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OCELOT6027th April 2022

OCELOT60: The crest of HM Submarine Ocelot

Meet Tim Stopford, one of our volunteers and author of “The A-Z of Royal Naval Ships’ badges 1919-1989.” As part of a wider team of volunteers, he has been working hard to make sure HM Submarine Ocelot is ready for her 60th Birthday on 5 May.

This replica crest and a few others like it are to be placed around Ocelot for her anniversary.

What is the crest of a ship?

The history and details of a ship or submarine’s crest speaks volumes to the vessel it was assigned to. A ship’s crest can be one of four shapes based on which group of vessel type they fell into, Circular (Battleships & Battle Cruisers), Pentagonal (Cruisers), Shield (Destroyers) and Diamond (all other vessel types and shore establishments).

Crest designs followed a series of criteria, one of which being to ensure they are easy to paint but also being visually striking. Ocelot has a vivid blue and golden yellow colour scheme as seen in the image below of Tim’s replica on a circular design. Some ships and submarines did not receive a crest should they be called to lost in battle before a design was approved or a design for the crest may have even been rejected.

We caught up with Tim to find out a little more about the crest and how he designed it…
Where did this design originally come from?
“Originally this design came from the College of Arms, London. Then it was sent to Chatham for carving. Chatham Dockyard carved it from wood, then it was moulded in a rubber mould. Then you had a casting which you would pour a casting plaster into and get a copy of the original mould. You would then put them out to dry for two or three days.
Lastly, you paint them with the same pattern you received from the College of Arms. This keeps all the crests looking identical.”
How did you make this replica?
“Ocelot’s badge is certainly a tricky one. I make them from clay because this is a compound soft enough to carve because you need to get the detail. As they are in relief, the charge on there is raised and that gives you the outline of the base. Then with a fine knife or scalpel you get the outline of the design you want. Then you must paint it correctly.”
All of Tim’s hard work and dedication has lead to a number of these badges being ready to be placed around HM Submarine Ocelot, ready for her 60th Birthday celebrations in May.
Why not come and visit Ocelot in The Historic Dockyard Chatham and discover more of her fascinating stories? You may even spot one of Tim’s crests.

Read more OCELOT60 stories.

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