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HMS NONSUCH - 1947

HMS NONSUCH - 1947

The Ships

Many ships in the Royal Navy have borne the name NONSUCH, besides those of the Merchant Marine named NONSUCH.

The first was the NONSUCH of Elizabeth I's fleet of 1584 was rebuilt by James I in 1605 and re-named "Nonsuch". She was 88 feet in length, 636 tons and mounted 38 guns.
NONSUCH was still serving in 1636 as part of the fleet of Charles I.

The second NONSUCH was built by King Charles I in 1646, being 389 tons, length 98 feet, mounting 34 guns. In the civil war of that time NONSUCH went over to the side of Parliament and with the ship GARLAND took the Royalist ship, SANTA THERESA, July 1649. NONSUCH, as part of the Blue Squadron and commanded by Thomas Penrose, was present at the Battle of Loewstoft, June 1653. Her complement now was 170 men, armament 40 guns. On November 15 of the same year, NONSUCH limped into Plymouth severely damaged by shot, her boatswain and trumpeter dead, her lieutenant, master, chaplain and many others severely wounded. She had brought a Dutch man-of-war to action off the Lizard.

During the American War of Independence the seventh NONSUCH saw action. Commanded by Captain Walter Griffith, she formed part of Lord Howe's squadron that denied the French fleet's entrance into New York. The ship also took an active part in the action of July 6, 1779, off Grenada. In 1781, H.M.S. Nonsuch was in the fleet that brought relief to the besieged garrison of Gibraltar in April of that year.

As seen from the above, the name NONSUCH has considerable naval significance and we look back with pride on past battles fought by ships bearing this historic name. On the bulkhead facing the quarter-deck at HMCS NONSUCH in Edmonton, Alberta there is a plaque bearing the battle honours of NONSUCH, namely:


KENTISH KNOCK - 1652
PORTLAND - 1653
GARBARD - 1653
TREXEL - 1673
ST. LUCIA - 1778
THE SAINTS - 1673
JUTLAND - 1916

The name NONSUCH is a form of the phrase "non such" and should be so pronounced. It is almost an exact translation of the French "non pareil".

Previous RN ships of the name NON PAREIL were:

* 52 guns, renamed 1603, condemned 1654
* Built in 1646, 34 guns, wrecked in 1664
* Ketch, 8 guns, built about 1654, captured by the French and recaptured 1659. Still in navy list 1666
* Fourth rate, 42 guns, built 1668, cut down to 5th rate, 36 guns 1691, surrendered to the French 1695
* Hoy, 5 guns, built 1686, sold 1714
* Fourth rate, 48 guns, built 1696, rebuilt 1717, broken up 1745
* Fourth rate, 50 guns, built 1741, broken up 1766
* Third rate, 64 guns, built 1774, broken up in 1802
* Destroyer, built 1915, sold 1921
* ex-German destroyer Z-38, surrendered in 1945, renamed 1947 and broken up the same year


other sizes: small original
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