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The prefix placed before the name of a Royal Navy warship to indicate that she is Her (His) Majesty's ship. The abbreviation came into use from about 1790, the custom before this date being to indicate a ship of the Royal Navy in the form ‘His Ma ties Ship’. The earliest example of the use of HMS as an abbreviation is a reference to HMS Phoenix in 1789.

Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.

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