"Her Majesty's Ship"
HMS Devonshire was the first of the County-class destroyers and the first Batch 1 ship of the Royal Navy. The ship was built by Cammel Laird in Birkenhead near Liverpool. With a displacement of 5,440 tonnes (6,850 tonnes full load), Devonshire was named after the English county of Devon. She was launched on 10 June 1960 and delivered to the navy two years later.
The ship was involved in patrol duties in the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean, but was not involved in any armed conflict of the United Kingdom. Like the other first batch of County Class ships, Devonshire was fitted with the Sea Slug anti aircraft missile defence system.
Devonshire was decommissioned under defence cuts in 1978, though was immediately offered for sale to Egypt, but the sale did not go through. Laid up in Portsmouth harbour for six years, the ship was used as a target, first for testing the new Sea Eagle Air-launches Cruise missle , then sunk by HMS Splendid as a target on 17 July 1984 (two days after the Sea Eagle test) in the North Atlantic, whilst testing the Mark 24-Mod-2 tigerfish torpedo.
HMS Amazon was the first Type 21 frigate of the Royal Navy. Her keel was laid down at the Vosper Thornycroft shipyard in Southampton, England. The ship suffered a fire in the Far East in 1977, drawing attention to the risk of building warships with aluminium superstructure.
Amazon was the only unit of her class to not participate in the Falklands War, as she was in the Persian Gulf at the time.
By the mid-1980s the surviving Type 21s were suffering cracking in the hull and so she was taken in for refitting, with a steel plate being welded down each side of the ship. At the same time modifications were made to reduce hull noise. Four Exocet launchers were also fitted in 'B' position, the last of the class to be so fitted.
Amazon decommissioned and was sold to Pakistan on 30 September 1993, being renamed Babur. Exocet was not transferred to Pakistan and Babur had her obsolete Sea Cat launcher removed. A Chinese LY 60N missile launcher was fitted in place of the Exocet launchers. Signaal DA08 air search radar replaced the Type 992 and SRBOC chaff launchers and 20 mm and 30 mm guns were fitted. Babur remains in service with the Pakistan Navy.
On 3 August 2011, a video surfaced on the Internet reportedly showing Babur brushing against the Indian frigate Godavari in the Gulf of Aden during the rescue of hostage on-board merchant vessel MV Suez in June.
HMS Leander: Upon her commissioning, Leander deployed to the West Indies, performing a variety of duties while there. She returned to the UK in April 1964. In 1965, Leander was part of Matchmaker I, a multi-national squadron of NATO, and the predecessor of Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT), which was created in 1967, though was not actually formed until the following year. In 1966, Leander deployed to the Pacific and in 1967 she deployed back to the West Indies and subsequently to the Persian Gulf.
In 1970, Leander joined the NATO multi-national squadron STANAVFORLANT. In June that year, Leander began modernisation that included the removal of her one twin 4.5-in gun which was replaced by the Ikara anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missile launcher. It was completed in December 1972. In 1974, Leander joined the 3rd Frigate Squadron, which included other Leander-class frigates. That same year, as part of that squadron, Leander took part in Task Group (TG) 317.2, a deployment that caused some controversy back in the UK when the TG, on its way to the Far East/Pacific, visited South Africa, which was at that time under apartheid rule. As well as visiting two ports in South Africa, the TG performed military exercises with the South African armed forces, which caused uproar in some parts of the governing Labour Party, as well as gaining much press coverage.
Leander with the rest of the TG visited Cape Town, while Diomede and Warspite visited Simonstown. The TG, upon reaching their destination performed a number of exercises and 'fly the flag' visits with Far East and Pacific countries. While in the region, Leander, like a number of the TG, was shadowed by a number of nations, including the Soviet Union, a common occurrence during the Cold War. The TG did not visit South Africa on their return, and headed to Brazil for an exercise with the Brazilian Navy. Leander returned to the UK in June 1975.
In December 1975, Leander, under the command of Captain John Tait, began a Fishery Protection Patrol during the Third Cod War between the UK and Iceland over fishing disputes. Like many other RN vessels, she was confronted by the quite aggressive Icelandic gunboats. In January 1976, the Icelandic gunboat Thor was rammed by Leander, causing some damage to her hull. No further such incidents occurred on her first patrol, though when she was returning to the UK, the ship broke down during a heavy storm. She eventually made her way to Faslane. The damage she suffered during her Fishery Patrol and during the storm were repaired at Devonport Dockyard. When repairs were made, Leander undertook a second Fishery Patrol, and rammed another Icelandic gunboat Ver during the summer of 1976.
In 1977, Leander undertook a refit, and the following year headed to the West Indies, California, British Columbia, Mexico and Florida.
In 1982, Leander came to the aid of a Portuguese vessel MV Ave Maria which was ablaze off Exeter. Leander deployed to the Mediterranean in 1983 and again in 1985. The following year, Leander was placed in Reserve, becoming part of the Standby Squadron. Leander was not sold to another navy due to Australia prohibiting the sale of the Ikara ASW missile to non- Commonwealth nations. In April 1987, Leander was decommissioned. In 1989 her career came to an end, when during a naval exercise, she was sunk by a Sea Dart missile, three Exocets and one 'dumb' bomb.
- H.M.S. Devenshire
- H.M.S. Amazon
- H.M.S. Leander