The British Navy.
The navy of Britain. Alfred the Great established a navy in the 9th century, and by the 13th century there was already an official styled `keeper of the king s ships´. This office grew to become the Navy Board 1546, the body responsible for administering the fleet of Henry VIII, some 80 ships, with the Great Harry as his flagship.
The Navy Board administered the navy until
1832,when the Board of Admiralty was instituted. The government
head of the Admiralty was the First Lord of the Admiralty, while
the senior serving officer in command of the navy was the First
Sea Lord (now known as Chief of Naval Staff and First Sea Lord).
The Admiralty was abolished 1964 and replaced by the naval
department of the Ministry of Defence
was only in the reign of Elizabeth I1558-1603 that the
navy grew from Henry's private fleet to become a national
defensive force. It gained the title Royal Navy in the
reign of Charles II 1660-85. During the 18th century the
Royal Navy successfully vied for maritime supremacy with
the French navy, leading Britain to victory in four
separate wars between1688 and 1763. It played a key role
in Britain's stand against Napoleon and was never again
challenged by the French after Trafalgar 1805.
The Royal Navy continued to be the world's most powerful navy well into the 20th century. In World War I its main task was to protect shipping from submarine attack.
After World WarII the Royal Navy was second in size only to the US Navy and continued to be a world leader, especially in submarine warfare. By the 1980s, however, as a result of defence cuts,the Royal Navy had declined to third in world size, after the USA and USSR.
By the 1980s,however, as a result of defence cuts,the Royal Navy had declined to third in world size, after the USA and USSR. Despite this smaller presence, the Royal Navy has been responsible for Britain's nuclear deterrence from1969 and in 1995 had a fleet of four nuclear submarines. As a fighting force in recent times the Royal Navy played a vital national role in the Falklands War 1982 and also formed part of an international force in theKorean War 1950-3 and Gulf War 1990.