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Myth of the Day 01 – HMS Friday

August 12, 2006


The Myth

” In the 19th century, the British Royal Navy attempted to dispel the superstition that Friday is an unlucky day to embark on a ship. The keel of a new ship was laid on a Friday, she was named H.M.S. Friday, commanded by a Captain Friday, and finally went to sea on a Friday. Neither the ship nor her crew were ever heard of again “


The Truth

The story of HMS Friday was a joke told by Irish comedian Dave Allen on his BBC show “Dave Allen at Large”, first broadcast in the 1970’s.


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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack Hagerty permalink
    April 12, 2007 6:17 pm

    Hi –

    Interesting entry, but I first saw this reference in 1963. It was in the “Readers Digest Treasury for Young Readers” that my parents bought for me. This means it had to have been published in RD some time before that.

    – Jack

  2. Kevin permalink
    November 3, 2007 9:02 pm

    I’m doing a report on the Friday the 13th Superstition, and needed more info on the HMS Friday. On it says that it was launched on a Friday the 13th in the 18th century. I’m not sure how this could be a joke, but it may be.

  3. George permalink
    June 13, 2008 1:42 pm

    It is just a myth see they should know being the royal navy and all !!!!

    13th July 2007

    No truth in ‘HMS Friday’ story

    Curators at the Museum have pulled the plug on the myth of an ill-fated HMS Friday after being asked about the story by an American newspaper.

    The story is that, to overcome sailors’ apparent reluctance to set sail on Fridays, in the 1800s, the Royal Navy commissioned an HMS Friday, launched her on a Friday, put a Captain James Friday in command – and she disappeared without trace.

    The story has surfaced because of today being Friday 13th and there are dozens of references to it on the internet.

    A Museum spokesperson commented that sailors certainly are superstitious – something to do with being at the mercy of such an unpredictable element as the sea and who would want to give up a weekend ashore. But we can confirm that there has never been a Royal Navy ship named HMS Friday – or after any other day of the week for that matter.

  4. Kiruto Haruru permalink
    February 13, 2009 11:37 pm

    Interesting, but how do you know that the staryo the Irish man told was the truth? Or maybe it did disapear and had vanished into thin air? You should realy not question history you know…..

  5. March 17, 2009 9:36 pm

    I don’t know how I just stumbled across this article three years after it was written, but it was certainly interesting!
    It could very well be a myth, or maybe they took it off the records to “cover up the fact” that it was a failure. The whole point -was- to prove it wasn’t bad luck, right? How far would they be willing to go to prove it, even after the ship disappeared?
    Just playing devil’s advocate.

  6. September 8, 2011 3:56 am

    Christine: why would they have removed this one entry yet allowed many other maritime disasters and naval foul-ups to stand?


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