HMS Ariadne (F72)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Ariadne.
HMS Ariadne F72 (Leander-class frigate).jpg
Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Ariadne (F72)
Operator: Royal Navy
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down: 1 November 1969
Launched: 10 September 1971
Commissioned: 10 February 1973
Decommissioned: May 1992
Fate: Sold to Chile, 1992
Career (Chile) Chilean Naval Ensign
Name: General Baquedano
Namesake: Manuel Baquedano
Operator: Chilean Navy
Commissioned: 1992
Decommissioned: December 1998
Fate: Sunk as target in 2003
General characteristics
Class & type: Leander class frigate
Armament: Twin 4.5 inch (114 mm) naval guns
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
Sea Cat anti-aircraft missile launcher
Limbo anti-submarine mortar
Aircraft carried: 1 × Westland Wasp helicopter

HMS Ariadne (F72) was a Leander class frigate of the Royal Navy (RN).

Construction[edit]

Ariadne was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders of Scotstoun and was the last of the Leander class to be completed, and the last warship to be built for the RN powered by steam. Ariadne was launched on 10 September 1971 and commissioned at Devonport Naval Base, Plymouth on Friday 2 March 1973 at 11.10. Like the rest of the Leander class, she was named after a figure of Greek mythology. Ariadne was Greek goddess of Labyrinths and Passions.

Royal Navy[edit]

In the year of her commission, Ariadne undertook a Fishery Protection Patrol during the Second Cod War with Iceland. In 1974 Ariadne in company with Fife (FOF2 embarked), Scylla, Danae, Londonderry, Tidespring, Tarbatness made a nine month deployment to the Far East. Ariadne also participated in Biera Patrol. Ariadne also refuelled from an old oiler permanently moored in Gan in the Indian Ocean. In 1976, Ariadne completed a refit and the following year took part in the annual Group Deployment, visiting a variety of ports in South America and West Africa, as well as performing naval exercises.

In 1977, Galatea also took part in the Fleet Review, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. Ariadne was part of the 7th Frigate Squadron.[1] In 1978, Ariadne joined Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT), a NATO multi-national squadron.

Ariadne was intended for modernisation, which would have included the removal of her one 4.5-in Mk.6 gun, which would have been replaced by the Exocet anti-ship missile, as well as the addition of the Sea Wolf missile, but the 1981 Defence Review by the defence minister John Nott, cancelled the modernisation for Ariadne and other Batch Three Leander class frigates. In 1981 Ariadne became the West Indies Guard Ship and, while there, performed a variety of duties in that region.

In 1982, during the Falklands war, Ariadne was targeted by an Argentinian commando who tried to sink her at Gibraltar (Operation Algeciras). In 1983 she shadowed the Soviet cruiser Slava. It was a common practice during the Cold War, with Soviet warships quite often shadowing RN vessels too. In 1987 Ariadne joined the 6th Frigate Squadron.

HMS Ariadne off Yorktown, Virginia, in 1981.

Ariadne came out of refit in Rosyth Dockyard, Fife, Scotland, in 1989 and replaced HMS Juno in the Dartmouth Training Squadron. In 1990, in consort with HM ships Bristol and Minerva, she took part in Endeavour '90, a six-month circumnavigation of the globe. During this deployment she travelled 500,000 miles and was one of the first RN warships to visit Dutch Harbour, in the Aleutian Islands, since Captain James Cook landed there in HM Bark Endeavour.

Ariadne was formally adopted by Scunthorpe Borough Council on 8 March 1973. The ship's anchor is still located outside the now North Lincolnshire Council's main administrative building Pittwood House and the ship's bell is situated outside the Council Chamber inside Pittwood House.

HMS Ariadne has the distinction of being the last RN warship to fire a 'true' broadside.

Chilean Navy[edit]

Ariadne was finally decommissioned by the RN in May 1992 and was subsequently sold to Chile, being renamed General Baquedano. She was decommissioned from the Chilean Navy in December 1998 and sunk as target in 2004.

Commanding officers[edit]

1973 1975 Captain P.A. Pinkster RN
1975 1976 Captain Benjamin Bathurst RN
1977 1977 Captain T M Bevan
1977 1979 Commander B J Clarke RN
1984 1986 Captain Peter A Voute RN
1986 1987 Captain Peter J Grindal RN
1988 1990 Commander Adrian Johns RN

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official Souvenir Programme, 1977. Silver Jubilee Fleet Review, HMSO

Publications[edit]