HMS Ariadne (F72)

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HMS Ariadne F72 (Leander-class frigate).jpg
RN EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Ariadne
Operator: Royal Navy
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down: 1 November 1969
Launched: 10 September 1971
Commissioned: 10 February 1973
Decommissioned: May 1992
Identification: Pennant number: F72
Fate: Sold to Chile, 1992
Chilean Naval EnsignChile
Name: General Baquedano
Namesake: Manuel Baquedano
Operator: Chilean Navy
Commissioned: 1992
Decommissioned: December 1998
Fate: Sunk as target in 2003
General characteristics
Class and type: Leander-class frigate
Aircraft carried: 1 × Westland Wasp helicopter

HMS Ariadne was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1971, was sold to Chile in 1992 and sunk as a target hulk in 2004.


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 and Tarbatness made a nine-month deployment to the Far East, visiting Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, South Africa and Gibraltar. Ariadne participated in Beira Patrol. She also refuelled from an old oiler permanently moored at 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 honour 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was intended for modernisation, which would have included the removal of her one 4.5-in Mk.6 gun, which would have been replaced by the Exocet anti-ship missile, as well as the addition of the Sea Wolf missile, but the 1981 Defence Review by the defence minister John Nott, cancelled the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 III 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 Royal Navy vessels in return. 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 Royal Navy warships to visit Dutch Harbour, in the Aleutian Islands, since Captain James Cook landed there in 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 Civic Centre, and the ship's bell is situated outside the council chamber inside the Civic Centre.

Chilean Navy[edit]

Ariadne was finally decommissioned by the Royal Navy 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]

From To Commanding officer
1973 1974 Captain P A Pinkster
1974 1975 Commander C J Caughey
1975 1976 Captain Benjamin Bathurst
1977 1977 Captain T M Bevan
1977 1979 Commander B J Clarke

1982 Captain Tim Bevan

1984 1986 Captain Peter A Voute
1986 1987 Captain Peter J Grindal
1988 1990 Commander Adrian Johns
1990 1992 Commander D L W Sim


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