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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this is a stupid question but not being a naval person I need a little help.
I am researching two vessels named HMS Eastbourne. The first a minesweeper, J.127 1941, and the second, a frigate, F.73 1955. I have details from www.naval-history.net.
The question is: Are the ships named at launch or at the Commissioning ceremony?
In fact, any information about the ships would help.
 

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am a little fuzzy? the word commissioning??? The ship vessel is launched;however is it not commissioned, until a crew under a master are signed on/COMMISIONED for a voyage, and all the crew stay aboard for the commissioned voyage!
The vessel remains registered with the Admiralty until officially decomissioned/sold or scrapped from Admiralty service.
I may be talking a load of fairy stories-Somebody may put me right? I trust.
 

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I would say named at launch, breaking the bottle on the prow to appease the Gods!

I agree with CC - Commissioning would be similar to acceptance following trials and would involve handover from the shipyard (under the red ensign) to the RN (now under the white ensign).

Rgds.
Dave
 

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The OP is talking about naval vessels. Not the same as a merchant ships.

A naval vessel would have a launching ceremony with bottle etc. The ship would then be outfitted and then would go on acceptance trials and the ship would then be handed over to the 'owner' as in Ministry of Defense. When the ship is completed the captain & crew are put on board and there is a ceremony of commissioning and the ship is put onto the 'active' list. The ship might be for a period under commission, a year or two. If the ship is put under refit, not like a short drydocking, the ship will be taken out of commission. Following refit, the ship ship will have another ceremony of commissioning.
 

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CC.
A Naval vessel would not have a 'master'. They would have a Captain one who is the Commanding Officer. The C.O. might be a captain, but no necessarily with that 'rank'. Small vessel he might have the rank of Lt. or Lt. Cdr or Captain. In one case, HMY BRITANNIA the captain was a Rear Admiral.

Royal Navy did have 'Masters' back in the day of sail. The Captain would be in command but one of the senior officers would be the 'Sailing Master' and one with the ability to navigate!

Stephen
 

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A fairly recent high profile example;
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Named by HM on 4th July 2014.
Officially ‘launched’ - 14th July 2014.
Commissioned, in presence of HM, on 7th December 2017.

So yes, a Naval ship sails under its name before acceptance or commissioning.
 

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But, Stephen, when is it named? I maintain when it is launched.

Rgds.
Dave
The name might be an 'intended' name but it will definitely would have a 'Yard Number'. It is tradition to give the name to a vessel on the launching, but not always. A vessel might be launched and fitted out etc and even given a name AFTER the first voyage!

1996. I went to Margera for the launch of the ms ROTTERDAM. There was a bit of strike with the yard. The 'party' was there. The ship was lying in the building dock, unfinished. The first was a trek up to the uppermost deck. The mast was there and two coins were in a clear acrylic block. The last couple of inches of weld were done. The mast was officially 'stepped' as in old tradition. Then onto the dockside with the official group. The bottle of champagne was smashed on the side of the bow. The sluice valves were opened and the dock was flooded. Because of the 'strike' they would not float the ship. The dock was flooded up until about of six inches of water was there to wet the keel. The strike ended a couple of days later and the ship was floated. The ship was completed many months later and then finally sailed to Lauderdale. She had done the trials etc and the delivery voyage to L'dale. Then did a couple of party cruises for 'guests'. I did one. Good fun. Finally the ship would make the full paying cruise. Passengers boarded. The first event was to have a special ceremony and held in the show lounge. The godmother would pour champagne over the ships bell. The party would then come down to the pier and the ship would officially 'christened' with even more champagne. All of this nonsense is purely hype for the press. Most cruise ships are done this way. Even the latest was done this way. The ship was launched in Italy, christened in the yard and later the ship was sent to Southampton to give another christening by HM. Personally the launch should be THE christening, all of the rest is hype.

There have been ships that have been launched with a name and then the name has changed before or at completion. Many ships have changed names and have had an official 'christening'.

I'm trying to think of any ships that have has a 'godfather' instead of godmother.

Stephen
 

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A notable difference. Not all ships are given on launching. White Star Line did not go for christening ceremony for their ships. They would fire a rocket and the ship would be launched, No name, no ceremony. Notable ship? The TITANIC. The Yard Foreman did the job. To my knowledge there was no ceremony after and not before the maiden voyage.

Once in a while things go wrong. The 'Q4' up on Clydebank in 1967. The ship's name was intended simply QUEEN ELIZABETH. When the Queen named the ship she said, "I name this ship QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND". To avoid embarrassment the name was simply put on the ship as QUEEN ELIZABETH 2. The small card with the name on was given to HM with the words QUEEN ELIZABETH. This card is in the Glasgow Archives. There is footage of the naming with the Queen's 'error'.

Stephen
 

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A warship is indeed commissioned and whist in commission wears a small triangular pennant at the mast head (her commissioning pennant). In the RAN (prior to her commissioning) the vessel is called by her name but referred to as NUSHIP "whatever". A ship can not wear the white ensign or be referred to as H.M.A.S until she is commissioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys for your help and the information on commissioning. That has cleared up a misunderstanding I had. Much appreciated.
 

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What will be used if Australia become a republic? A.N.S. - Australia Navy Ship or Australian Naval Ship?
That is a very good question, your offering is quite feasible but for all the talk I don't honestly think it will happen in my lifetime. Having said that, quite a few people have said things will change with the passing of the current Queen, so who knows.
 

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Shame to have to go about designing new flags etc.
True but, the Current Australian White Ensign is relatively new, being promulgated in 1967, from 1911 till 1967 we used the British White Ensign.

When Australia became involved in the Vietnam War we had a problem, Britain WAS NOT involved in that war so we could not sail into Vietnamese waters wearing the ensign of a (in that conflict) neutral country, hence the AWE was born.
 

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True but, the Current Australian White Ensign is relatively new, being promulgated in 1967, from 1911 till 1967 we used the British White Ensign.

When Australia became involved in the Vietnam War we had a problem, Britain WAS NOT involved in that war so we could not sail into Vietnamese waters wearing the ensign of a (in that conflict) neutral country, hence the AWE was born.
Many thanks. Can't beat learning a little of history first thing in the morning!

The Great War 1914-18. What colour ensign did Australian ships fly as a 'battle ensign'? Trick question. :)
 

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Many thanks. Can't beat learning a little of history first thing in the morning!

The Great War 1914-18. What colour ensign did Australian ships fly as a 'battle ensign'? Trick question. :)
A trick question indeed, the Australian flag regulations were a bit confusing in those days ashore and at sea. Firstly, the Australian ships were basically treated as the Australian squadron of the Royal Navy and came under admiralty orders. To my understanding when going into battle in the First World War, admiralty regulations were to fly 2 battle ensigns in case one was shot away. Going back to the days of sail the method of surrender was to "strike your colours", so it was important that you kept at least one ensign flying. Initially the 2nd ensign was blue then it changed to red. On shore, only a government building could fly the Australian Blue Ensign which was (and is ) the official Australian flag, it had been deemed that the blue ensign should be for official government use only. The Australian Red Ensign (used for Australian registered merchant ships) was the flag of the people and could be flown by anyone and from any non FEDERAL government building. It gets even more confusing, during both WWI and WWII the Australian army used both the blue and red ensigns at different times! This confusion of who could fly what continued until the Flag Act of the early '50s when it was finally set in legislation what each flag should be used for.
 

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Aye Mac,

Many thanks.

From 1914 the flag rules when going into battle were the same from RN, RAN, RNZN. Several battle flags would be flown. The problem with white ensigns was that you could not be sure who you were shooting at. The German Imperial Navy used a white ensign as well! So the RN set the rules that coloured flags would be flown in addition to the white ensign. The battle ensigns would include white, blue and red. The rules changed during the war.

Here are the details:


In WWI the second ensign was not white.

Because the German Imperial naval ensign was, in poor visibility liable to confusion with the White Ensign the Admiralty issued a succession of orders about the use of additional flags.

2nd September 1914. Ships were to hoist a Blue Ensign as well as a White Ensign when going into action or approaching a suspicious vessel.

6th September 1914. Order revoked and the Union Flag was to be used in addition to the White Ensign.

November 1914. Changed again; the Red Ensign was to be the additional flag.

11th January 1916. Back to the Union Flag with the White Ensign.

The war ended before they could change their minds again.

End:

What caught me eye earlier this morning was a repro of a painting of HMAS SYDNEY in action with SMS EMDEN in 1914. The nice painting showed that SYDNEY was flying a white ensign instead as a blue ensign. Not just 'any' blue ensign, but that she was flying the Australian Blue Ensign. There are a couple of paintings of the SYDNEY/EMDEN action and they show only white ensigns. That is not right. The painting below shows the Australian Blue flying and likely done by one of the officers on HMAS SYDNEY and the flags were likely correct.

Thanks.

Stephen

As below:

Quote:

In WWI the second ensign was not white.

Because the German Imperial naval ensign was, in poor visibility liable to confusion with the White Ensign the Admiralty issued a succession of orders about the use of additional flags.

2nd September 1914. Ships were to hoist a Blue Ensign as well as a White Ensign when going into action or approaching a suspicious vessel.

6th September 1914. Order revoked and the Union Flag was to be used in addition to the White Ensign.

November 1914. Changed again; the Red Ensign was to be the additional flag.

11th January 1916. Back to the Union Flag with the White Ensign.

The war ended before they could change their minds again.

End Quote.


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Two fine paintings. First is EMDEN before SYDNEY could get at her and the second of SYDNEY moving out of the Heads.

Stephen

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