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HMS Leander (F109)
Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Leander (F109)
Operator: Royal Navy
Builder: Harland and Wolff
Laid down: 10 April 1959
Launched: 28 June 1961
Commissioned: 27 March 1963
Decommissioned: April 1987
Fate: Sunk as target 1989
General characteristics
Class & type: Leander-class frigate

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 28 June 1961, and commissioned on 27 March 1963.

Service history[edit | edit source]

1963–1969[edit | edit source]

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.

1970–1979[edit | edit source]

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.

1980–1989[edit | edit source]

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.

Fate[edit | edit source]

In 1986 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.[citation needed] 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.

Commanding officers[edit | edit source]

From To Captain
1965 1967 Captain R L Eveleigh DSC RN
1967 1968 Captain D T Goodhugh RN
1978 1979 Commander W C McKnight RN
1963 1965 Lt/Co L R Bell-Davis RN

References[edit | edit source]


Publications[edit | edit source]


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