HMS Leander (F109)

From Academic Kids

HMS Leander
Career RN Ensign
Laid down: 10th April 1959
Launched: 28th June 1961
Commissioned: 27th March 1963
Decommissioned: April 1987
Fate: Sunk as target 1989
General Characteristics

HMS Leander (F109) was the nameship of the Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy (RN). She was originally intended to be part of the Rothesay-class and would have been known as Weymouth. Leander was, like the rest of the class, named after a figure of mythology. She was built by the famous Harland & Wolff of Belfast. Leander was launched on the 28th June 1961 and commissioned on the 27th March 1963.

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 visisted Cape Town, while Diomede and Warspite visited Simonstown. The TG, upon reaching their destination performed a number of exercises and 'fly the flag' visits wth 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 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 rammed 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 was rammed by another Icelandic gunboat Ver.

In 1977, Leander undertook a refit, and the following year headed to the Caribbean, but was forced to return home for repairs. 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 a truly explosive end, when during a naval exercise, she was sunk by a Sea Dart missile, three Exocets and one 'dumb' bomb.

See HMS Leander for other ships of the name.

Leander-class frigate
Achilles | Ajax | Andromeda | Apollo | Arethusa | Ariadne | Argonaut | Aurora | Bacchante | Charybdis | Cleopatra | Danae | Dido | Diomede | Euryalus | Galatea | Hermione | Juno | Jupiter | Leander | Minerva | Naiad | Penelope | Phoebe | Scylla | Sirius

List of frigates of the Royal Navy

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