HMS Gloucester (D96)

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HMS Gloucester D96.jpg
HMS Gloucester
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Gloucester
Builder: Vosper Thornycroft[1]
Laid down: 29 October 1979
Launched: 2 November 1982[1]
Sponsored by: Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
Commissioned: 11 September 1985
Decommissioned: 30 June 2011[2]
Homeport: HMNB Portsmouth
Motto: Prorsum ("Onwards")
Nickname(s): "The Fighting G"
Fate: Sold for scrap
Status: Sold for scrap
  • On a Field Blue a Trident White enfiled by a horseshoe gold
  • HMS Gloucester badge.jpg
General characteristics
Class and type: Type 42 destroyer
Displacement: 5,200 tonnes
Length: 141 m (463 ft)
Beam: 15.2 m (50 ft)
  • COGOG (Combination of Gas or Gas) turbines, 2 shafts
  • 2 turbines producing 36 MW (48,000 hp)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Complement: 287
Aircraft carried:
  • 1 x Lynx HMA8 armed with
    • 4 × anti ship missiles
    • 2 × anti submarine torpedoes

HMS Gloucester was a Batch 3 Type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy. The ship was built by Vosper Thorneycroft at Woolston, Southampton and launched on 2 November 1982 by The Duchess of Gloucester. Gloucester was one of the modified last four of the class to be built, having a lengthened hull design giving better seakeeping qualities and greater endurance. The flight deck recognition letters worn by Gloucester were GC, and her international callsign was GBBF.


Gloucester served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 under the command of Commander (later Rear Admiral) Philip Wilcocks where her most notable action was the firing of a salvo shot of Sea Dart missiles to shoot an Iraqi Silkworm missile that had threatened the US battleship USS Missouri and now imperilled more allied shipping; the first successful missile versus missile engagement at sea in combat by any Navy.[1] Notably, after warning allied ships in the area, both the USS Missouri and USS Jarrett immediately fired flares and chaff to decoy the missile. However, drawing from the Royal Navy's experience during the Falklands War, when Exocet missiles re-acquired and fatally attacked the merchant ship Atlantic Conveyor after decoys were deployed, HMS Gloucester did not activate decoys. The Royal Navy considered missiles like the Silkworm as something to be shot down and not simply decoy, with firing chaff making that more difficult.[4]

The ship also survived attacks from two naval mines and conducted numerous boardings using her boarding party consisting of Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel. The ship's Lynx helicopter also engaged seven Iraqi warships.[1] She spent the longest period upthreat of any coalition warship. As a result of her endeavours, her captain (Commander Philip Wilcocks) and flight commander (Lt Cdr David Livingstone) were decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross; the operations officer and flight observer were both mentioned in Despatches. After this service Gloucester was rebranded with her nickname of "The Fighting G".

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Gloucester was the first Royal Navy vessel to evacuate British nationals from Beirut, berthing on 18 July 2006. She made three trips taking evacuees to Cyprus, and was the last Royal Navy ship to leave Beirut.[5] She underwent a £6 million refit at Rosyth Dockyard in Fife, Scotland, in 2007. On the morning of 26 August 2010 she intercepted the yacht Tortuga, smuggling £4 million of cocaine, during Gloucester's voyage out to the Falkland Islands, where she was deployed from August 2010 to early 2011.[6] On 20 September 2010 the government of Uruguay denied Gloucester access to Montevideo as a result of the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute.[7][8]

In May 2011, she took part in Exercise Saxon Warrior.[1] As part of Saxon Warrior '11, on 21 May 2011, Carrier Strike Group 2's Truxtun and Mitscher joined the U.S. replenishment tanker Leroy Grumman and the Spanish frigate Almirante Juan de Borbón in conducting a transit exercise, with Gloucester and frigate Westminster acting as hostile forces.[9] This was the final deployment for Gloucester prior to its decommissioning.[10][11]


Gloucester returned to HMNB Portsmouth for the final time on 24 May 2011 and decommissioned on 30 June 2011, under the command of her last captain, Commander David George.[2] On 22 September 2015 she left Portsmouth harbour under tow, bound for a breaker's yard in Turkey.[12]


The ship retains links with the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and the City of Gloucester. The ship's crest features a horseshoe, part of the city's Tudor arms.



  1. ^ a b c d e "Final trip for HMS Gloucester after Falklands' duties and Saxon Warrior exercise". MercoPress. 23 May 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2015. In 1997, Gloucester took part in Ocean Wave 97. A deployment of 8 months which saw her visit countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UAE as well as taking part in Exercise Flying Fish as part of the FPDA (Five Powers Defence Agreement) She sailed as part of Task Group 327.01 along with the flagship HMS Illustrious and other ships such as HMS Richmond and support ships. Part of the role of the Task Force was to oversee the peaceful handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese. 11 January 2012
  2. ^ a b "A sad day for Cornwall and Gloucester". Navy News.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Royal Navy Bridge Card, February 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
  4. ^ Pokrant, M. (1999) Desert Storm at Sea: What the Navy Really Did. London. pp.176-178.
  5. ^ "Praise for UK Lebanon evacuation". BBC News. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  6. ^ Bowcott, Owen (30 August 2010). "Royal Navy warship intercepts yacht carrying cocaine worth £4m". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Uruguay le negó la entrada a un buque de la Armada británica que se dirigía a las Malvinas" [Uruguay denies entry to a British Navy ship bound for the Falklands]. Infobae (in Spanish). 20 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Uruguayan gov't bans British heading-to-Malvinas vessel from entering Montevideo's port". Buenos Aires Herald. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  9. ^ King, Deven B. (23 May 2011). "USS Mitscher, Truxtun Participate in Coalition Strait Transit Exercise". America's Navy. US Navy. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Final trip for HMS Gloucester after Falklands' duties and Saxon Warrior exercise". Current Edition. MercoPress. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  11. ^ Knapper, Betsy Lynn (24 May 2011). "Gettysburg Participates in Saxon Warrior". NNS110524-12. USS Gettysburg Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  12. ^ "End of an era as Fighting G leaves Portsmouth". Navy News. 22 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.

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