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HMS Exeter (D89)
HMS Exeter in the River Thames, sailing downstream past Limehouse, London.
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Exeter
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Laid down: 22 July 1976
Launched: 25 April 1978
Sponsored by: Lady Joan Mulley
Commissioned: 19 September 1980
Decommissioned: 27 May 2009[1]
Homeport: Portsmouth
Identification: Pennant number: D89
Motto: Semper Fidelis ("Always faithful")
Honours and
Falkland Islands 1982 and Kuwait 1991.
Status: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class & type: Type 42 destroyer
Displacement: 4,820 tonnes
Length: 125 metres (410 ft)
Beam: 14.3 metres (47 ft)
Propulsion: COGOG (Combined Gas or Gas) turbines, 2 shafts
2 turbines producing 36 MW
Speed: 28.7 knots (53.2 km/h; 33.0 mph)
Complement: 287
Armament: Sea Dart missiles (removed as of November 2007)
4.5 in (114 mm) Mk 8 gun
Aircraft carried: Lynx HMA8

HMS Exeter was a Type 42 destroyer, the fifth ship of the Royal Navy to be named Exeter, after the city of Exeter in Devon.

Design and construction

Exeter was the first of the slightly modified 'Batch 2' Type 42 destroyers. This was a mid-build consideration with her later sister ship, Southampton, sporting a similar weapons and sensors upgrade with no discernible hull modifications. The weapons and sensors fit was the first grouping of the 1022, 992Q and 1006 radars in a British warship.

The ship was built by Swan Hunter, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 19 September 1980.[2]

Early in her first commission, Exeter had a turquoise hull on and below the waterline; this was an experimental co-polymer paint which was only available in a few non-standard colours at the time. The light-blue 'boot topping' visible on the waterline was eventually repainted to standard brick red/black during her first docking period, after the Falklands War.

Operational history

The ship saw service in the Falklands War, deploying from the Caribbean after the loss of Sheffield.[2] During the conflict, Exeter shot down three Argentine aircraft (two A-4C Skyhawks on 30 May, and a Learjet 35A on 7 June: all with Sea Dart missiles), and may have shot down an Exocet missile on 30 May (although this kill is claimed by another ship).[2][3]

Exeter also served in Operation Granby during the 1991 Gulf War,[2] under the command of Captain Nigel Essenhigh.[citation needed] Among her roles was the air defence of the US battleships bombarding enemy positions.[2]

She attended the 25th anniversary commemorations of the Falklands War at Newquay, Cornwall in 2007, as the last remaining Royal Navy ship in commission to have served in the Falklands.[4]

On 30 July 2008, she was placed in a state of 'extended readiness' at HMNB Portsmouth, until being decommissioned there on 27 May 2009.[1] In early 2010, Exeter was in use as a training hulk to assist with the training of new naval base tugs. She was put up for sale by auction on 28 March 2011[5] and finally towed away to be scrapped at Leyal Ship Recycling in Turkey on 23 September 2011, provoking some criticism from former crew members who were upset that the Ministry of Defence had apparently failed to inform them of the ship's fate.[6]

Commanding Officers

From To Captain
1980 1984 Commander [ [ Christopher Clay]] RN
1989 1991 Captain Nigel Essenhigh RN
2000 2002 Commander Chris Richards RN


  • The Rifles
  • Exeter College, Oxford
  • Worshipful Company of Plaisterers


  1. 1.0 1.1 HMS Exeter: last Falklands ship retires from service
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Flash Traffic: Falklands Veteran Goes for Scrap". Navy Leage of Australia. January 2012. p. 19. ISSN 1322-6231. 
  3. "Argentine Aircraft Lost". Falklands War 1982. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  4. p://
  5. "Carrier HMS Ark Royal put up for auction on MoD website". BBC News. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  6. "HMS Exeter’s quiet exit angers Falklands vets". The News. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 

External links

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