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HMS Plymouth (F126)

HMS Plymouth is a Rothesay class frigate, which served in the United Kingdom Royal Navy from 1959 to 1988. She was named after the English city of Plymouth. Since decommissioning as a warship, HMS Plymouth has been preserved, and opened to the public at various United Kingdom ports.

History

Construction

Plymouth was built at Devonport Dockyard, in her namesake city of Plymouth, and was launched by Viscountess Astor on July 20, 1959.

Active service

During her lifetime, Plymouth served in a variety of locations, including the Far East and Australia. She saw action in the Cod Wars between the United Kingdom and Iceland and also the Falklands War in 1982.

Plymouth was one of the first Royal Navy ships to arrive in the South Atlantic following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Plymouth alongside HMS Brilliant and HMS Endurance took part in the recapturing of South Georgia on April 28. Plymouth landed Royal Marines from her Westland Wasp helicopters and bombarded Argentine troop positions on the island. Later her Wasp helicopter took part in an attack on the ARA Santa Fe, which was badly damaged and later captured by Royal Marines.

After South Georgia was liberated, Plymouth rejoined the main task force, taking part in many operations before the landings at San Carlos Water. Plymouth supported troops on the ground by bombarding Argentine troop positions with her two guns. On June 8, a lone Plymouth was attacked by Dagger fighters of the Argentine Air Force, and Able seaman missileman Phil Orr managed to fire her Sea Cat missile system at them, claiming the shooting down of two aircraft. Later it was determined that no Dagger was lost in action that day. Plymouth was hit by bombs and cannon shells, causing considerable damage to the ship which was fixed by LMEM Robin Cunningham. She returned to Rosyth Dockyard after the war for repair and refit.

The following year, Plymouth served as the West Indies Guardship which included several days anchored off Belize.

In preservation

After decommissioning in 1988, the Warship Preservation Trust acquired the ship for preservation. In 1990 the ship was towed to Glasgow and placed on display at a berth on the River Clyde. Subsequently she was relocated to Birkenhead for display alongside other ships and submarines. On 6 February 2006, the Warship Preservation Trust closed, citing financial difficulties and, by default, is currently owned by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC) following the demise of the Trust. Plymouth's future as a museum ship is now uncertain.

Plymouth City Council had expressed an interest in HMS Plymouth, and the HMS Plymouth Preservation Trust undertook to raise the £250,000 needed to bring the warship back to her home city. It had been hoped that the frigate could be berthed at Millbay Docks, but the offer of a berth was withdrawn in January 2007 by Associated British Ports.

A petition, on 10 Downing Street's E-petitions web site sought to encourage the UK government to provide a berth for the ship. It received 2,204 online signatures by the deadline date of 5 May 2007.

References

General

  • The history of HMS Plymouth
  • Souvenir guide to HMS Plymouth, entitled HMS Plymouth, Falklands Veteran, Her Story, no publisher or publication date declared, but dating from the period the ship was on display in Glasgow.

Notes

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