What’s in a name?


It’s things like this that make me proud to be British. I think to a certain extent we measure ourselves by our navy and so seeing these 60,000 ton carriers nearing completion gives one a sense that things aren’t going too badly. Especially since we’ve just commissioned the Type 45 destroyers and the Astute class SSNs both of which are the best of their kind in the world.

Personally I would have prefered better names. Queen Elizabeth okay, she was on the throne when we beat the Spanish Armarda and presided over the start of our empire and a period of massive naval expansion, so it’s an okay name, but it’s just okay. Prince of Wales on the other hand. The last ship named Prince of Wales was sunk in WW2. It’s one of those names that the RN adopts on a fairly regular basis on the time scale of the RN’s existence, but no ship so named has exactly covered itself in glory. Also I can’t see it striking fear into the hearts of the enemy.

I think that they should have been called Ark Royal and Royal Sovereign  because it would give them a sense of grandeur and power. Or Bellerophon  and Thunderer. I think there should be a rule that capital ships should be named after ships that have been in big battles against the French like Trafalgar or Ushant or Cape St Vincent or The Nile or the Saintes or the Glorious First of June or  Quiberon Bay. The list is somewhat extensive and so picking two names better than Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales should have been easier.

The Type 45s have much better names Daring, Dauntless, Dragon, Diamond, Defender, Duncan. As do the Astute class: Astute, Ambush, Artful, Audacious, Anson, Agamemnon, Ajax. These are all capital ship names and they pretty much say, “Hi, we’re the Royal Navy, we haven’t lost a major engagement in three centuries, now would be a good time to abandon ship.”

Queen Elizabeth though? She’s been dead for five hundred years and Prince of Wales makes you think of old big ears which just isn’t going to provoke fear. Not even in the Americans who don’t even drink when they’re at sea and therefore are not a proper navy. Fuck knows what we’re going to do if we have to fight the Chinese, they don’t even know who the fuck Queen Elizabeth I was.

Think about it: Chinese admiral swims ashore, as is established procedure when the Chinese navy gets rowdy with the Royal Navy, and his government is all, “The fuck happened to you?” and he says “We bumped into Queen Elizabeth” they’re going to be well confused. They’re going to be like, “What? You got sunk by a little old lady?” whereas if he says “Bumped into Ambush” then the situation is pretty self explanatory. The guy was stupid as fuck and should have stayed in harbour like the French do, and the Germans thinking about it, and also the Italians.


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