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Ships of the Royal Navy (Hardback)

The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy from the 15th Century to the Present FULLY UPDATED AND EXPANDED

Reference Seaforth Royal Navy Naval

By J J Colledge, Ben Warlow
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 520
ISBN: 9781526793270
Published: 2nd February 2021
This Week's Best Sellers Rank: #3

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This is the fifth fully revised edition of a book first published in 1970. This longevity is testimony to its enduring value as a reference work – indeed, ‘Colledge’ (as it is universally known) is still the first stop for anyone wanting more information on any British warship from the fifteenth century to the present day when only the name is known. Each entry gives concise details of dimensions, armament and service dates, and its alphabetical and chronological arrangement makes it easy to track down the right ship (otherwise the Royal Navy’s tradition of re-using the same names can be misleading).

This new 5th edition contains some 200 new entries and revisions to many older entries. These reflect the demise of the post-Cold War ships as the Royal Navy was shrunk down as part of the peace dividend, and successive defence reviews saw the loss of significant ships classes such as the Type 42 destroyers, Type 22 frigates and the Illustrious class carriers. It is now being re-equipped in the face of new global challenges and has seen the introduction of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers, the largest ships ever built for the RN; the Type 45 destroyers; and Type 26 frigates and new patrol ships which will take on more global policing roles. Submarines should not be forgotten and the Cold War S class and T class are being replaced by the Astute class submarines, and the deterrent role, presently undertaken by the Vanguard class, is to be carried forward by the Dreadnought class submarines. Also included are the new RFAs which are increasingly taking on frontline operations to release the small number of escorts to more combative roles. In addition, there are updates to the Royal Australian, Canadian and New Zealand navies which have programmes to introduce new destroyers, Arctic patrol vessels, submarines and support ships.

Since the death of Jim Colledge, who was widely respected for his pioneering research on the technical details of warships, his magnum opus has been updated, corrected and expanded with similar enthusiasm and attention to detail by Ben Warlow, a retired naval officer and author of a number of books in the field.

Some press comments:

“A unique reference book which is the automatic starting point of research on Royal Navy ships.” – Lloyd’s List

“This quite invaluable reference tool … ” – The Mariner’s Mirror

“The book is absolutely essential in every naval historian’s library.” – Warship World

This book should occupy a prime position, if not take pride-of-place, on the bookshelves of anyone interested in the history of the Royal Navy, particularly the ships that have served with the Royal Navy over more than five centuries.

Small Warships

It is the book to go to for details on Royal Navy fighting vessels and no doubt this new edition will serve for many years - until it needs an update in a decade or two. Anyone with a serious interest in the Royal Navy should buy a copy and one cannot sufficiently praise the authors for the culmination of their hard work. It is a “must have book” for all serious Royal Navy researchers.

Dr Stuart C Blank

For anyone with an interest in the ships of the Royal Navy, I would certainly say that this new edition of such an invaluable reference should be on your bookshelf.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

This is the fifth fully revised edition of a book first published in 1970. Each entry gives concise details of dimensions, armament and service dates, and its alphabetical and chronological arrangement makes it easy to track down the right ship (otherwise the Royal Navy’s tradition of re-using the same names can be misleading). This edition contains some 200 new entries and revisions to many older entries. These reflect the demise of many ships post-Cold War as the Royal Navy was shrunk down as part of the peace dividend. The book includes updates to the Royal Australian, Canadian and New Zealand navies which have programmes to introduce new destroyers, Arctic patrol vessels, submarines and support ships. Since the death of Jim Colledge, who was widely respected for his pioneering research on the technical details of warships, his magnum opus has been updated, corrected and expanded with similar enthusiasm and attention to detail by Ben Warlow, a retired naval officer and author of a number of books in the field. A superb reference work, worthy of your library.

Read the full review here

Julian Stockwin

About J J Colledge

J J COLLEDGE was a noted naval historian and dedicated researcher and this book was his magnus opus. Since his death in 1997 the work of updating and revising the book has been taken on by BEN WARLOW, a naval officer in the Royal Navy for more than 40 years. He is a consultant editor to Warship World and the author of more than 20 books on naval history.


About Ben Warlow

BEN WARLOW was a naval officer in the Royal Navy for more than 40 years. He is a consultant editor to Warship World and the author of more than 20 books on naval history, including the highly esteemed Ships of the Royal Navy.

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