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HMS Resolution

Several ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Resolution.

One of the most famous ships named Resolution was commanded by Captain James Cook. She impressed him enough that he called her "the ship of my choice", and "the fittest for service of any I have seen."

She was fitted out at Deptford with the most advanced navigational aids of the day, including a Gregory Azimuth Compass[?], ice anchors and the latest apparatus for distilling fresh water from sea water. Twelve carriage guns and twelve swivel guns were carried. At his own expense Cook had brass door-hinges installed in the great cabin. Resolution cost the Admiralty £4151. It was originally planned that Joseph Banks with an appropriate entourage would sail with Cook, so a heightened waist, an additional upper deck and a raised poop were built to suit Banks. However, in sea trials the ship was found to be top-heavy and under Admiralty instructions, the offending structures were removed. Banks refused to travel under the resulting "adverse conditions" and was replaced by Johann Forster[?] and his son, George. The conversion had cost a further £6565.

When she sailed from Plymouth on July 13, 1772, her complement totalled 112, including 20 volunteers from HMS Endeavour[?]. On her second voyage (Cook's third voyage) she again carried 112.

On his first voyage Cook had calculated longitude by the usual method of lunars but on her second voyage the Board of Longitude sent William Wales[?], a highly qualified astronomer, with Cook and entrusted a new chronometer, the K1, recently completed by Larcum Kendall[?], together with three chronometers made by John Arnold of Aldophi. Kendall's K1 was remarkably accurate and was to prove to be most efficient in determining longitude on board Resolution.

On January 17, 1773, Resolution was the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle and crossed twice more on the voyage. The third crossing, on February 3, 1774, was the most southerly penetration, reaching latitude 71°10' South at longitude 106°54' West. Resolution thus proved Dalrymple's Terra Australis Incognita[?] to be a myth. On Cook's third voyage, Resolution crossed the Arctic Circle on August 17, 1778, and again crossed it on July 19, 1779, under the command of Charles Clerke[?] after Cook's death.

In 1780, Resolution was converted into an armed transport and sailed for the East Indies in March 1781. She was captured by De Suffrens[?]'s squadron on June 9, 1782. After the action at Negapostam, Resolution was sent to Manila for wood, biscuit and rigging, and to enter any seaman she found there. She sailed on July 22, 1782 and was never seen again.

On June 5, 1783 De Suffren wrote that Resolution was last seen in the Sunda Strait, and that he suspected that she had either foundered or fallen into the hands of the English. An item from the Melbourne Argus, February 25, 1879, says that she ended her days as a Portuguese coal-hulk at Rio de Janeiro, but this has never been confirmed. Viscount Galway, a Governor-General of New Zealand, owned a ship's figurehead described as that of Resolution, but a photograph of it does not agree with the figurehead depicted in Holman's famous watercolour of her.

General Characteristics

  • Lower deck length: 110 ft 8 inches
  • Keel: 93 ft 6 inches
  • Maximum beam: 35 ft
  • Draft: 13 ft


Another Resolution was a Royal Sovereign-class battleship[?] laid down at Palmers November 29, 1913, launched January 14, 1915, and commissioned December 30, 1916.

She was bombed at Narvik in May 1940, torpedoed at Dakar in September 1940, and served in the Indian Ocean during 1942 and 1943. She became a stokers training ship in 1944 and was sold for scrap on May 5, 1948.

General Characteristics

  • Displacement: 29,150 tons standard; 33,500 tons full load
  • Length: 620'5" overall, 614'5" waterline
  • Beam 102'5"
  • Maximum Draft 30'5"(max)
  • Propulsion:
    • 4 shaft Parsons geared turbines
    • 18 Yarrow boilers
    • 40,000 shp
  • Speed: 23 knots
  • Range: 3,400 tons oil fuel; 160 tons coal
  • Complement: 1,009 to 1,146
  • Armament:
    • 8 x 15" guns in 4 twin mount turrets
    • 12 x 6"
    • 8 x 4" antiaircraft
    • 4 x 2pdr. pom-poms
    • 16 x 40mm Bofors
  • Armour:
    • Main Side Belt: 13.0" midship, 6" - 4" ends
    • Deck Armour up to 5"
    • Turrets 13" face, 5" sides, 5" roof
    • Barbettes up to 10"
    • Citadel 11"


The most recent HMS Resolution was the first of the Royal Navy's Resolution Class Ballistic Missile Submarines. Pennant number S22.

Built by Vickers Armstrong at a cost of 40.2m. Ordered in May 1963, she was laided down on February 26 1964 by the Director General Ships, Sir Alfred Sims. The launch on September 15, 1966, was attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. She was commissioned on October 2, 1967, and following extensive trials, including the firing of her first Polaris missile on February 15, 1968, commenced her first patrol on June 15, 1968.

Her Polaris system was updated in 1984 with the Chevaline warheads, but not Poseidon. Resolution conducted the longest Polaris patrol of 108 days in 1991.

Following the completion of the first Trident submarine in 1992, the Resolution class were gradually removed from service. Resolution was de-commissioned on October 22, 1994, after 69 patrols and laid up at the Rosyth Dockyard.



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