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Royal Mail Ship

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RMS symbol which was displayed by the Cunard liner RMS Laconia

Royal Mail Ship (RMS) is the ship prefix used for seagoing vessels that carry mail under contract to the British Royal Mail.[1]


In the early 19th century, the British Admiralty provided RMS service.[2]

The designation "RMS" has been used since 1840.[3]

In 1850 contracts were awarded to private companies. Having the title "RMS" was seen as a mark of quality and a competitive advantage, because the mail had to be on time.

List of RMS ships


  1. Woodman, Richard. (2002). The History of the Ship: The Comprehensive Story of Seafaring from the earliest times to the present day, p. 139.
  2. The Admiralty took over the service from the General Post Office in 1823.
  3. The first citation in the Times is from 18 August 1840