The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is consequently known as the Senior Service.
- The royal navy of England has ever been its greatest defence and ornament; it is its ancient and natural strength; the floating bulwark of the island.
- Sir William Blackstone (1765), Commentaries, Volume I, Book I, chapter xiii., p. 387
- During the civil war the naval contribution to the parliamentary cause was secondary. Victory was decided on land. The fact that Parliament had control of the navy was none the less vital in making victory possible. If the king had retained control of the fleet the royalists could have blockaded London, and the resulting economic dislocation might easily have generated enough popular pressure to force Parliament into peace on almost any terms. During the war the navy's undramatic work in protecting commerce kept up the level of customs revenues and helped finance the war-effort. The navy was an effective deterrent to any foreign monarch tempted to send help to Charles. It assisted land campaigns by transporting supplies and reinforcements and by providing mobile artillery. It played an important role in maintaining the outposts at Hull and Plymouth, and contributed to the capture of Bristol and Newcastle. The earl of Warwick, as Lord High Admiral, and his vice-admiral and successor William Batten provided vigorous and effective leadership.
- Bernard Capp, Cromwell's Navy: The Fleet and the English Revolution, 1648-1660 (1989), p. 2-3
- During the interregnum the navy's role was far more spectacular. The rulers of continental Europe were horrified by the execution of the king in January 1649 and all repudiated the new Commonwealth. The navy was thus needed to protect England from possible invasion and to force foreign powers to recognize the new regime. Over the next eleven years it was almost continuously in action, both defensive and offensive.
- Bernard Capp, Cromwell's Navy: The Fleet and the English Revolution, 1648-1660 (1989), p. 3
- In July 1642 Charles I's splendid navy defected to Parliament without firing a shot. Throughout the First English Civil War the king thus faced the humiliation of fighting his own 'royal' navy. Far more was at stake, of course, than injured pride. As Clarendon observed, the loss of the fleet was 'of unspeakable ill consequence to the king's affairs', and dealt a devastating blow to his chances of winning the war. While command of the navy could never guarantee victory, without it Parliament would have faced almost certain and rapid defeat.
- Bernard Capp, The Civil Wars: A Military History of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1638-1660 (1998), edited by John Kenyon and Jane Ohlmeyer, p. 156
- Ever since the days of old the Navy's ruled the waves.
- For years they've told the world that Britain's never shall be slaves.
- The Navy still remembers and you'll often hear them say
- What Nelson told Napoleon upon Trafalgar day.
- It serves you right, you shouldn't have joined, it jolly well serves you right.
- It serves you right, you shouldn't have joined, you might have been sitting tight
- You might have been in Civvy Street instead of in the fight
- But it serves you right, you shouldn't have joined, it jolly well serves you right
- George Formby, "It Serves Me Right", Bell-Bottom George (1943)
- "Belli dura despicio" ("I Despise the Hard Knocks of War")
- The seeming helplessness of our cousins strikes me as amusing when it is not annoying. I am sure what they wish in their hearts is that we would haul down the Stars and Stripes and hoist the White Ensign in all our ships. What particularly irks me is their strong liking for mixed forces, which as you know approached anathema to me. I am willing to take over additional tasks- and we have done so- but I cannot be expected to agree to help them cling to tasks that they themselves say they are unable to do unless we lend them our ships and other forces. I think we have done enough for them in their Home Fleet.
- Ernest King, in a letter from King to Admiral Harold B. Stark in November 1943, as quoted in Churchill's Anchor: Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound (2000) by Robin Brodhurst.
- During the Civil War consideration was given by the British government to using the Royal Navy to help the Free State Army. However, it was decided that such an action was unnecessary and would only embarrass the Provisional government in Dublin. The Royal Navy remained aloof during the conflict, although its presence dominated Ireland's coastal waters.
- Aidan McIvor, A History of the Irish Naval Service (1994), p. 46
- The Irish army is held in high regard among most Irish people. It is seen as a manifestation of sovereignty, especially as the army claims an unbroken link with the insurrectionists of 1916. Unfortunately the Naval Service enjoys no such legacy; founded in 1946, its first commanding officer was from the Royal Navy.
- Aidan McIvor, A History of the Irish Naval Service (1994), p. 220
- "Mare ditat rosa decorat" (The sea enriches and the rose adorns)
- HMS Montrose's Motto
- "Si vis pacem, para bellum" (Latin) (If you wish for peace, prepare for war)
- Royal Navy's Motto
- Encyclopedic article on Royal Navy on Wikipedia