Battle Honours

Battle Honours

It has long been traditional in the Royal Navy for a ship to take great pride in battles fought by her namesakes, although the present system of Battle Honours was only officially sanctioned as recently as 1954.

The first UNICORN to serve in the Royal Navy was a Scottish ship named after the Unicorn supporters of the Scottish Royal Arms, which was captured from the Scots in 1544 by Henry VIII.  Since then a total of 15 different Naval ships have carried the name, and have they accumulated 15 Battle Honours, more even than Nelson’s famous HMS VICTORY.  These Honours range from the Spanish Armada, the earliest possible Honour, to Korea, the most recent prior to the Falklands conflict.  The latter was gained by an aircraft carrier which ‘borrowed’ the name during the War, but the name was returned when the carrier was later scrapped.

The list of Honours displayed on the carved scrolls onboard is far from being complete, and the full list comprises:

1588ArmadaWar with Spain
1596CadizWar with Spain
1655Porto FarinaTurkish Pirates in the Mediterranean
1657Santa CruzWar with Spain
1665LowestoftSecond Dutch War
1666OrfordnessSecond Dutch War
1672Sole BayThird Dutch War
1673SchooneveldThird Dutch War
1673TexelThird Dutch War
1761VestaleSeven Years’ War
1796TribuneWar with Revolutionary France
1809Basque RoadsNapoleonic War
1943SalernoSecond World War
1945OkinawaSecond World War
1950-53KoreaKorean War

Note:  Honours in italic are single ship actions