HMS Portsmouth


For years in rubys on commercial road there have been two crests to HMS Portsmouth. I know she was disgraced in the face of the enemy and the name stricken.Who was she and why is her name incomunicado, never to be spoken or issued again. Was it to do with Admiral Byng or is there another ship not told about, i have trawles the www and it seems to drag up reference to victory barracks , HMS Nelson and sea cadets who think the yard is HMS Portsmouth

Looking forward to answers


War Hero
The latest i can find is HMS Porstmouth 5th Rate ship of the line,built in Deptford 1707 and used as a Hospital ship from 1720 till being broken up in 1728.An earlier mention was 1690.

PORTSMOUTH,32. 6th rate (1690 Portsmouth. Captured 1696)
1693 Capt. John CLEMENTS, who was promoted on 13 July from being first lieutenant of the BRITANNIA and was employed as a cruiser in the Channel. In July 1694, in company with CANTERBURY, he he gave chase to a large French ship mounting 36 guns, bound from St. Malo to Marseilles with a valuable cargo, consisting mainly of sugar. The PORTSMOUTH, being headmost in the chase, had nearly got up, when the enemy fired all the aftermost guns that would bear, accompanied by a volley of small-shot, one of which instantly killed Capt. CLEMENTS, the only person to suffer death or injury. The enemy surrendered immediately afterwards.

I found a further ref of an entry in the Parish records.

Apr 19 1867 James DELAFIELD, full age, widower, Seaman, HMS ? Portsmouth & Emily EARLE, full age, spinster, ? Street, Landport, fathers Joseph DELAFIELD, ? & ? in the presence of ? & Sarah EARLE

As far as i can ascertain HMS Porstmouth was the only ship to "Strike its Colours in the Face of the Enemy"Wether this means it struck with no shot fired im not sure.I cant actully find a direct ref to this occurance.It maybe worth dropping the IWM a line.
There are a couple of stories:

1. She struck her colours in the face of the enemy in the late 18th century during the war with the US.

2. She surrendered during the 2nd World War without firing a shot.

Can't find any reference on Google though.


Found all the ones prior to 1900. It is the ww2 angle i am interested in .Even tried the Naval Library in the Guidhall, asked about onboard, etc but it seems confined to the myths and history. When i joined up there were little snippets but as it is ,most matelots today dont even know what the fiddlers green is .Will the FOI act help???


War Hero
Try the national archive, they've now got post WWII material released and they've got a number of professional researchers who might be able to help.

Saves messing about with FOI into MOD.


War Hero
The Rhyl started life out as HMS Portsmouth, but rumour had that her name was changed before commissioning because of the uproar over the Plymouth and the cost overruns (Guzz dockyard was trying to build the best flashiest ship in the world).
I wonder what happened to the plaque on the skipper’s cabin door with all the captains’ names on it, it was said to be made out o original timbers and copper rivets from the Victory.


This old chestnut is one of the most stupidly persistent naval myths - ffs stop believing it! There isn't an HMS PORTSMOUTH for the same reason there isn't an HMS DEVONPORT, simply to avoid confusion with the Naval Base. The Admiralty Librarian is secretary to the Ships' Names and Badges Committee, so she can give you chapter and verse, though whether she will feel the need to all over again is quite another matter.
FOI? Get a grip - Colledge and Wardlow's Ships of the Royal Navy is all you need, and must be available at the Guildhall Library


Lantern Swinger
Ruby's :The Royal Standard" remember it well. First went in there in 64, the last time was(I think) in about 94 and Ruby was still there. God bless her, a lovely lady.

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