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Captain (Capt) is a senior officer rank of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
. It ranks above
commander Commander is a common naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfa ...
and below
commodore Commodore may refer to: Ranks * Commodore (rank) Commodore is a senior naval rank used in many navies which is equivalent to brigadier and air commodore that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. It is either regarded as ...
and has a
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
ranking code of OF-5. The rank is equivalent to a
colonel Colonel (; abbreviated as Col., Col or COL) is a senior military officer An officer is a person who has a position of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social rel ...

colonel
in the
British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the British Army comprises 80,040 regular full-time personnel and 30,020 Army Reserve (United Kingdom), reserve personnel ...
and
Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is an amphibious Amphibious means able to use either land or water. In particular it may refer to: * ''Amphibious'' (film), a 2010 film * Amphibious aircraft An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an airc ...
, and to a
group captain Group captain is a senior commissioned Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remuneration), a form of payment to an agent for services rendered ** Commission (art), the purchase or the creation of a pi ...
in the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
. There are similarly named equivalent ranks in the navies of many other countries.


Seagoing captains

In the Royal Navy, the officer in command of any warship of the rank of
commander Commander is a common naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfa ...
and below is informally referred to as "the captain" on board, even though holding a junior rank, but formally is titled "the commanding officer" (or CO). In former times, up until the
nineteenth century The 19th (nineteenth) century began on January 1, 1801 ( MDCCCI), and ended on December 31, 1900 ( MCM). The 19th century was the ninth century of the 2nd millennium. The 19th century saw much social change; slavery Slavery and enslavemen ...
, Royal Navy officers who were captains by rank and in command of a naval vessel were referred to as
post-captain Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police ...
s; this practice is now defunct. A Captain (D) or Captain Destroyers afloat was an operational commander responsible for the command of
destroyer In navy, naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable, long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a Naval fleet, fleet, convoy or Carrier battle group, battle group and defend them against powerful short range attacke ...
flotilla Image:Four frigates capturing Spanish treasure ships (5 October 1804) by Francis Sartorius, National Maritime Museum, UK.jpg, 300px, José de Bustamante y Guerra's flotilla is intercepted by four British frigates A flotilla (from Spanish language ...

flotilla
or
squadron Squadron may refer to: * Squadron (army), a military unit of cavalry, tanks, or equivalent subdivided into troops or tank companies * Squadron (aviation), a military unit that consists of three or four flights with a total of 12 to 24 aircraft, dep ...
, for a decade plus after the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. The title was probably used informally up until the abolition of frigate and destroyer squadrons with the Fleet FIRST reorganisation circa 2001.


Terminology

Ashore, the rank of captain is often verbally described as "captain RN" to distinguish it from the more junior Army and Royal Marines rank, and in naval contexts, as a "four-ring captain" (referring to the uniform lace) to avoid confusion with the title of a seagoing commanding officer. In the
Ministry of DefenceMinistry of Defence or Ministry of Defense may refer to: * Ministry of defence, a type of government department responsible for matters of defence Current ministries * Ministry of Defense (Afghanistan) * Ministry of Defence (Albania) * Ministry ...
, and in joint service establishments, a captain may be referred to as a "DACOS" (standing for deputy assistant chief of staff) or an "AH" (assistant head), from the usual job title of OF5-ranked individuals who work with civil servants.


Insignia and uniform

The rank insignia features four rings of gold braid with a loop in the upper ring. When in
mess dress Mess dress uniform is the most formal (or semi-formal wear, semi-formal, depending on the country) type of uniforms used by military personnel, Police officer, police personnel, and other uniformed services members. It frequently consists of a ...
or mess undress, officers of the rank of captain and above wear gold-laced trousers (the trousers are known as "tin trousers", and the gold lace stripes thereon are nicknamed "lightning conductors"), and may wear the undress tailcoat (without epaulettes).


See also

* British and U.S. military ranks compared *
Captain (United States O-6) In the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh" , mascot = , equipment = List o ...
*
Comparative military ranks In general linguistics, the comparative is a syntactic construction that serves to express a comparison between two (or more) entities or groups of entities in quality or degree - see also comparison (grammar) Comparison is a feature in the morp ...
*
Royal Navy officer rank insignia These are the official Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought ...


References

{{UK officer ranks Military ranks of the Royal Navy Royal Navy appointments