Royal Navy Crest Meanings

(Updated 23 February 2013)


The Capital Ships: Their Battles and their Badges by Vic Cassells (ISBN 0-7318-0941-6)


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I am reusing these under the Fair Use License that Shipbucket operates under.

Crest Meanings (1918 – 1939)

NOTE: In 1940 the designs for all commissioned ships of the Royal Navy were standardized to a circular design due to wartime pressures.

Capital Ships

The circle represents the ring around Britain from the “oak walls” defending British shores.


The pentagon represents the Five Oceans that cruisers sail upon.


These ships carry a shield as they are defending (shielding) the capital ships of the fleet.

Support Ships

In traditional heraldry, a diamond represents a maiden. Support ships are considered to be the maids of all work in the fleet.

Crest Meanings (1945 – Present)

Commissioned Ships

Royal Fleet Auxiliaries

Commissioned Shore Bases