HMS Sheffield (F96)

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The Chilean Navy's Almirante Williams
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Sheffield
Namesake: Sheffield
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Laid down: 29 March 1984
Launched: 26 March 1986
Commissioned: 26 July 1988
Decommissioned: 5 November 2002
Identification: Pennant number: F96
  • Deo Adjuvante Labor Proficit
  • (Latin: "With God's help our labour is successful")
Nickname(s): Shiny Sheff
Fate: Sold to Chile
Name: Almirante Williams
Commissioned: 4 September 2003
Identification: Pennant number: FF-19
Status: In active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Type 22 frigate
Displacement: 5,300 tons
Length: 148.1 metres (486 ft)
Beam: 14.8 metres (49 ft)
  • 33 kilometres per hour (21 mph) cruise
  • 56 kilometres per hour (35 mph) sprint
Complement: 250
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • In Chilean Navy service
  • 1 × Marconi Type 967M air/surface search
  • 1 × ELTA EL/M-2238 air search
  • 2 × ELTA EL/M-2221GM fire-control
Electronic warfare
& decoys:

In Chilean Navy service

Terma SKWS
Aircraft carried:

HMS Sheffield is a Type 22 frigate originally in service with the British Royal Navy. Initially it was meant to be called Bruiser but was named Sheffield in honour of the previous Sheffield, a Type 42 destroyer sunk in the Falklands War. Entering service in 1988, Sheffield served with the Royal Navy until 2002. In 2003, the vessel was acquired by the Chilean Navy and renamed Almirante Williams. The frigate is currently in service with the Chilean Navy.


Sheffield was launched on 26 March 1986, by Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom, and named by Mrs Susan Stanley, wife of the then Armed Forces Minister. The ship was commissioned at Hull on 26 July 1988. Several crewmen of the previous Sheffield were at the launch. A specially minted Sheffield coin was placed in the keel at the keel-laying ceremony on 29 March 1984.

In late 1998, Sheffield provided assistance after Hurricane Georges, visiting the island of St Kitts and also saved a Honduran woman who had been swept out to sea from her home by the force of Hurricane Mitch.[1][2]

Sheffield attended the August Bank Holiday 28–30 August 1999 Navy Days at HMNB Devonport, berthed with Sutherland, Somerset, Monmouth, Montrose, Manchester, Illustrious, Campbeltown, Trafalgar, Triumph and RFA Argus.

Sheffield at HMNB Devonport Navy day, 1999.

May 2000 saw Sheffield deployed on an eight-week deployment into the Baltic Sea, which included a two-week BALTOPS 2000 - France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, United States, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and the Netherlands all contributed ships to the exercise, which involved aspects of search and rescue as well as military joint exercises. Sheffield later visited Kiel, then Gdynia, the Twin city of Plymouth, with the Lord Mayor of Plymouth before visiting St. Petersburg in Russia. Sheffield visited Kotka in Finland before Klaipėda in Lithuania, as the first major British warship to visit the city. Sheffield returned home on 26 July.[3]

8 February 2001 saw Sheffield, under Commander Simon Williams, deployed to the Caribbean for a six-month deployment.[4] Sheffield was deployed to assist the United States Coast Guard, Dutch, French and Venezuelan navies in anti-drug operations and exercises. There were visits to the USA as well as Barbados, Trinidad, Antigua, St Lucia, Curaçao and the Bahamas. Sheffield took part in Exercise Tradewinds, which promoted interoperability between coastguards and law enforcement agencies in the area. Other ships in the exercise included TTS Nelson and RFA Gold Rover.[5]

5 February 2002 saw Sheffield deployed to the Standing Naval Force Mediterranean to replace Chatham. The mission was anti-terrorism by monitoring merchant shipping. There were also visits to Turkey, Sicily, Crete, Spain and Algiers.[6] Sheffield was the flagship of Commodore Angus Somerville. Tuesday 26 February saw Sheffield assist the Spanish submarine Siroco, whilst participating in the exercise DOGFISH 2002. The submarine needed medicines for a sailor whilst in the Ionian Sea.[7]

On 11 October 2002 Sheffield visited Kingston upon Hull one last time so that she could be visited by the people of her namesake city of Sheffield.[8]

Sheffield was decommissioned on 4 November 2002.[9][10][11] After 14 years service, which included providing humanitarian assistance to Nicaragua and Honduras after Hurricane Mitch (which earned her the Wilkinson Sword of Peace along with Ocean), the Strategic Defence Review of 1998 (updated 2001) saw the end of her career.

Chilean service[edit]

Sheffield was sold to Chile on 4 September 2003 and renamed Almirante Williams in honour of Juan Williams Rebolledo. She received a major refit in 2008, which saw her weapons fit change to:-

The new equipment was retrieved from decommissioned County-class destroyers.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "HMS Ocean returns from trials in the west indies". Royal Navy. 11 December 1998.
  2. ^ "Sir Tristram - finally home after hurricane relief operations". Royal Navy. 17 December 1998.
  3. ^ "HMS Sheffield returns from the Baltic sea". Royal Navy. 25 July 2000.
  4. ^ "HMS Sheffield bound for the Caribbean". Royal Navy. 7 February 2001.
  5. ^ "HMS Sheffield deployment update". Royal Navy. 20 June 2001.
  6. ^ "HMS Sheffield to take over role as NATO flagship". Royal Navy. 7 February 2002.
  7. ^ "HMS Sheffield Lynx helps Spanish submarine". Royal Navy. 28 February 2002.
  8. ^ "HMS Sheffield's farewell visit". BBC. 11 October 2002.
  9. ^ "Withdrawal from service of HMS Sheffield". Royal Navy. 9 October 2002.
  10. ^ "HMS Sheffield is decommissioned at Devonport". Royal Navy. 12 November 2002.
  11. ^ "HMS Sheffield is decommissioned". BBC. 4 November 2002.
  12. ^ "FF-19 "Almirante Williams"". Chilean Navy. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013.
  • HMS Sheffield Type 22 Frigate (Batch 2A) guide. Directorate of Public Relations (Royal Navy). Printed in UK for HMSO by Roman Press Ltd, Bournemouth. Crown Copyright 1994, London.
  • Devonport Navy Days guide 1999

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Lofthouse, Alistair (1998). Shiny Sheff – The Story of Sheffield's Fighting Ships. Northern Map Distributors. ISBN 1-901587-03-7. An overall history of the three vessels named HMS Sheffield.