HMS Scylla (F71)

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HMS Scylla

Career RN Ensign
Laid down: 17th May 1967
Launched: 8th August 1968
Commissioned: 12th February 1970
Decommissioned: December 1993
Fate: Sunk as artificial reef on the 27th March 2004
General Characteristics

HMS Scylla (F71) was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy (RN). She was built at Devonport Royal Dockyard and was the last RN frigate to be built at the Dockyard so far. Scylla was launched in August 1968 and commissioned in 1970. It would be the start of a long and eventful career.

She came into to the public limelight in 1973 when she collided with the Torpoint ferry. That same year, Scylla took part in the Second Cod War during the fishing dispute with Iceland. She performed patrols against aggression by any Icelandic vessels. During that 'war', Scylla was rammed by the Icelandic gunboat Aegir, a vessel that would perform aggressively in a number of incidents with British vessels over the years. The following year, Scylla was present at Possession Island, Australia to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Captain James Cook's landing at the island, where he declared all of East Australia to be British.

In 1975, Scylla was again in 'action' against Iceland during the Third Cod War in 1975 due to further fishing disputes with Iceland. She once again patrolled against any aggression against British fishing trawlers by Icelandic gunboats and any of their other vessels. In 1976, Scylla performed royal escort duties, and the following year took part in the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations, taking part in the last RN Fleet Review so far. During that review Scylla was placed in between HMS Berwick and her sister-ship HMS Euryalus.

In 1980, Scylla performed humanitarian relief when Cayman Brac, part of the Cayman Islands, experienced a powerful hurricane. Between 1980-84, Scylla underwent modernisation, including having Exocet and SeaWolf missile launchers being fitted, forcing Scylla to miss the Falklands War of 1982. She performed numerous patrols and guardship duties, being used at times as guardship for the West Indies, a duty still prominent for the present-day RN frigate, as-well as patrolling the Persian Gulf as part of Armilla Patrol.

Her final deployment came in 1993 when she deployed to the South Atlantic as part of the British commitment to its territories in the region. By then she was showing her age, and was becoming quite a handful for the ship's engineers to maintain. While on patrol there, Scylla suffered steering problems and subsequently collided with the accompanying RFA tanker Gold Rover. Scylla suffered only superficial damage, though Gold Rover suffered hull damage which was later repaired. Scylla visited a number of ports across South America during her time there, before heading for the Caribbean on her way home. She entered Portsmouth for the last time, and was decommissioned in December 1993.

HMS Scylla, 27th March 2004
HMS Scylla, 27th March 2004

In 1998, her sister-ship Sirius was torpedoed by the submarine Spartan as a target-ship, making Scylla the last remaining Leander left in the UK. She lay in a state of disrepair and neglect for ten years until the 27th March 2004, when Scylla was sunk off Cornwall where she began a new -- and no doubt long -- career as an artificial reef, the first of its kind in the UK and Europe. Her last CO, Captain Mike Booth, as-well as other former crewmembers were present during the sinking. Scylla is expected to become a popular diving site.

See HMS Scylla 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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