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The current Royal Naval Resersssve was formed in 1958 by a merger of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR, founded 1859), a reserve of Merchant Seaman, the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR, founded 1903), a paid Volunteer Reserve and the Royal Naval Volunteer Supplementary Reserve (RNV(S)R, founded 1938), an unpaid Volunteer Reserve.

HMS PRESIDENT has provided a continuous presence for the Royal Naval Reserve in London since 1862. Drill Ships bearing the name HMS PRESIDENT have been:

HMS PRESIDENT, a 52-gun fourth-rate launched in 1829, used as a drill ship after 1862 and sold in 1903. She was copy of the USS President captured in 1815.

HMS GANNET, an Osprey-class screw sloop, launched in 1878 and renamed HMS PRESIDENT in 1903. She was sold in 1911.

HMS BUZZARD, a Nymphe-class screw sloop launched in 1887 and renamed HMS PRESIDENT in 1911. She was lent away in 1919 and sold in 1921.

HMS MARJORAM, an Anchusa-class sloop was to have been the next HMS PRESIDENT, but she was wrecked before she could be refitted.

HMS SAXIFRAGE, an Anchusa-class sloop launched in 1918 instead became HMS PRESIDENT in 1921, serving as such until 1988.

Since 1988 HMS PRESIDENT has been a shore establishment just down river from Tower Bridge overlooking the entrance to St Katharine's Docks.

HMS CHRYSANTHEMUM, an Anchusa-class sloop launched in 1917 became an additional drill ship in 1939, serving as such until 1988.

The Great War

In the First World War, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, took the decision to use the RNVR as soldiers onshore. Thus employed personnel formed the basis of 63rd Royal Naval Division along with the Royal Marines Light Infantry, and other seconded Regiments such as the Honourable Artillery Company and London Regiment. The RNVR personnel provided the 1st and 2nd Brigades as follows:

1st Brigade: Collingwood Battalion, Hawke Battalion, Benbow Battalion, Drake Battalion
2nd Brigade: Howe Battalion, Hood Battalion, Anson Battalion, Nelson Battalion Battle Honours for the Division are

Antwerp, Gallipoli, Ancre, Arras, Ypres, Welsh Ridge and Hindenburg Line



In WW2, the RNR and RNVR provided 85% of the man power of the Fleet. The personnel of HMS PRESIDENT were spread throughout the Fleet. However, personnel from HMS PRESIDENT were substantially used to the man the anti–aircraft cruisers:

HMS COVENTRY sunk off Tobruk 1942;

HMS CURLEW sunk off Norway 1940 – survivors used to man HMS NAIAD sunk 1942;

HMS CAIRO sunk on Operation Pedestal 1942; and

HMS CALCUTTA sunk off Crete 1941 Battle Honours of these ships is as follows:

HMS COVENTRY: Atlantic 1940, Norway 1940, Greece 1941, Crete 1941, Libya 1941 , Mediterranean 1941

HMS CURLEW: Atlantic 1940

HMS CAIRO: Norway 1940, Atlantic 1940-41, Malta Convoys 1942

HMS CALCUTTA: Norway 1940, Dunkirk 1940, Greece 1941, Crete 1941, Malta Convoys 1941, Mediterranean 1941



Sea Tenders

Sea Tenders to HMS PRESIDENT have been as follows:

1948-49 HMS ISIS (FDB 80) Fast Despatch Boat
1949-51 HMS THAMES (FDB 76) Fast Despatch Boat
1950-54 HMS ISIS (MMS 1785) Motor Minesweeper
HMS THAMES (MMS 1789) Motor Minesweeper
1954-61 HMS THAMES (M 1104) Coastal Minesweeper – Ton Class
HMS ISIS (M 2721) Inshore Minesweeper – Ham Class
1961-67 HMS THAMES (M 1117) Coastal Minesweeper – Ton Class
1963-73 HMS ISIS (M 2010) Inshore Minesweeper – Ham Class
HMS DUFTON (M 1145) Coastal Minesweeper – Ton Class
HMS THAMES (M 1194) Coastal Minesweeper – Ton Class
HMS SANDPIPER (P 263) Patrol Vessel
HMS GLASSERTON (M 1141) Coastal Minesweeper – Ton Class
HMS LEWISTON (M 1208) Coastal Minesweeper – Ton Class
HMS HUMBER (M 2007) Fleet Minesweeper – River Class
HMS DASHER (P 280) Patrol Vessel – P2000 Class

Battle Honours awarded to:

HMS PRESIDENT: Portland 1653, Gabbard 1653, Scheveningen 1653, Java 1811, San Sebastian 1813

HMS THAMES: Gut of Gibraltar 1801

HMS ISIS: St Lucia 1778, Sadras 1782, Negapatam 1782, Rovid en 1782, Trincomalee 1782, Camperdown 1797, Copenhagen 1801, Atlantic 1939-43, Norway 1940, Greece 1941, Crete 1941, Mediterranean 1941-43, Sicily 1943, Normandy 1944