royalnavy.mod.ukTop Class Employer with Top Class People
Royal NavyRoyal Navy

Rabbits - Run
RABBITS Naval slang name given to articles taken, or intended to be taken, ashore privately. Originally "rabbits" were things taken ashore improperly (i.e. theft or smuggling - the name arose from the ease with which tobacco, etc., could be concealed in the inside of a dead rabbit) but with the passage of time the application of the word has spread to anything taken ashore; an air of impropriety nevertheless still hangs over the use of the word, whether or not this is justified (it seldom is). Hence the phrase "Tuck its ears in", often said to an officer or rating seen going ashore with a parcel.
RAG Raggle To part Brass Rags
RAILWAY

Railway Jetty

Another name for "Farewell Jetty" (qv) - the South Railway Jetty in Portsmouth dockyard.

RAKE To Rake (1) to lean or incline from the perpendicular. (2) to fire into a ship along her length.
RATES The old wooden ships of the navy were classified into "rates" as follows:- First rate - 100 or more guns ) line of Second rate - 90 to 100 guns ) battleships Third rate - 80-84 guns Fourth rate - 60-74 guns Fifth rate - 32-40 guns Sixth rate - less than 32 guns
RATLINE Ratlines or Rattlings The ropes secured horizontally between the shrouds of a sailing vessel to form a ladder (always secured by a clove hitch). hence the expression "to rattle down" meaning to fit ratlines to the shrouds in this manner.
RATTLE Having committed an offence and being placed in the Captain's or Commander's report, a naval rating will say that he is "in the rattle" or he has "scored a rattle" - possibly from the meaning of the word rattle, "to rail at in a noisy manner", as a defaulter supposes the Captain or Commander will do.
RAWALPINDI The Rawalpindi Action The RAWALPINDI was a P & O liner converted into an armed Merchant Cruiser on the outbreak of the 1939/45 war. As an AMC she fought the first really naval action of the war, on 23 November, 1939, off SE Iceland, with the German ships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU. The RAWALPINDI went down with her colours flying; over 260 men were lost; her Captain (EC Kennedy) went down with the ship. The SCHARNHORST was originally reported as the DEUTSCHLAND so in some stories it is related that the RAWALPINDI was sunk by the DEUTSCHLAND.
REASONS "Reasons in Writing" When a (junior) officer commits a peccadillo his Captain may call upon him to submit "his reasons in writing" for what he has done. This calls for a detailed written explanation, worded in very official language - and often closes the incident.
RED "Red Lead" Sailors' slang name for tinned tomatoes (sometimes also referred to as "Train smash") or tinned herrings in tomato sauce. "To be in the Red" Naval slang expression meaning to be in debt to the Crown; debtor balances are recorded in the naval pay ledger in red ink.
REEFER An old naval name for a Midshipman; but it is more a Merchant Navy term than a Royal Navy one. The name is said to have come from the days when all officers except Midshipmen wore frock coats: Midshipmen then wore short jackets, known as "Reefers" - i.e. ordinary frock coats which had had a reef taken in them. Another explanation is that the name was given to Midshipmen because it was their job to superintend the operations of reefing the sails, see MIDSHIPMAN UNIFORM (Officers)
RESERVE The Royal Fleet Reserve SHIP-NAMES OF RESERVE FLEET DIVISIONS Chatham ...... HMS NEPTUNE Clyde ........ HMS JUPITER Hythe ........ HMS DILIGENCE Plymouth ...... HMS ORION Portsmouth ... HMS BELLEROPHON
REVENGE Sir Richard Grenville in the 'Revenge' In 1591 the REVENGE (Sir Richard Grenville) was one of six HM ships cruising off the Azores on the look out for the Spanish treasure fleet. On receiving news that the Spanish ships numbered no less than 53, Sir Thomas Howard (Flag Officer in command) ordered the British ships to withdraw; 5 of them managed to do so but REVENGE was delayed embarking her sick men from the shore and so faced the whole Spanish force by herself. The fight lasted some 36 hours: the REVENGE yielded when her masts were gone and her ammunition expended. The ship was so badly damaged that she sank next day.
REVIEW Royal Reviews of the British Fleet 23 to 27 June 1774 Spithead George III 25 June 1814 Spithead Prince Regent, Treaty of Paris. 1842 Victoria 19 June 1845 Spithead Victoria 11 Aug 1853 Spithead Victoria 23 April 1856 Spithead Victoria End of Crimea War 17 July 1867 Spithead Victoria Visit of Sultan of Turkey 23 June 1873 Spithead Duke of Edinburgh Visit of Shah of Persia 25 July 1887 Spithead Victoria Golden Jubilee 5 - 6 August 1889 Spithead P of W Visit of German Emperor 26 June 1897 Spithead P of W Diamond Jubilee 16 August 1902 Edward VII Coronation 7 to 9 August 1905 Spithead Edward VII Entente Cordiale (Br & Fr) 17 - 24 July 1909 Thames - Inspection by Lord Mayor of London 31 July 1909 Spithead Edward VII 24 June 1911 Spithead George V Coronation 7 - 11 May 1912 Weymouth George V 9 July 1912 Spithead Visit of House of Parliament 20 July 1914 Spithead George V 21 - 22 July 1919 Southend MP's visit. Peace celebrations 26 July 1924 Spithead George V 16 July 1935 Spithead George V Silver Jubilee 20 May 1937 Spithead George VI Coronation 15 June 1953 Spithead Elizabeth II Coronation. Coronation Naval Review, 1953 On Monday, 15 June 1953, HM the Queen (accompanied by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh) reviewed the Fleet at Spithead. 197 British warships were present (under the command of Admiral Sir George Creasy) together with 13 commonwealth warships, 16 foreign warships and representative ships of the British Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets. HM the Queen used HMS SURPRISE as her yacht for the occasion; the Board of Admiralty used
HMS REDPOLE After the review of the ships some 300 FAA aircraft (led by Rear-Admiral Couchman) flew past. Ships were illuminated after nightfall and a firework display was given between 2300 and 2330.
RFR The Royal Fleet Reserve The naval reserve force (ratings only) in which men on "SS" engagements spend their 5 years and in which other ex-RN men may volunteer to serve. Men in the RFR are liable to recall in emergency (with bounty) and to one weekly training every other year. They receive a "retainer" while in the Reserve (1/6, 1/3 or 1/- a day according to rating). see MOUSTACHE
RIG "The Rig of the Day" Naval name for the type of uniform directed to be worn each day; it is piped at breakfast time in each ship daily.
RIGGER (1) Former (pre-1939) official title of ratings serving in the Royal yacht Service. see YACHT (2) Official name for certain dockyard employees.
RIGHT "Right of the Reel" Naval expression meaning to go free without any obstruction, like a rope or log-line from its reel.
RIGOL Official name for the curved metal fitting on the ship's side above a scuttle to deflect water running down the ship's side from entering the souttle. Sometimes unofficially called "eyebrows", for obvious reasons.
RINGER "Ringers" Sailors' (not officers') slang name in conjunction with a number to denote an officer (e.g., Three-ringer = Commander), from the rings of gold lace worn on the sleeve. By officers, the word used is STRIPER.
RISK "To Risk the Run" An old naval expression signifying to sail in war time unescorted.
RNAS

The Royal Naval Air Services

Formed 1914; incorporated with the Royal Flying Corps on 1 April, 1918, to form the Royal Air Force. At that time the RNAS comprised over 100 airships, nearly 3000 other aircraft (aeroplanes, seaplanes, flying boats), 126 air stations and some 67000 officers and men. Naval flying began in 1908 with an airship used for reconnaissance.

RNER The Royal Naval Emergency Reserve This reserve force consists of - (a) volunteers - up to age 45; (b) officers and men who served in the armed forces between 3 September 1939, and 31 December, 1948, who are not in any other organised service reserve. These persons are discharged from the Reserve on reaching the age of 45 or on 30 June, 1959 (as the law now stands) whichever is the earlier.
RNR The Royal Naval Reserve This reserve force, for professional mariners only was officially founded in 1859. It is open to both officers and ratings, all of whom are volunteers. Periodical refresher courses with the Navy are held. The Air branch of the RNR, for professional pilots employed by civilian firms engaged on Admiralty contract work, was instituted in October 1954.
RNSR The Royal Naval Special Reserve This is the reserve force in which naval national service men spend the balance of their 10? years' national service after their release from full-time national service. RNSR men are liable to a total of 60 days' training (not more than 21 days in any one year) in their first 3? years in the reserve, and to recall in an emergency. No retainer is payable.
RNVR The Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve The "Fencibles" were formed in 1794; the unofficial force called the "RN Artillery Volunteers" was formed in 1872 but disbanded in 1892. It was resuscitated, officially, in 1903 under the name of the "Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve". On 4 August, 1914 the total strength was 4200 officers and ratings: by 1918 this total had reached 38,000 (not including the RN Division, who served as soldiers on land in France. The strength in 1939 was some 8,000 officers and ratings. Prior to the 1914/18 war the force was often known as "Harry Tate's Navy" (from a popular music hall star of the time). The London division was at one time nicknamed the "Blackfriars Buccaneers". Nicknamed the "Wavy Navy" from the waved white tapes on the original RNVR seamen's collars, not from the officer's sleeve lace. Reviewed by Queen Elizabeth II on Horse Guards Parade 12 June, 1954, as Golden Jubilee. The Royal Marines and WRNS each have their own comparable reserve forces. RNVR Divisions London HMS PRESIDENT, King' Reach, EC4 Central 3307 Clyde HMS GRAHAM, Whitefield Rd, Govan, Glasgow SW1 Ibrox 1214 Forth HMS CLAVERHOUSE, Granton Sq, Edinburgh 5 Granton 89109 Humber HMS GALATEA, Earles Rd, Hedon Rd, Hull Hull 31666 Mersey HMS EAGLET Salthouse Dock, Liverpool 3 Royal 7308 Seven HMS FLYING FOX, Mardyke Rd, Bristol 8 Bristol 20320 Solent HMS WESSEX, 14 Berth Southampton Docks So'ton 76241 Sussex HMS SUSSEX, RNVR Battery, Hove Hove 7686 Tay HMS CRESSY, Dundee Dundee 5339 Tune HMS CALLIOPE, Newcastle-on-Tyne Newcastle 35493 Ulster HMS CAROLINE, Milewater Basin, Belfast Belfast 44221 S Wales HMS CAMBRIA, 245 East Dock Cardiff
ROCK "The Rock" Common name for Gibraltar.
ROCK SCORPION Naval name for a resident of Gibraltar - originally a Gibraltar policeman only but the meaning has widened; the first word is often omitted.
ROCKY Common slang name for an BNVR officer or rating.
ROGUE'S YARN A coloured thread laid up in the yarns of a rope, both to label it as naval property (hence the name) and to 'identify its place of manufacture.
ROUND "Round the Bend" Naval slang for Half-witted. "To Go Round the Buoy" Naval expression for coming up, usually surreptitiously, for a second helping of food, especially in cafeteria messing. "Roundly" Naval word for Quickly: the opposite to handsomely.
ROUSE Rouse and Shine The traditional naval morning awakening cry; often quoted as "Rise" and Shine.
ROXBURGH "The Robert Roxburgh Memorial Prize" Founded 1917 by Mrs J R Roxburgh in memory of her son, Midshipman Robert Roxburgh, of HMS INDEFATIGABLE who was killed in the battle of Jutland, 31 May, 1916. The interest on a sum of money is employed in providing a prize each term for the Cadet who obtains the highest place in the grand aggregate of marks in the Passing-out examination at the Britannia BN College, Dartmouth. The prize consists of books, accoutrements or other articles selected by the successful cadet subject to the discretion of the captain of the College.
RPC Entertainment signal (= "Request the Pleasure of your Company") to which the reply is either WMP (= "With Much Pleasure") or MRU (= "Much Regret Unable").
RUB "The Rub" Naval expression meaning the Blame or Responsibility. "A Rub of Rubber" Naval slang word for a Loan. "A Rub of the Green" or "A Green Rub" Naval slang expression for an Unfortunate mishap.
RUM Before the XXII century, the ration of drink in the Navy was one gallon of beer or wine a day. Owing to stowage difficulties, Admiral Blake introduced brandy instead of beer in about 1650; rum replaced brandy in 1687 following our conquest of Jamaica. The ration then was half a pint of rum twice daily - half that quantity for Boys.
Admiral Vernon introduced the watering-down of the rum in 1740, adding one quart of water to each half-pint of rum (which mixture was soon called Grog since that was Admiral Vernon's naval nickname). The evening issue was abolished in 1824 and the ration reduced to one gill in 1850. The issue of rum to Wardroom and Gunroom officers was stopped in 1881: to Warrant officers in 1918. see also BEER: GROG: SPLICE: UA
RUMBO Condemned rope.
RUN To Run Naval official word meaning to Desert; a man who has deserted is marked R or RUN in official records.

To Run like a Rigger To run at a considerable speed. This is a corruption of "running a rig", a trick practised by pirates of running away from a more powerful vessel and, when out of sight, quickly altering the appearance of the ship.