This will make you smile

I'm not really sure what the point of the "That's what you get after 60 years of Labour & Conservative Government" bit is.

More accurately it should say "That's what you get after 60 years of post war economic turmoil, the collapse of the empire and the end of the cold war."

The fact is, we don't actually need a Navy as big as we did in 1953, fair dos it should be a little bit bigger than it is now, but having 19 aircraft carriers is ridiculous.

Also the 23 is bigger than the 45, all credibility is lost. :)
The figures are quite staggering non the less, (politics aside). When you consider the size of the population of the country in comparison the the size of the naval force assigned to protect that same country!
Interestingly, the UK population in 1953 was 50.9M and in 2011, 62.4M. So the '53 population was around 81% of our present population whereas our current DD/FF numbers are just ove 6% of those in '53. Even allowing for the difference in capabilities, that does look rather bum about face. Also, arguably, the Carrier count now is Nil but the Cruiser (through deck) count should be One. Of course, we didn't have any purpose built Assault ships in '53, so we'd have to add 1 LPH and 2 LPDs to the current Carrier count.

Anyway 2_deck-dash makes a fair point; but still, bloody hell!
I don't really see how the size of the population is relevant to the size of the Navy. Brazil has nearly 200 million people living there, yet it's Navy is only marginally bigger than our's and arguably less capable. Surely it's about the country itself and it's economic status?

One could argue that the Navy of 1953 was actually the British Empire's Navy in which case it had the job of protecting a quarter of the World's population.
We also didn't have SSN's or SSBN's. We also had lots of foreign bases such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Malta etc etc to base port all these ships, not basically run them from the UK. Trust Johnny Foreigner to want his country back so we couldn't base our fleets there, tsk!
I would imagine a lot of those ships were leftovers from WW2, as indeed were many of the sailors at that time.

Edited to add....... and they were cheaper to run/pay
If you read some of the dits about RN admin and conditions of service (incl. retention), the only things that have changed since the 50's is the size of the fleet!

Royal Navy, including HMS Affray, 1951-1960

edited to add here's a taster if you can't be bothered with all of it..

1 9 5 4

General Service Commissions for ships introduced and to last 18 months instead of 30 months of foreign service. Aircraft Carrier commissions to be 2 year and foreign service for all other ships restricted to 18 months.

Shore foreign service to remain as 30 months with free family passages

Pay increases announced.

Married quarters building started in Home Ports.

New Queens Regulations and Admiralty Instructions published.

National Service intake increased to 6,500.

Modernisation of ship and shore accommodation announced.

Comparison of costs of Commercial and Royal Dockyard refits raised in Parliament.

Official List of Battle Honours promulgated In Admiralty Fleet Order.


Midshipmen no longer to serve at sea.

Lack of sea time available is evident for Seamen Branch officers.

Shortage of Seamen Branch List Officers.

Premature retirement to be permitted at 'own request'.


Increased concern evident about lack of Re-engagement and a deterioration in recruiting generally.

Complaints made in Press included Food, Discipline, Uniform, Hot Water rationing in ships and effects of family separation.

Discharge by Purchase regulations introduced. 70 applications out of 107 officers approved. 830 application out of 1,016 ratings approved

Broadside messing still in use.

Entitlement for all Good Conduct Badge changed to 4 year intervals, instead of first after 3 years service, second after 8 years and third after 13 years by Admiralty Fleet Order 2132/54.

PILCHER Committee Report accepted and Leading Ratings and above can chose trial by Court Martial instead of summary punishment by commanding officer.

Article in Press about re-introduction of Warrant Rank
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Wasnt there a dit about the mob submiting plans for new cruisers and the bean counters said , no chance, so county class cruiser was crossed out and county class destroyer written in
Shades of no new aircraft carriers so call them through deck cruisers there if true.
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