Royal Navy draws from the past to name future frigates

Babcock Team 31 has been contracted by the U.K. Ministry of Defence to deliver five Type 31 frigates. BABCOCK

The Royal Navy’s new Type 31 frigates will be an inspiration. According to First Sea Lord, Adm. Tony Radakin, who released the names of the first five ships, the frigates will be known as the Inspiration class.

“Each of the names has been chosen for evoking those values we strive for: cutting-edge technology, audacity and global operations,” Radakin said. “They represent the best of Britain’s world-class shipbuilding heritage and will fly the flag for decades to come.”

According to the Royal Navy statement, the names, which were approved by Queen Elizabeth II herself, will be HMS Active, HMS Bulldog, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Formidable and HMS Venturer.

Each of the names were inspired by noteworthy warships and submarines in Royal Navy service.

  • HMS Active: Named after the Type 21 frigate HMS Active which served the Royal Navy from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s. As well as taking part in the operation to liberate the Falklands, supporting the final battles for Port Stanley, Active spent her career deployed in support of Britain’s Overseas Territories and global interests, from tackling drug traffickers to enforcing UN embargos and providing humanitarian aid in the aftermath of natural disasters.
  • HMS Bulldog: Named after the destroyer which helped turn the tables in the Battle of the Atlantic thanks to the bravery of her boarding party. They searched stricken U-boat U110 in May 1941 and recovered the Germans’ “unbreakable” coding machine, Enigma, plus codebooks. It gave Britain a vital intelligence lead at a key stage in the struggle to keep its Atlantic lifelines open.
  • HMS Campbeltown: Named after the wartime destroyer which led the commando raid at St. Nazaire in France. In March 1942, the ship rammed the dock gates and hidden explosives aboard blew up, wreaking havoc in the port and denying its use to major German warships for the rest of World War II. The action epitomizes the raiding ethos driving the Royal Marines’ Future Commando Force.
  • HMS Formidable: Named after the WW II carrier which epitomized carrier strike operations from Norway, through the Mediterranean to the Pacific. She survived kamikaze strikes and took the war to the Japanese mainland with Lt. Cmdr. Robert Hampton Gray earning the last naval VC of the war for his daring sinking of a Japanese destroyer just six days before Tokyo surrendered.
  • HMS Venturer: Named after the WW II submarine which sank German U-boat U864 northwest of Bergen, Norway, on Feb. 9, 1945, while both vessels were submerged. Venturer enjoyed a technological and intelligence advantage over her foe thanks to decoded messages indicating the enemy’s location and a superbly trained crew who located and destroyed the U-boat. It was the first time one submarine had deliberately sunk another while submerged.

The names also represent the Royal Navy’s future vision, the statement said. “HMS Active signifies the forward deployment of Royal Navy ships to protect U.K. values and interests, whilst HMS Bulldog is focused on operational advantage in the North Atlantic. HMS Campbeltown symbolizes the ‘raiding from the sea’ focus of the Royal Marines’ Future Commando Force, HMS Formidable recognizes the history of aircraft carrier strike operations and HMS Venturer promotes the navy’s technology and innovation forward-look.”