Independent Voices

UK Armed Forces Commentary

Run by an Italian, Gabriele Molinelli who has exceptional knowledge of the UK’s armed forces. His views on naval issues are both expert and reliable. Making a very valuable contribution to the UK defence debate and recommended reading. Twitter: @Gabriel64869839 

United Kingdom National Defence Association

The UKNDA is “a campaign for sufficient, appropriate and fully funded Armed Forces that the United Kingdom needs to defend effectively this Country”. Established in 2007 and campaigning on behalf of all UK armed forces (fiercely tri-service, not just the RN), we would recommend you join this organisation which represents the best attempt yet made to create a respected voice to persuade politicians that the armed forces need an increase in funding. Twitter: @DefenceAssoc

Defence Synergia

DS is an independent, self-funded defence and strategy research group of former UKNDA members. Aiming to find ways to support the armed forces within budget, but not being afraid to mention when gaps are not funded or supported properly. Pushing for a much-needed over arching strategic narrative to drive defence policy and working behind the scenes talking to MPs and academics. Twitter: @DefenceSynergia

Iain Ballantyne

Iain is an author and journalist who has written about the activities of the Royal Navy for more than 20 years. Currently editor of Warships International Feet Review he recently published the excellent “Hunter Killers” revealing some of amazing activities of Royal Navy submarines during the Cold War. Twitter: @IBallantyn

The Phoenix Thinktank

Established in 2009 by experienced naval officers and academics, this site carries intelligent analysis of defence and maritime strategy issues. Although no longer as active as in the past, their website has been revised with some new papers and some of their best papers are available in their archives. Twitter: @PhoenixThinking

Lindley-French’s Blog Blast: Speaking Truth Unto Power

Professor Julian Lindley-French provides a regular commentary and analysis on strategic affairs from a UK and European perspective. Regularly warns about the dangers of defence cuts and the total lack of strategic vision of UK politicians. A useful resource for understanding the ‘big picture’ and debunking the myths of soft-power that is the fantasy of so many Europeans. Also regularly highlights the key contribution that navies provide to the delicate balance of power both now and in the past. Twitter: @FrencLindley

Think Defence

Leading independent UK defence website with in-depth articles and knowledgeable community of commenters. Prolific, mostly intelligently written and thoroughly researched. Beware: tends to be hardest on the RN and somewhat anti-aircraft carriers, most comfortable discussing Army logistics and something of an RAF cheerleader. Still amongst the best defence information resources available. Twitter: @ThinkDefence

Votes in Defence

A fledgling organisation set up shortly before the 2015 General Election by Rear Admiral Chris Parry (RN Retd) and other individuals, with the aim of ensuring adequate resources and a coherent, sustainable strategy for the Defence of the United Kingdom. Its primary area of activity will to influence political opinion and decision-making at national and international level. Twitter: @VotesinDefence

Grey Funnel Line

Website, Facebook and Twitter campaign to promote the current Royal Navy, and to keep alive the history of the ‘old navy’. Good source of news and information but without much comment on more controversial issues. Twitter: @GreyFunnelLine

UK Defence Journal

New kid on the block making a positive impact and a particularly hearty advocate of the RN aircraft carrier project. Launched in 2014 UKDJ is a website and downloadable quarterly journal covering UK defence issues with a mix of news and editorial. Professionally presented and written in understandable language. Twitter: @UKDefJournal 

Naval Requirements

A view of strategy, procurement, warships, navies, and world politics written by naval academic Alexander Clarke Twitter: @AC_NavalHistory 

Sharkey’s World

Former Sea Harrier Pilot ‘Sharkey’ Ward is a controversial but forceful defender of naval air power and does not shrink from highlighting RAF propaganda and misinformation.

Sea Power Thinker

Website of postgraduate researcher focusing on the field of Naval History, Maritime Strategy, Sea power and related defence theory. Twitter: @SeaPowerThinker

The Navy Campaign

An independent campaign to promote the Royal Navy, focused on friendly promotion of the RN, history and charity issues. Sadly due to lack of funding the campaign has been inactive since early 2013.

Dan Entwisle Blog

Journalist, specialising in naval issues writing his own blog.

The Thin Pinstriped Line

Written by a civil servant and naval reservist with experience of working in the MoD, provides and interesting perspective on the UK defence issues that we may not always agree with! Sadly discontinued from June 2014.

Naval Forums

Warships Discussion Boards (RN Section)

This is a discussion board which is part of the US-based site NavWeaps.com which is mainly focused on international naval history. This forum is inhabited by naval experts and some very knowledgeable enthusiasts discussing a wide range of RN issues.

UK Defence Forum

Launched in 2015, partly to replace the defunct Military Photos forum. An excellent site for discussion of UK defence issues (including the RN) with a well-informed community.

DefenceTalk.com (Naval Section)

DefenceTalk.com is an online Community of International Defence experts, professionals and enthusiasts dedicated to the exchange of ideas and information. With a professional edge, this is the leading international defence website. It covers RN issues but has a very wide scope. There is a naval forum here and RN photo section here.

The Rum Ration

Very informal naval gossip and chat forum mainly inhabited by ex-RN and RN personnel commenting on a wide variety of topics.

Official Sites

Royal Navy

The official MoD web site for the RN –  Covers the RN, RFA and Royal Marines in exhaustive detail. The site underwent a major redesign in June 2014 and is arguably one of the bset defence websites in the world. News and information about current operations is cleverly integrated into visually rich the site that is both a recruitment tool and worthy advert for the RN. Twitter: @RoyalNavy

Defence in the Media

As the number of stories in the media about the defence crisis is on the increase, the official government view is presented here. Replying to the media stories, many of which illustrate the neglect and decline of our armed forces. Some poor junior spin doctor in the MoD has to write this stuff, trying to put a positive slant on events in the face of mostly negative news stories. Twitter: @DefenceHQ

Forces TV

Independent from the MoD  and owned by The Services Sound and Vision Corporation – a charity set up to entertain and inform Britain’s Armed Forces around the world. Sister to British Forces Forces Broadcasting (BFBS) radio, Forces TV launched in 2014 and their website provides video reports about the UK’s Armed forces. Twitter: @ForcesTV

Publications

Warships International Fleet Review

Published monthly in the UK but with an international and geo-political focus, it carries in-depth articles on RN issues, some of which are available on its website. Great photography and a more technical & international emphasis than Warship World. Highly recommended. Twitter: @WarshipsIFR 

Warship World

This dependable magazine publishes six times a year covering naval issues both past and present. Under new management it is now featuring up to date commentary on the Royal Navy and, while primarily focused on the RN, it features international coverage, a good round up of relevant Parliamentary debates and discussions as well as articles of historic interest. Published by NavyBooks a specialist publisher of naval books, it is written in an accessible style. It has a fine pedigree of being a lone ‘voice in the wilderness’ for many years warning of the danger of the continual cuts to the RN. Its annual publication – British Warships and Auxiliaries has charted the decline in ship numbers, with associated editorial for over 35 years. Twitter: @NavyBooks Facebook: www.facebook.com/navybooks

Navy News

Monthly glossy newspaper with news from around the fleet. Well designed and making good use of photography, it is owned by the MoD. While informative, the ‘shiny-happy’ Navy News is something of a PR publication more focussed on naval personnel stories than on operational matters. Disastrous cuts to the fleet are referred to as “defence shake-ups” and the tone is upbeat no matter what. The website is mediocre but sometimes has great photos, the official RN website is generally quicker and more reliable for breaking news stories. Twitter: @Navy_News

Industry Sites

Jane’s Information Group

Most well-known for the annual publication ‘Jane’s Fighting Ships‘ the Bible of world naval forces, Jane’s provide extensive intelligence about naval developments both online and in print. Aimed at senior officers and industry professionals, their products are of the highest standard with prices to match.

NavalTechnology.com

Covering UK and worldwide naval construction, a good point of reference. Aimed at professionals within the naval technology industries carrying news releases and detailed information on industry projects.

DefenceIQ (Naval & Maritime defence section)

Authoritative news source for commentary and analysis on global defence and military-related topics. (Some content requires free user registration to access papers).

Keep Our Future Afloat

A professionally run web site, KOFAC is a consortium of trade union, local authority and local community interests looking to sustain the skills and facilities for naval shipbuilding in the North West of England. Twitter: @NWShipBuilding

Warships Photo sites

ShipNostalgia.com (RN Ships Section)

As the name suggests, this site is mainly for ship photos from the past, although many current photos are posted by mostly UK ship enthusiasts. Some real gems appear here although you will have to register to view the full size pictures. Also has an excellent RFA section.

ShipSpotting.com

The largest international site for ship photos. Many good quality photos are posted each day. Ships are categorised by type so there is no overall naval section – you will need to look up Aircraft Carriers, Submarines, Destroyers etc

Maritime Photographic

Website of Gary Davies, professional maritime photographer. First rate website, blog and photographs. Includes many RN images as well as all kinds of nautical images. Twitter: @MaritimePhotos

Welfare Support

The British Warships Association

The British Warships Association (BWA) is a membership organisation established to link Her Majesty’s Warships with the communities of their affiliated home regions. Twitter: @BritishWarships

Royal Navy Benevolent Fund

Gives help to serving and ex-serving Royal Navy ratings and Royal Marine ranks and their families. A fine charitable organisation filling in gaps where government provision and care is lacking.

The White Ensign Association

Providing a financial advisory service and help with accommodation and resettlement for serving and retired personnel of the Royal Navy. Twitter: @The_W_E_A

The Royal Navy Association

Established to promote the RN and encourage recruitment, foster comradeship and remember those who died whilst serving. Also provides welfare support, employment and financial advice to serving and ex-RN personnel.

Help for Heroes

A highly successful charity founded in 2007 with growing public and media support that is helping wounded ex-servicemen, particularly the victims of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a sad indictment of this government that it is left to charities to help and rehabilitate servicemen injured serving their country. Twitter: @HelpforHeroes

Olive Oyl, Navy wife.

An honourable mention must go to this charming blog written by a long-suffering Royal Navy wife giving insight into life for partners of those serving. Witty and well-observed, it can be laugh-out-loud-funny or quite sad in places. Service life can be great or very tough at times but also spare a thought for the families left at home. Twitter: @OliveOylNW