HMS Minerva (F45)

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United Kingdom
Name: HMS Minerva
Builder: Vickers Armstrong[1][2]
Laid down: 25 July 1963[1]
Launched: 19 December 1964[1][2]
Commissioned: 14 May 1966[1][2]
Decommissioned: March 1992
Identification: Pennant number F45
Nickname(s): "Fighting 45"[3]
Fate: Sold for scrap July 1993
General characteristics
Class and type: Leander-class frigate
Displacement: 3,200 long tons (3,251 t) full load
Length: 113.4 m (372 ft)
Beam: 12.5 m (41 ft)
Draught: 5.8 m (19 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers supplying steam to two sets of White-English Electric double-reduction geared turbines to two shafts
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h)
Range: 4,600 nautical miles (8,500 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 223
Aircraft carried:

HMS Minerva (F45) was a Leander-class frigate frigate of the Royal Navy. The ship commissioned in 1966 and took part in the Beira Patrol and Second Cod War during the 1970s and the Falklands War in 1982. Charles, Prince of Wales served aboard the ship in the 1970s. Between these major engagements, the frigate patrolled British territorial waters and took part in NATO and British military exercises. Minerva was decommissioned in 1992 and sold for scrap.


The frigate was built by Vickers Armstrong.[1][4] She was launched on 19 December 1964,[1][2] and commissioned on 14 May 1966.[1][2]

In 1968, Minerva deployed to the West Indies during some troubles there, operating from Bermuda. Island hopping was carried to show the "flag". In 1970, Minerva, like many other British vessels including other Leanders, deployed on Beira Patrol, an operation designed to prevent oil from reaching the landlocked Rhodesia via Mozambique, before visiting various ports around Asia and the Pacific. The following year, Minerva deployed on her second Beira Patrol which proved relatively quiet.

In November 1972, the Prince of Wales joined Minerva. The following year, in February, Minerva, along with the Prince, deployed to the Caribbean. While there Minerva was involved in a number of exercises, including Exercise "Rum Punch" at Puerto Rico, involving British and American forces. The ship returned to the UK in November. Minerva then took part in the Second Cod War, in early 1973. In 1975, Minerva returned to the Caribbean, performing a variety of duties there.

Between December 1975 and March 1979, Minerva underwent modernisation, including the addition of Exocet missiles. While she was undergoing post refit trials Minerva suffered a starboard boiler explosion which destroyed both boiler uptakes forcing her to be towed to Chatham Dockyard for repairs.[5] Following completion of the repairs and refit, Minerva became leader of the Fifth Frigate Squadron.[6] On 15 December 1979, a 200 feet (61 m) dockyard crane at Devonport Dockyard collapsed in a storm, hitting Minerva and the frigate Ambuscade, which was berthed alongside. Minerva' starboard Seacat launched was wrecked, and her hangar damaged, while Ambuscade had one of her boats damaged.[5][7] In 1980, Minerva deployed to the Mediterranean where she carried out exercises with other NATO warships. While there Minerva got involved in the Cold War when she shadowed Kiev, the nameship of a three-ship class of large aircraft carriers. In 1981, Minerva was involved in further exercises in the Persian Gulf.

In 1982 during the Falklands War Minerva was part of the 'Bristol Group' and thus joined the war rather late, not reaching the Falkland Islands until 26 May. While there, Minerva performed a number of duties, including escort for other vessels. On 1 June 1982 her radar detected an Argentinian C-130 and vectored a flight of patrolling Sea Harriers towards it. The reconnaissance plane was intercepted and shot down.[8] Minerva suffered no damage during her deployment during the Falklands War and she returned to Devonport in September, crowds greeting her upon her return.

In November, Minerva accidentally rammed the Rothesay-class frigate HMS Yarmouth. In late 1984, Minerva returned to the South Atlantic on a deployment that encompassed all British South Atlantic territories, a deployment which lasted into 1985. In 1986, Minerva completed a brief three-month deployment to the Caribbean. This was followed by BOST at Portland and JMC 863. On 12 January 1987 Minerva once again deployed to the South Atlantic as Falklands Guardship including a visit to South Georgia. She was relieved by HMS Penelope in May and returned home via the Patagonian Canal visiting Valparaiso, Chile, Lima, Peru, Panama and Florida. She returned home briefly for annual leave on 3 July before returning to sea early August on FCS duties and a further BOST. Minerva completed 330 sea days in this year. 1988 was a quieter affair with a short visit to the Mediterranean followed by refit in September 1988. In 1990 as part of the Dartmouth Training Group led by HMS Bristol, she completed deployments to the Great Lakes and a global deployment in 1990. On her return and showing her age, Minerva was laid up in March 1992, her long and eventful career finally coming to an end. The following year Minerva was sold for scrap.

Commanding officers

From To Captain
1978 1980 Captain Benjamin Bathurst RN
1987 1988 Commander Chris Hunt RN
1989 1991 Commander Christopher Clay RN
1991 1992 Commander Duncan Campbell MacGregor Fergusson RN


  1. ^ a b c d e f g
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Critchley 1992, p. 122
  6. ^ "Ships of the Royal Navy No. 284: Minerva takes the lead". Navy News. July 1979. p. 5. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Knock-Out Blow For Minerva". Navy News. January 1980. p. 40. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  8. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed C-130H Hercules TC-63 Pebble Island". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 22 September 2018.


External links

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