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During the last 500 years, ten ships from the Royal Navy have been named HMS Vanguard.  The original Vanguard was a 32-gun galleon launched in 1586, from Woolwich, and played an integral part against the Spanish Armada 1588.
The second Vanguard, launched in 1631 was a 56-gun second rate which saw much action in the Anglo-Dutch Wars, and was eventually scuttled in 1667.  The third Vanguard was a 90-gun three-decker launched in 1678, sunk in 1703, raised in 1704, rebuilt twice and finally scrapped in 1769, during which time a fourth Vanguard had been built and sold off.

The fifth and sixth Vanguards were launched in 1787 and 1835 respectively, with the former being broken up in 1821, and the latter renamed Ajax and broken up in 1875.  The seventh Vanguard was an ironclad battleship, built in 1869 and wrecked in a collision in 1875.

The eighth Vanguard class, and the first of the Great War battleships, was launched in 1909, and lost in an explosion in 1917. The St Vincent class battleship, an enhancement of the "Dreadnought" design, was built by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness, joined the First Battle Squadron at Scapa Flow, and fought in the Battle of Jutland sustaining no damage or casualties.  She sank almost instantly following an explosion in July 1917 killing an estimated 843 men, the most tragic accidental explosion in the history of the RN.

The ninth Vanguard was the last battleship to be built by the Royal Navy, and was in service from 1946 to 1954.  In 1956 Vanguard became flagship of the Royal Navy Reserve Fleet and was used to film scenes for "Sink the Bismarck".  Efforts to turn her into a museum were unsuccessful, and by 1963 Vanguard ceased to exist.

The tenth, and current, HMS Vanguard was launched in 1992.

Battle Honours
The Armada War 1588
Cadiz 1798
The Kentish Knock 1652
Dungeness 1652
Portland 1653
The Gabbord 1653
The Texel 1653
Lowestoft 1665
Four Days Battle 1666
St James Day 1666
Barfleur 1692
Quebec 1759
The Nile 1798
Jutland 1916