The Royal Navy has been naming ships as long as it's existed.
From Invincible to Victorious, there are any number of historic vessels that command authority and have cemented their place in folklore with an equally glorious name to match.
Among those proud names are also those which may raise an eyebrow or two, here are twelve of the best:
HMS Bird - Commissioned in 1764 was an 8-gun survey ship, She was fitted out at Deptford dockyard between May and August 1764 at a total cost of ₤664.
HMS Black Joke
- The vessel's colourful history ranges from starting out as a Brazilian slave ship, to being captured, and then re-cast by the Royal Navy as an anti-slave ship, thus earning her name. The West Africa Squadron then employed her to chase down slave ships and free all those enchained onboard. The ship's fate was sealed after it's timber was judged to be rotten by the Admiralty, all that now remains of the famous slave-chaser is an envelope filled with brown dust in The National Archives.
HMS Chameleon - The most famous 'chameleon' was commisioned in 1795 and served for the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She captured almost 30 small vessels during her tenure, and enjoyed one final adventure before being paid-off. The dramatic final act occured when she encountered a Spanish 74 gun ship. Having been hamstrung herself, she was forced to throw carronades and stores overboard to escape as HMS Beagle attempted to take her in tow. The Spaniard was fast approaching in pursuit, but just in time for Chameleon, the Spaniard and the two British vessels sighted four other ships to the south-west. Chameleon fooled the Spaniard into thinking the four unknown vessels were allies by signalling to them, leading the Spanish 74 to withdraw back to her anchorage with Beagle and Cameleon in pursuit to complete the ruse.
HMS Carcass - The ship was originally commissioned as an infernal-class bomber, but later refitted as a survey vessel. It was in this form that a young Horatio Nelson served abord the Carcass as a midshipman, joining the crew on expeditions to the Arctic.
HMS Cockchafer - The unfortunately named Cockchafer was an Insect Class gunship launched in 1915 and hulked after serving during the Second World War in 1947.
[HMS] Great Bark - (Presumably) had a bite to match! She was one of the first warship's to serve in Henry VIII's English Navy, built during the Tudor period in 1512, and eventually being sold in 1531. Ships of this era did not have the 'His/Her Majesty's Ship' prefix.
[HMS] Happy Entrance - Another English warship from the Tudor era that did not use the HM prefix. Happy Entrance was a third-rate middling ship of the line from the 1600s, she was destroyed by fire in 1658.
HMS Little Belt - 'Lillebælt' was a Danish 22-gun warship launched in 1801. The Danes surrendered her to the Royal Navy in 1807 and she became the 20-gun post ship HMS Little Belt.
HMS Madras - Named after an Indian city now known as Chennai, the 54 gun ship was stationed to protect the port of Malta while under the command of Sir Charles Marsh Schomberg.
HMS Nymph - The 14-gun Swan-class sloop of the Royal Navy was launched at Chatham Dockyard on 27 May 1778. Her role was to protect English interests and served mainly in the Channel to deter American and French privateers. She was accidentally burnt and sank in the British Virgin Islands in 1783.
HMS Pansy (HMS Heartsease) - Was a Flower Class Corvette built during the Second World War for convoy escort. The name was changed to HMS Heartsease shortly before commissioning as legend tells the sailors were close to mutiny at the thought of having Pansy adorned across their caps. Who can blame them.
HMS Spanker - The Algerine Class Minesweeper was launched in 1943 and served throughout the Second World War. Despite her namesake's lewd connotations, the crew, unlike Pansy's, stayed the course and learnt to love the Spanker.