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HMS Leeds Castle (P258)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United Kingdom
Name: HMS Leeds Castle
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 8 August 1980[1]
Builder: Hall, Russell & Company
Laid down: 18 October 1979
Launched: 29 October 1980
Sponsored by: Lady Speed, wife of then Navy Minister Keith Speed
Commissioned: 27 October 1981
Decommissioned: 8 August 2005
Identification:IMO number7920003
Fate: Sold to Bangladesh
General characteristics
Class and type: Castle class patrol vessel
Displacement: 1,427 tonnes
Length: 81 m (266 ft)
Beam: 11.5 m (37 ft)
Draught: 3.6 m (11 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × Ruston 12RKC 5,640 bhp (4.2 MW) diesels, 2 shafts
  • 18 knots (33 km/h) max
  • 12 knots (22 km/h) cruise
Complement: 45 (+ accommodation for 25 Royal Marines)
Aircraft carried: Flight deck can support aircraft up to Westland Sea King-size but has operated Chinook which landed thwartships

HMS Leeds Castle (P258) was a Castle-class patrol ship built by Hall, Russell & Company of Aberdeen, Scotland for the Royal Navy. She was launched in October 1980 and commissioned the following August. She was involved in the 1982 Falklands War, operating between the British territories of Ascension Island, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands as a dispatch vessel commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Colin Hamilton.

The Leeds Castle spent much time performing fishery protection duties around the United Kingdom, as well as being used as a guard ship in the Falkland Islands. In 2000, Leeds Castle underwent an eight-month refit, returning to the fleet in early 2001.

Design and construction

The Castle-class was designed for fisheries protection and oilfield patrol duties in the United Kingdom's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). They were a follow-on to the interim Island-class patrol vessel which had been ordered in 1975 when the EEZ was extended to 200 miles, and as a result of initial experience with the Islands, was considerably longer in order to improve seakeeping in heavy seas, with the extra length giving greater speed from the same power as the Islands and allowing a large helicopter deck to be fitted.[2][3]

Leeds Castle was 81.0 m (265.7 ft) long overall and 75.0 m (246.1 ft) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 11.5 m (38 ft) and a draught of 3.42 m (11.2 ft). Displacement was 1,350 long tons (1,370 t) standard and 1,550 long tons (1,570 t) full load. The ship was powered by two Ruston 12RK 320 DM diesel engines rated at 5,460 bhp (4,070 kW) (with a maximum sustained power of 4,380 bhp (3,270 kW), driving two shafts fitted with controllable pitch propellers. This gave a speed of 20 kn (23 mph; 37 km/h). The ship had a range of 10,000 nmi (12,000 mi; 19,000 km) at 12 kn (14 mph; 22 km/h).[4]

The ship was initially armed with a single Bofors 40 mm L/60 gun,[5] although by 1990 this had been replaced by an Oerlikon 30 mm gun on a DS30B mount.[6] The main armament was supplemented by two 7.62 mm machine guns.[4] A large helicopter deck was fitted aft, suitable for landing a Sea King or Chinook helicopter, but no hangar was provided, as the cost of a permanently embarked helicopter would be more than the cost of the ship.[7] She was fitted with Type 1006 navigation radar,[5] which was supplemented with a Type 994 air/surface search radar in 1989,[4][6] together with a UAN(1) electronic intercept system (based on the Orange Crop system fitted to the Royal Navy's helicopters.[4] The ship had a crew of 6 officers and 39 other ranks, with room for a 25-man detachment of Royal Marines to be carried.[4][a]

Leeds Castle was laid down at Hall, Russell & Company's Aberdeen shipyard as Yard number 985 on 18 October 1979 as the first of two Castle-class patrol vessels.[4][8] This was in advance of a formal order for the two ships being placed, which did not take place until 8 August that year.[4] She was launched on 22 October 1980, and was completed in December 1981.[4]


After commissioning and workup, Leeds Castle, assigned the Pennant number P258,[4] started fishery protection patrols around the Shetlands and in the English Channel in March 1982.[9] On 2 April 1982, the Falklands War began when Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands. Leeds Castle was diverted from her normal North Sea patrol duties on 22 April, being fitted additional communications equipment and a desalination plant at HMNB Portsmouth before setting out for the Falklands on 29 April. She arrived in the Total Exclusion Zone on 21 May where she was employed as a despatch vessel, duties including acting as a refuelling platform for helicopters transferring stores between the transports Queen Elizabeth 2, Canberra and Norland near South Georgia on 27 May. She was then ordered to Ascension Island to serve as Guardship, arriving there on 6 June 1982, before setting out again for the Falklands on 29 June, arriving at Port Stanley on 12 July. She set out on her return journey to the Britain on 24 July, arriving back at her home port of Rosyth on 20 August 1982.[10]

In 1983, Leeds Castle took part in minelaying trials.[4]

On 8 August 2005 she returned for the final time to her home base of Portsmouth to be decommissioned after a 24-year career having finished her final deployment as a patrol vessel based in the Falkland Islands. She was relieved in that role by her sister ship HMS Dumbarton Castle (commissioned in 1982) which served in that role until being replaced in 2007 by the new HMS Clyde.

In April 2010 Leeds Castle was sold to Bangladesh along with Dumbarton Castle. She left Portsmouth under tow for the A&P Group facility in Newcastle upon Tyne on 14 May 2010, where both ships underwent a major regeneration refit that was completed in December 2010.

In March 2011, Leeds Castle and Dumbarton Castle were recommissioned as the Dhaleshwari and Bijoy of the Bangladesh Navy respectively.[11]


  1. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships lists a crew of 50, plus the 25 man Marine detachment.[5]


  1. ^ "Service Men (Rehabilitation): 27 Oct 1981: Hansard Written Answers". TheyWorkForYou. 27 October 1981. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  2. ^ Brown & Moore 2012, pp. 135–136
  3. ^ Gardiner & Chumbley 1995, p. 357
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Baker 1998, p. 944
  5. ^ a b c Moore 1985, p. 628
  6. ^ a b Prézelin & Baker 1990, p. 716
  7. ^ Brown & Moore 2012, p. 136
  8. ^ "LEEDS CASTLE". Scottish Built Ships. Caledonian Maritime Research Trust. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Ships of the Royal Navy: No.317: Long Arm of the Law" (PDF). Navy News. June 1982. p. 5. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  10. ^ Burden et al. 1986, p. 433
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  • Baker, A. D., III, ed. (1998). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998–1999. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-111-4..
  • Brown, David K.; Moore, George (2012). Rebuilding the Royal Navy: Warship Design Since 1945. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-150-2.
  • Burden, Rodney A.; Draper, Michael I.; Rough, Douglas A.; Smith, Colin R.; Wilton, David (1986). Falklands: The Air War. British Aviation Research Group. ISBN 0-906339-05-7.
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen, eds. (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Instotute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Prézelin, Bernard; Baker, A. D., III, eds. (1990). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1990/1991. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-250-8.
  • Moore, John, ed. (1985). Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-7106-0814-4.
This page was last edited on 1 February 2021, at 20:29
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