make money but preserve many years of history. Perhaps as an example , look at what is being done with Pussers Rum , must be a multi million dollar organisation now . Wish I had the cash to have a bash . Cheers SW
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