Cruiser Funnel Markings


In the years preceding World War 1 radio communication between ships was rudimentary and radio equipment was not fitted to every ship.  It was recognised that it was essential to develop visual systems that would aid the quick identification of similar looking ships in the heat of battle.

So a system of funnel stripes was devised.

In one of the articles for the 1911 Spithead NavalReview, The Times newspaper published a handy guide to the identification of the newest cruisers.  In this, an explanation of the funnel rings was given.  This is explained below with some modification.

For the 4 funnelled cruisers it was as follows (the three funnelled cruisers had a diferent system):

Duke of Edinburgh Class

Duke of Edinburgh – one stripe on each funnel
Black Prince – one stripe on the foremost and after funnels



Warrior Class

Achillles – no markings
Cochrane – one stripe on the second and third funnels
Natal – two stripes on the foremost and after funnels
Warrior – two stripes on the second and third funnels
These funnel stripes are useful today in helping to identify ships on old postcards

Authors Collection

HMS Natal showing the funnel identification rings

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