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Unicorns of the Royal Navy

The painted board displayed on Unicorn’s quarterdeck lists some of the previous UNICORNs in the Royal Navy.  It was made on board the Aircraft Carrier UNICORN and was presented to the Frigate when the Carrier was scrapped.  The painted list has become incomplete as other early UNICORNs have been found, and a more complete list is as follows:

1. 1544-1555 Scots Flagship captured at Leith and added to the Royal Navy.Galleasse of 240 tons.
2. 1545 UNICORN of Poole.  Hired Ship of 30 tons.
3. 1588 UNICORN of Bristol.  Coaster of 130 tons which fought in the Armada campaign.
4. 1588 UNICORN of Dartmouth.  Volunteer ship of 75 tons which also fought against the Armada.
5. 1633-1688 64 gun, 2nd Rate.  Served in the Mediterranean and in many of the battles of the Dutch Wars.
6. 1639-1641 UNICORN Merchant.
7. 1665-1666 LITTLE UNICORN, 18 gun, 5th Rate, captured from the Dutch.Converted to a Fireship and expended in action.
8. 1666-1667 6 gun vessel, bought and made a Fireship.  Sunk to block the Medway when the Dutch attacked.
9. 1748-1771 24 gun, 6th Rate, built on the lines of a French privateer.  This ship was, along with the LYME, the first true Frigate built for the Royal Navy.  She saw considerable service in the 7 Years’ War.
10. 1776-1787 20 gun, 6th Rate.  Served in the French Revolutionary War and was captured in 1780, but recaptured the next year.
11. 1781-1782 36 gun, 5th Rate, began building as UNICORN but was launched as THALIA on the recapture of the old UNICORN.
12. 1790-1815 32 gun, 5th Rate.  Saw much action through the Napoleonic Wars.
13. 1824-present 46 gun, 5th Rate.  Placed in Ordinary on launch.Became the Naval Reserves Drill Ship in Dundee from 1873-1968.Now preserved as HM Frigate UNICORN.
14. Not known Drifter in 1st World War.
15. 1939-1958 Aircraft Repair Carrier.Served in 2nd World War and Korean War.
16. 1992 – present Type 2400 UPHOLDER class Submarine.  Sold to Canada in 2001 and renamed HMCS Windsor

There is also a Canadian Naval Reserve base in Saskatoon, established in 1923, named HMCS Unicorn.