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Fifth RN Polaris: Source for the name "Ramillies"

uk 75

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I know this general subject has come up before, but with the growing access to documents in the NAO and
elsewhere I thought I would just check this one again.

I first saw "Ramillies" listed as the cancelled fifth RN Polaris submarine in Conway's fighting ships when it appeared
in the 80s. However, I have never seen a source given as to whether the MOD announced this name at any stage
or if indeed it reached the Ships Naming Committee. In an earlier thread on this theme it was suggested that other
"Re" names existed which would have sounded more in tune with Resolution, Revenge, Renown and Repulse. Ramilllies
would have seemed very odd in the 1960s as a name for a national strategic deterrent vessel..

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Grey Havoc

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On the other hand, the last built HMS Ramillies, a Revenge class battleship (07), gave stout service in both World Wars. In the Second World War, despite her age and obsolescence (especially in terms of machinery which limited her to a 20 knot emergency speed), her firepower was still enough to often deter enemies from attacking herself and ships under her protection (she was often used as an escort to convoys, usually, but not always primarily made up of slow vessels), and where deterrence failed, 15 inch guns usually proved effective. She saw action in just about every major theatre of the war including D-Day, where she both acted as a valuable (and highly effective) shore bombardment platform (including some eventful counterbattery) and saw off attacks by German naval forces (a couple of destroyers and numerous E-boats) hoping to disrupt the landings.

As for a Polaris being named for her, the clincher may have been that, "in the course of her Normandy engagement she fired 1,002 15-inch (381 mm) shells, thought to be the greatest bombardment by any single ship to that time". (Wikipedia entry)

The origin of the name, the Battle of Ramillies (1706), might suggest that Great Britain also wanted to signal with that choice of name that she would always stick with her allies in Europe, through thick and thin (as well as, possibly, a bit of a dig at France). Just a guess though.

The fact that she appears to have been a 'lucky ship', especially when compared to some of her predecessors, may have also entered into it somewhere. ;)


[IMAGE CREDIT: The Wartime Memories Project]
 

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Grey

Thank you. It makes a detailed case for the possible choice of "Ramillies". Now we
need to find out if the MOD actually promulgated the name.

A similar story happened with the last Trident sub-Vengeance. Originally she was
mentioned as being called Venerable or even in some sources-Valiant. Like the
R class boats all 4 have received deterrent related names: Vanguard Vigilant Victorious

A name like Resistance or Retaliation would perhaps have fitted the R class more than Ramillies, despite
its excellent pedigree as a name. Maybe one day we will learn more...
 

Hood

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All of the Resolution class were names that were used for the original dreadnaught R Class, Renown and Repulse later being cancelled and redesigned as battlecruisers. As Ramillies was an R Class name it is as plausible as any other. Royal Oak would have been avoided due to events of 1939 and any bad connotations the name had.
 

Pirate Pete

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I too recall seeing mention of the fifth RN SSBN being intended to be named Ramillies, although it was a LONG time ago, and I cannot recall where.
The only other name available from the original "R" class names would have been Royal Sovereign, and I don't foresee that being used for an SSBN, although Sovereign was later used for one of the "S" class SSN's.
The only other source for "R" names would have been the late Victorian period pre-dreadnoughts, which included Resistance.
 

TsrJoe

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Fifth vessel, SSBN05, is noted as to be named 'HMS. Ramillies' in Polaris (the history of the UK 's submarine force), Keith Hall, History Press, 2018
 

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