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HMS Gloucester (D96)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HMS Gloucester D96.jpg
HMS Gloucester
United Kingdom
NameHMS Gloucester
BuilderVosper Thornycroft[2]
Laid down29 October 1979
Launched2 November 1982[2]
Sponsored byBirgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
Commissioned11 September 1985
Decommissioned30 June 2011[3]
HomeportHMNB Portsmouth
MottoProrsum ("Onwards")
Nickname(s)"The Fighting G"
FateSold for scrap
  • On a Field Blue a Trident White enfiled by a horseshoe gold
  • HMS Gloucester badge.jpg
General characteristics
Class and typeType 42 destroyer
Displacement5,200 tonnes
Length141 m (463 ft)
Beam15.2 m (50 ft)
  • COGOG (Combination of Gas or Gas) turbines, 2 shafts
  • 2 turbines producing 36 MW (48,000 hp)
Speed30 knots (56 km/h)
Aircraft carried
  • 1 x Lynx HMA8 armed with
    • 4 × anti ship missiles
    • 2 × anti submarine torpedoes

HMS Gloucester was a Batch 3 Type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy, built by Vosper Thorneycroft at Woolston, Southampton and launched on 2 November 1982 by The Duchess of Gloucester. Gloucester was one of the modified last four of the class to be built, having a lengthened hull design giving better seakeeping qualities, greater endurance and an external 'strake' to counter longitudinal cracking, seen on earlier ships of the type. The flight deck recognition letters worn by Gloucester were GC, and her international callsign was GBBF.


In January 1987 Gloucester sailed for her first deployment; Armilla patrol, protecting civilian ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Port visits included Djibouti City; Sharjah; Manama; Karachi; Mombasa and Naples, returning to her homeport in June 1987.[citation needed]

In January 1988 the ship again deployed to the Gulf for an Armilla patrol. Port visits this time included Bahrain; Dubai; Mombasa and Rhodes. Further visits were planned but these were curtailed due to increasing tensions in the region.[citation needed]

In April 1989 Gloucester deployed westbound to perform duties as West Indies Guard Ship. Port visits included Nassau, Bahamas; Anguilla; Antigua; British Virgin Islands; Kingston, Jamaica; Acapulco; Long Beach, California; San Francisco and West Palm Beach.[citation needed]

First Gulf War

Gloucester served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 under the command of Commander (later Rear Admiral) Philip Wilcocks where her most notable action was to shoot down an Iraqi Silkworm missile with Sea Dart missiles. The Iraqi missile had targeted the US battleship USS Missouri and the intercept was the first validated, successful missile-versus-missile strike of its kind.[2]

After a missile warning, both the USS Missouri and USS Jarrett fired flares and chaff to decoy the missile. Gloucester, drawing from the Royal Navy's experience during the Falklands War, when Exocet missiles re-acquired the merchant ship Atlantic Conveyor after decoys were deployed,[4] did not activate her own decoys. The Royal Navy considered missiles like the Silkworm as something to be shot down and firing chaff made that action difficult.[5] Gloucester initiated a hard turn, firing two Sea Darts “over her starboard shoulder”. The entire engagement, from detection to destruction, took just 89 seconds.[6] The interception range was between 2¾ Nautical miles to 4 Nautical miles away from Gloucester, and 4 Nautical miles to 7 Nautical miles away from USS Missouri. USS Jarrett‘s history listed the missile's altitude at 375 feet while witnesses aboard HMS London estimated between 680 to 1,000 feet.

Later, Missouri‘s 16-inch guns destroyed the Iraqi missile battery.[7][8]

Gloucester avoided two naval mines, conducted boardings and the ship's Lynx helicopter destroyed several Iraqi warships including three fast attack craft, a T43 minelayer, and a Polnocny-class landing ship, with Sea Skua missiles.[2][9] She spent the longest period in the combat area of any coalition warship and her captain (Commander Philip Wilcocks) and flight commander (Lt Cdr David Livingstone) were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with the operations officer and flight observer both mentioned in Despatches. After this service Gloucester was rebranded "The Fighting G", after the earlier HMS Gloucester, a Town-class cruiser, sunk by German aircraft, in May 1941.[10]

Later Deployments

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Gloucester was the first Royal Navy vessel to evacuate British nationals from Beirut, berthing on 18 July 2006. She made three trips taking evacuees to Cyprus, and was the last Royal Navy ship to leave Beirut.[11] She underwent a £6 million refit at Rosyth Dockyard in Fife, Scotland, in 2007. On the morning of 26 August 2010 she intercepted the yacht Tortuga, smuggling £4 million of cocaine, during Gloucester's voyage out to the Falkland Islands, where she was deployed from August 2010 to early 2011.[12] On 20 September 2010 the government of Uruguay denied Gloucester access to Montevideo as a result of the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute.[13][14]

In May 2011, she took part in Exercise Saxon Warrior.[2] As part of Saxon Warrior '11, on 21 May 2011, Carrier Strike Group 2's Truxtun and Mitscher joined the U.S. replenishment tanker Leroy Grumman and the Spanish frigate Almirante Juan de Borbón in conducting a transit exercise, with Gloucester and frigate Westminster acting as hostile forces.[15] This was the final deployment for Gloucester prior to its decommissioning.[16][17]


Gloucester returned to HMNB Portsmouth for the final time on 24 May 2011 and was decommissioned on 30 June 2011, under the command of her last captain, Commander David George.[3] On 22 September 2015 she left Portsmouth harbour under tow, bound for a breaker's yard in Turkey.[18] During her service she sailed 787,928 miles (1,268,047km)

On decommissioning, Commander David George, said:

"I cannot express how proud I am of the ship. It was a very emotional final entry for the very best of ships, but she is 29 years old, and with more than 750,000 miles [1.2m kilometres] under her belt. There are more capable Type 45 destroyers now taking the stage, and Gloucester’s time has come to bow out with dignity."[19]


The ship retains links with the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and the City of Gloucester. The ship's crest features a horseshoe, part of the city's Tudor arms.



  1. ^ "Royal Navy Bridge Card, February 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Final trip for HMS Gloucester after Falklands' duties and Saxon Warrior exercise". MercoPress. 23 May 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2015. In 1997, Gloucester took part in Ocean Wave 97, a deployment of 8 months saw her visit countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UAE as well as taking part in Exercise Flying Fish as part of the FPDA (Five Powers Defence Agreement) She sailed as part of Task Group 327.01 along with the flagship HMS Illustrious and other ships such as HMS Richmond and support ships. Part of the role of the Task Force was to oversee the peaceful handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese. 11 January 2012
  3. ^ a b "A sad day for Cornwall and Gloucester". Navy News.[dead link]
  4. ^ Image showing the missile track from a declassified memo to cabinet on the 2nd of June 1982.
  5. ^ Pokrant, M. (1999) Desert Storm at Sea: What the Navy Really Did. London. pp.176-178
  6. ^ Missile attack on battleship USS Missouri
  7. ^ Sea Dart Versus Silkworm at Jeffrey
  8. ^ An oil painting of the engagement by John Charles Roach
  9. ^ The  Battle of Bubiyan at "The Operations Room"
  10. ^ "Crew of HMS Gloucester remember her WWII loss". London: Ministry of Defence. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Praise for UK Lebanon evacuation". BBC News. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  12. ^ Bowcott, Owen (30 August 2010). "Royal Navy warship intercepts yacht carrying cocaine worth £4m". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Uruguay le negó la entrada a un buque de la Armada británica que se dirigía a las Malvinas" [Uruguay denies entry to a British Navy ship bound for the Falklands]. Infobae (in Spanish). 20 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Uruguayan gov't bans British heading-to-Malvinas vessel from entering Montevideo's port". Buenos Aires Herald. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  15. ^ King, Deven B. (23 May 2011). "USS Mitscher, Truxtun Participate in Coalition Strait Transit Exercise". America's Navy. US Navy. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Final trip for HMS Gloucester after Falklands' duties and Saxon Warrior exercise". Current Edition. MercoPress. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  17. ^ Knapper, Betsy Lynn (24 May 2011). "Gettysburg Participates in Saxon Warrior". NNS110524-12. USS Gettysburg Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  18. ^ "End of an era as Fighting G leaves Portsmouth". Navy News. 22 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  19. ^ HMS Gloucester returns home for last time at

External links

This page was last edited on 6 June 2021, at 15:12
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