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Royal Navy Pennant Codes & Numbers

Pre 1947 for visual identification and signalling purposes some Royal Navy warships were allocated a pennant number. This comprised a number and sometimes a Flag Superior (letter prefix).

For example Ark Royal (1942) was allocated pennant '91'
while Eagle (1942) was allocated 'D29'.

In 1947 the system was changed so that each type of warship would have the same letter prefix, followed by a number. 

An additional identification was applied to ships operating aircraft and helicopters. This was a code letter painted on the flight deck to aid identification from the air. (Stop aircraft landing on the wrong carrier!). Ships equipped with a helicopter flight deck or landing platform used a two letter code. Deck identification code letters are repeated on the tails of aircraft belonging to the ship's normal air group.  

 

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The 1947 Pennant System Codes are 

A Auxiliaries
C Cruisers
D Destroyers
F Frigates
K Helicopter Support Ships (introduced in 1964) 
(Note: Converted helicopter cruisers retained the flag C.)
L Landing Craft and Assault Ships
M Minesweepers
P Patrol Vessel
R Aircraft Carriers (Re-locatable airfields.)
S Submarines

 

 

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.

This page last edited - 16 April, 2013.