The Royal Navy's nickname

The Royal Navy continues to be known as the ‘Andrew’, but there is no conclusive answer to the derivation of the nickname.

Some say, including the Admiralty Manual of Seamanship, the nickname ‘Andrew’ derives from a man called Andrew Miller, a zealous officer of the Impress Service (a Royal Navy recruitment service) during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Miller 'recruited' so many men to His Majesty's ships that the navy was said to belong to him.

Earlier 19th-century sources also suggest the origins of the nickname derive from one Andrew Miller, but offer a different explanation. These sources suggest that he supplied provisions to Royal Navy warships with such a monopoly, that Andrew Miller was said to ‘own the Navy’.

Another explanation given for the nickname derives from an enthusiastic 18th-century Press Service officer named Andrew Walker, who was said to have pressed so many seamen, the joke was made that it was not His Majesties Navy, but Andrew’s.

However, the most reliable list of Royal Navy officers does not mention an Andrew Miller or an Andrew Walker. As a result the origin of the Royal Navy's nickname remains obscure.

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