For the Royal Navy to name one of its ships "HMS Mediator" might well suggest a novel approach to gunboat diplomacy, so I was surprised to learn that in fact the name has an illustrious history.

The first HMS Mediator was a 10-gun sloop, purchased in 1745 and captured later that year by a French privateer, but the next was a 44-gun warship which served gallantly in the American War of Independence, single-handedly winning a battle against five American and French ships in 1782. There’s a link to the story below.

Sadly the HMS Mediator name was discontinued after the third lost her life as a fire ship in the Battle of Basque Roads in 1809.  But it was revived in 1944 when the name was bestowed on an ocean-going rescue tug.

How appropriate that the Mediator should be a tug, a vessel that moves others, sometimes by pushing and sometimes by pulling, sometimes rescuing them when they stuck, and generally guiding them into safe harbour.

How appropriate also that some of the fellow ships in Mediator's class were named Warden, Bustler, Growler, Turmoil and Reward - all apt labels for mediators.



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