HMS Yarmouth F101

HMS Yarmouth was the first modified Type 12 frigate of the Rothesay class to enter service with the Royal Navy. From her commissioning in 1960, she performed in numerous roles, including the Third Cod War and the Falklands War.


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From 1961 until 1966 Yarmouth was the leader of the 20th Frigate Squadron. On 13 July 1965 she collided with the submarine Tiptoe, 10 miles south east of Portland Bill. Tiptoe survived, but had to be repaired at the yards of Cammell Laird. In May 1966 she began a long refit and modernisation at Portsmouth Dockyard. The main alterations were to build a hangar and flight deck for a Wasp Helicopter and to fit Seacat anti-aircraft missiles. She re-commissioned on 1 October 1968 for service in the Western Fleet and then in the Far East Fleet. In 1971 she was present at Portsmouth Navy Days.

In April 1970 whilst on the Beira Patrol she was diverted to be a long stop for the rescue of Apollo 13. Communications in the Indian Ocean were very poor. The recovery instructions were sent from Houston to Halifax, Nova Scotia where the Royal Canadian Navy sent them by Morse Code to the ship. The recovery manual was taken down by communications ratings, two at a time, with pencil and paper. Luckily the space craft came down amongst a US Navy task force with two aircraft carriers and television cameras in the Pacific Ocean.

In March 1976, in the course of the Third Cod War, Yarmouth was rammed and heavy damaged in her bow by the Icelandic gunboat Baldur. She had to limp away from the patrol area assisted by the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service tug Rollicker.Yarmouth underwent repairs at Chatham, where she was fitted with a new bow section. The severe damage and pressure on the defense budget, saw HMS Yarmouth, offered to the RNZN later in 1976, the offer was rejected on account of the frigates age, and the view that it had not really equivalent to the second hand, Leander the RNZN wanted.

HMS Yarmouth
HMS Yarmouth

She carried out a variety of tasks including shore bombardment, anti-submarine patrols, covert operations and escorting merchant ships to and from the landing area. In the early hours of 23 May 1982, along with Brilliant, she intercepted and shelled the Argentine coaster Monsunen west of Lively Island; the coaster evaded capture by running aground at Seal Cove. After the San Carlos Landings (Operation Sutton) she provided air defence during the Battle of San Carlos for the landing ships in San Carlos Water. On 25 May she shot down an A4C Skyhawk (C-319), flown by Teniente Tomás Lucero, with her Sea Cat missile system. Lucero ejected and was recovered by Fearless. On 13–14 June, she and Active fired on Argentine positions during the Battle of Mount Tumbledown. During the war she fired over 1,000 shells from her 4.5″ guns, mostly during shore bombardment, and 58 anti-submarine Limbo mortar rounds.

She was decommissioned in 1986, and in 1987 towed out to the North Atlantic and sunk by weapons from Manchester in that year’s SinkEx on 16 June 1987.


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