merchant navy


Merchant Navy


MN Badge

The use of the term merchant navy can be traced back to Tudor times, and was generally used to refer to the nation's merchant fleet.

In time the official title of Merchant Service was adopted, and later replaced by Mercantile Marine. The current title of British shipping as the Merchant Navy followed subsequently, but does not seem to have come into widespread use until the War of 1939-1945.

In July 1918 His Majesty King George V had expressed his desire to recognize the war service of the Mercantile Marine and it has been generally thought that a specific change of title was granted to reflect this, although the actual point of change very probably lies in the creation of the Prince of Wales as Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets in February 1928 (this office being held by successive monarchs to the present day).

The Admiralty announcement noted that this brought them into line with the "other great Services of the Empire" by having a member of the Royal Family as their titular Head, and also in recognition of the service which the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets had rendered for many centuries, both in peace and in war.

MN Badge
Merchant Navy Day
Silver Badge
The Little Silver Badge
MN Veterans Badge
Merchant Navy Veteran’s Badge
Merchant Navy Medal
Merchant Naval Service Medal
Red Ensign
Merchant Navy Monument
MN Tie
Merchant Navy Ties
Day of the Seafarer
Red Ensign
The Red Ensign
Royal Mail Stamps
Royal Mail
Merchant Navy Stamps




all text © Mike Ingham
Merchant Navy Badge, Ensign, Cap Badge, and Tie © Crown Copyright
Merchant Navy Veteran’s Badge © Crown Copyright
Day of the Seafarer logo © International Maritime Organization
Merchant Navy Stamps © Royal Mail
Elder Dempster Lines House Flag © Elder Dempster Lines

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this page last updated 1 November 2019

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