Royal Navy sparks 'woke' row as it fears vessel will 'upset French' unless it is renamed

Royal Navy sparks 'woke' row as it fears vessel will 'upset French' unless it is renamed

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George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 03/01/2024

- 18:15

Updated: 03/01/2024

- 18:26

Naval chiefs have denied the accusations

The Royal Navy has sparked a woke row after a naval source suggested the name of one of the UK's top vessels should be reviewed for "fear of upsetting the French".

Navy chiefs were criticised for "woke nonsense" after holding talks on renaming HMS Agincourt in case it "upsets" the French.

A naval source suggested the name should be reviewed for “fear of upsetting the French."

However, the story has been denied by a Royal Navy spokesperson, who said they "take great care in naming our ships", according to the Express.

A submarine

HMS Anson, one of the Royal Navy's Astute Class submarines


It is not the first time the ship's name has come under question, as naval experts and commanders on the Ships' Names and Badges Committee considered the potential for controversy around the name in 2018 before deciding to sign it off.

HMS Agincourt is the sixth vessel to bear the name of the battle where the French were defeated at the hands of the English army led by King Henry V in 1415.

Government insiders said Defence Secretary Grant Shapps believes demands to change names over concerns of offence are “ridiculous”.

An MoD source said: “The Defence Secretary thinks considering renaming a ship because it may offend the French is woke nonsense.

“The French are close allies and remain so because of our long history together, it is a relationship that is not going to be affected by the naming of a ship.


Defence Secretary Grant Shapps

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps called the suggestion 'woke nonsense'


The source added: “Is anyone suggesting we should rename Waterloo or Trafalgar Square so we don’t offend anyone? It’s ridiculous.

“The Battle of Agincourt was more than 600 years ago. Five previous naval craft have been named after Agincourt.

“It was an important victory in the 100 Years War and is rightly part of our rich naval history.”

Conservative MP James Daly said: “It is fantastic news that HMS Agincourt retains the name of one of England’s great military victories.”

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson said: “There are far too many public servants who lay awake at night thinking of silly things to say the following day. Things that might upset about 0.01 per cent of the population.

“Instead of wasting time and resources being bothered by trivial matters, they should get back to delivering on Brits priorities or find another job.”

There have been six HMS Agincourt vessels, with the last ship bearing the name a Dreadnought Battleship launched in 1913.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: “It is entirely appropriate to name a naval vessel after a great military victory and this will be the sixth HMS Agincourt named after the 15th Century battle, with the last ship bearing the same name having been launched in 1913.

“We take great care in naming our ships and ensuring that they have appropriate affiliations across the country and we have no intention to rename it.”

The seventh Astute Class hunter-killer submarine, built in Barrow-in-Furness, is expected to enter service from her base at Faslane this year.

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