HMS Londonderry was launched by Viscountess Brookeborough on the 20th May 1958 and commissioned on the 20th July 1960 at J. Samuel White's shipyard, Cowes, Isle of Wight.A "Rothesay" Class Modified Type 12 1st Rate Anti-Submarine Frigate similar to the earlier "Whitby" Class ships and forerunner of the later "Leander" Class.
Primarily designed for the location and destruction of the most modern submarines, these frigates were fitted with the latest underwater detection equipment and anti-submarine weapons of post war development. Good sea keeping qualities enable the vessels to maintain their high speed in rough seas. They are all welded and the structual arrangements were specially designed to achieve the lightest possible structure.
The propelling machinery fitted included geared turbines of novel design and high power. Double reduction gearing allows low propellor revolutions at high power and the propellor efficiency is correspondingly high. This coupled with improvements to hull design, enables these frigates to achieve over 30 knots on only 75 percent of the power required by older destroyers of comparable displacement - Jane's Fighting Ships 1964 - '65.
1960 - 1967 Served Home, West Indies and Far East. HMS Londonderry was modernised between 1967 to 1969 at Rosyth. In 1970 HMS Londonderry patrolled Malaysian waters during the Indonesian Confrontation. She emerged from a refit in 1979 with armaments removed and extra mast added for her new role as a trials ship for the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment. 1980 she evaluated pump jet propulsion systems. In March 1982 HMS Londonderry paid off into reserve. Although due for disposal, she was reprieved by the Falklands War and became a BRNC Dartmouth Training Ship. HMS Londonderry paid off finally on 29th March 1984 and became a Harbour Training Ship at Gosport attached to HMS Sultan. She remained in this role until 1988. HMS Londonderry was then towed out and sunk for target practice off Scotland on June 25th 1989.
One previous British warship carried the name of HMS Londonderry, a Grimsby Class Sloop, 990 tons, 250 x 36ft, armament two 4.7" guns and 1.3" gun. Ordered from HM Dockyard Devonport on 1st March 1934 under the 1932 Programme and laid down on 11th June 1934. The ship was launched by Mrs Noble on 16th January 1935 as the 1st RN ship to carry the name. Build was completed on 20 September 1935 and she sailed for service in the Red Sea on 30th of that month. The ship remained in the Red Sea until 1938 when she transferred to the South African Station. In February 1939 she refitted at Simonstown and was re-armed with new design twin 4in mountings. On completion she remained in the South Atlantic until being transferred to Freetown after the outbreak of war. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in February 1942 this Sloop was adopted by the civil community of Londonderry, Ulster. See CHRONOLOGIES OF WAR SERVICE OF ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS by Geoffrey B Mason, Lieutenant Commander, RN (Rtd) at Naval History Net for a detailed history of her wartime service.
Atlantic 1939-45 - North Sea 1940 - North Africa 1942-43 - Normandy 1944 - English Channel 1944-45.
Thanks to Barry Mills (ex L/Sea & Ships Photographer), Frank Budge (ex AB) for the Cruise Charts, Martin Hartenfeld (ex L/Writer) for extracts from the Commission book and the rest of the ships company for letting me use their personal photographs. To David Wickham (ex RO2) and his wife Cynthia, Instigator, founder, archivist, newsletter editor and organiser of 1st commission reunions our most sincere thanks for making it happen.
Clive (Charlie) Watts