HMS Warspite

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Seven ships of the Royal Navy have been named Warspite. The origins of the name are unclear, although it is probably from the word spight – an Elizabethan-era spelling variation of both spite and speight – in part embodying contempt for the Navy's enemies, but which was also the common name for the green woodpecker, suggesting the 'Warspight' would poke holes in enemy ships' (wooden) hulls.[1]: 10  Until 1919 a woodpecker was used as the ships' crest; the official badge was a cannon, although the woodpecker continued to be used on the ships' tompions or gun muzzle plugs. Warspite carries the most battle honours of any ship in the Royal Navy, with the sixth Warspite being awarded fifteen of them.[1]: 6 

Battle honours[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ballantyne, Iain (2013). Warspite: From Jutland Hero to Cold War Warrior. Barnsley, UK: pen & Sword Maritime. ISBN 978-1-84884-350-9.

General and cited references[edit]