HMS Liverpool: A Brief History of Ships of the Name

There have been seven ships in the Royal Navy to bear the name LIVERPOOL.

Ships of the Name

Seven ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS LIVERPOOL after the city of Liverpool, whilst another was planned:

  1. HMS Liverpool (1741) was a 40-gun fifth-rate frigate, built as HMS Enterprise but renamed before being launched in 1741. She was sold in 1756 and became a privateer. She was reacquired by the Navy in 1759 and entered service as the 30-gun HMS Looe (1759). She was sold in 1763.
  2. HMS Liverpool (1758) was a 28-gun sixth-rate frigate launched in 1758 and wrecked in 1778.
  3. HMS Liverpool (1814) was a 50-gun frigate, later reclassified as a fourth-rate ship of the line, launched in 1814 and sold in 1822.
  4. HMS Liverpool was to have been a 58-gun fourth-rate Southampton-class frigate, ordered in 1825 and cancelled in 1829.
  5. The name Liverpool was also the former name of the ship-of-the line HMS Imaum (1836), which was taken into the Royal Navy in 1836 as a gift from the Imaum of Muscat to the British crown; however the name Liverpool was not used in the Royal Navy for this ship.
  6. HMS Liverpool (1860) was a fourth-rate screw frigate launched in 1860 and sold in 1875.
  7. HMS Liverpool (1909) was a Town-class light cruiser launched in 1909 and scrapped in 1921.
  8. HMS Liverpool (C11) was a later Town-class light cruiser launched in 1938 and scrapped in 1958.
  9. HMS Liverpool (D92) was a Type 42 destroyer launched in 1980 and scrapped in 2014.

History

The first vessel, a 5th Rate of 40 guns, was built by John Okill at Liverpool and was launched in July She saw service off the Spanish coast and in the Mediterranean between 1741 and 1749 during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), was paid off in 1749 and sold out of service in 1756.

The second vessel, a 6th rate of 28 guns, was built by Gorill and Pownell, also at Liverpool, and was launched on the 19th February 1758. Between 1759 and 1777 she served in the Channel and North Sea, on the Newfoundland Station, and in the Mediterranean. She joined the fleet in North America under Lord Howe in 1777 during the American War of Independence and was wrecked off Long Island on the 11th February 1778.

The next LIVERPOOL was a 4th Rate of 50 guns, built by Wigram and Green at Blackwall on the Thames. She was launched on the 21st February 1814, and served on the Ape of Good Hope and East Indies Stations. In 1819 she took part in a successful expedition against the headquarters of the Persian gulf pirates at Ras al Khaima, but was sold out of service at Bombay in 1822.

A 4th Rate of 58 guns was ordered to be built at HM Dockyard Plymouth in 1826, but the order was cancelled in 1829, and the next ship to see service was a wooden screw frigate of 51 guns built by HM Dockyard Devonport and launched in 1860. She served on the North America and West Indies Station and in the Channel Squadron, and from 1869 to 1870 took part in a voyage round the world as part of Rear Admiral Phipps-Hornby’s Flying Squadron.

She was sold to be broken up in 1875, and was followed in 1909 by a Second Class Protected Cruiser armed with two 6 inch and ten 4 inch guns. She served in home waters from 1909 to 1914 when she joined the Grand Fleet and took part in the Heligoland Bight action. From 1915 to 1918 she served in the Adriatic and was sold for breaking up in 1921.

The sixth HMS LIVERPOOL (C11) was a 4,800 ton Southampton class cruiser built by Fairfields of Glasgow and launched in 1937. On the 21st January 1940, she intercepted the Japanese liner ASAMA MARU 35 miles form the coast of Japan and removed 21 German officers and men, survivors from then German SS COLUMBUS en-route too Germany. The LIVERPOOL was next transferred to the 7th Cruiser Squadron and on the 12th June 1940, she and HMS GLOUCESTER were engaged with enemy small craft off Tobruk. Later in the same month, on 28th, the 7th Cruiser Squadron engaged three Italian destroyers south-west of Cape Matapan at long range; the Italian destroyer VESPERO was sunk. In July, together with other units of the Mediterranean Fleet, the LIVERPOOL took part in an action off Calabria with an Italian force comprising two battleships, ten cruisers and 32 destroyers. In October 1940, the LIVERPOOL was damaged by aerial torpedo south east of Crete, and was repaired in the USA. On completion of repairs she took part in a number of Russian convoy operations. In June 1942, whilst escorting a Malta convoy, she was again damaged by aerial torpedo, and was under repair at Rosyth until 1944, when she reduced to care and maintenance. She re-commissioned to reserve in May 1952. She was finally broken up for scrap in 1958.

The seventh HMS LIVERPOOL (D92) was a Batch h 2 Type 42 guided missile destroyer, built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead. She was laid down in July 1978, launched in September 1980 and entered service in July 1982. Her principal weapons systems are the Sea Dart air to surface missile, the Lynx helicopter which can carry either the Stingray torpedo in the antisubmarine role or the Sea Skua missile in the anti-surface role, and a 114 mm Mk 8 DP gun. In addition, for close range warfare, she is armed with the Phalanx Mk 15 Close In Weapons System and four Oerlikon 20mm guns. She is propelled by COGOG Tyne/Olympus gas turbines, giving a maximum speed in the region of 29 knots, has an overall length of 412ft,displaces 3,500 tons standard load and carried a complement of some 24 officers and 230 ratings.

After commissioning and work-up HMS LIVERPOOL deployed to the South Atlantic late in 1982 as part of the Naval Task Group maintained in the Falkland Islands to deter any further Argentine aggression following the 1982 invasion and subsequent defeat. After a spell in home waters another South Atlantic deployment was conducted in 1984, followed by a period as West Indies Guardship in 1984-85. A further South Atlantic deployment followed in 1986, and another period as West Indies Guardship in 1987. However, by this time the emphasis had changed from the South Atlantic to the Persian Gulf during and after the 1980-88 Iran Iraq War, and in 1989 and 1990 she carried out two Armilla Patrols east of Suez.

Between 1990 and 1992 HMS LIVERPOOL carried out a major refit, and in 1993 returned to the Persian Gulf to conduct operations, principally maritime interdiction operations in support of United Nations Security Council Operations, in the wake of the 1990/1991 Gulf War. A period in home waters followed her return to Portsmouth in December 1993, but she returned east of Suez and carried out a further Amilla Patrol in 1994/1995.

In 1997 HMS LIVERPOOL returned to the West Indies, and was involved in relief operations in Montserrat following major volcanic eruptions on the island, and from August to December 1999 formed part of NATO’s Standing Naval Force Mediterranean. She returned to the Mediterranean in September for a series of exercises and port visits, and, on leaving then Mediterranean in October she visited the Canaries, Sierra Leone, the Cape Verde Islands, and Dakar before returning to Portsmouth in December. She started a maintenance period in January 2001.

HMS LIVERPOOL fired what is believed to be the first salvo of Sea Dart missiles in well over a decade, along with possibly the second only salvo ever. The firing took place approximately 250 miles (400 km) south-west of the Isles of Scilly on 8 September 2002, against a sea skimming target to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Sea Dart missile and Liverpool’s systems following a 12-month refit at Rosyth Dockyard.

HMS LIVERPOOL was part of Naval Task Group 03 (NTG03), intended to take part in exercises in the Far East as part of the Five Power Defence Arrangement. The task force was, instead, sent to the Persian Gulf where they took part in the 2003 Iraq War.

In 2005, HMS LIVERPOOL was sent to the Caribbean, where her duties included patrols to crack down on drug smuggling. In 2008, 18 sailors onboard tested positive for cocaine in a routine drug test.

HMS LIVERPOOL entered refit in 2009. On returning to service in 2010, HMS LIVERPOOL acted as an escort to fleet flagship Ark Royal’s task group during a four-month deployment to the United States and Canada as part of Exercise Auriga.

In late March 2011, HMS LIVERPOOL was ordered to the Mediterranean to relieve the Type 22 frigate HMS CUMBERLAND as the Royal Navy’s contribution to Operation Unified Protector, NATO’s naval blockade of Libya during the country’s civil war.

On 18 April, HMS LIVERPOOL intercepted the vessel MV Setubal Express heading for Tripoli, conducting a boarding party search with her own boarding party and finding trucks of potential use to the Gaddafi regime. The merchant vessel was ordered to divert to Salerno in Italy.

On 12 May 2011, while engaged in surveillance operations off the coast of the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata, HMS LIVERPOOL came under fire from a shore battery, making her the first Royal Navy warship to be deliberately targeted since the Falklands War. HMS LIVERPOOL had been tasked with other NATO warships, to intercept small, high-speed inflatable craft spotted approaching the port of Misrata, the type which had been used previously to lay mines in the Port of Misrata. Libyan rocket artillery on the coast fired an inaccurate salvo of rockets at HMS LIVERPOOL. HMS LIVERPOOL returned fire with her 4.5 inch main gun, silencing the shore battery, in the Royal Navy’s first use of the weapon since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

On 28 June 2011, HMS LIVERPOOL used her main gun to fire warning shots at pro-Gaddafi maritime forces moving along Libya’s Mediterranean coast just west of the city of Misrata, amid concerns a threat was posed to civilians due to recent repeated attempts to mine the harbour. After initially ignoring the first shell, a further three were fired and the vessels were forced to return to their port of departure.

On the morning of 3 August 2011, several rockets were fired at HMS LIVERPOOL. She returned fire with her 4.5 inch main gun. The attack came after the ship had fired a barrage of illumination rounds in support of an air attack on the stronghold of Zliten.

On 16 August 2011, HMS LIVERPOOL was involved in the most intense shore-bombardment of the war. HMS LIVERPOOL had been tasked by a patrol aircraft to fire illumination rounds over the city of Zlitan. While conducting this mission, HMS LIVERPOOL came under fire from a Loyalist shore-battery. HMS LIVERPOOL responded by firing three rounds from her 4.5 inch gun, silencing the battery. Later on the same day, a patrol aircraft spotted a large pro-Gaddafi vehicle convoy carrying weapons and ammunition. HMS LIVERPOOL fired 54 shells from her 4.5 inch gun at the convoy, destroying or severely damaging many of the vehicles. During the ensuing chaos on the ground, NATO aircraft destroyed the remainder of the convoy.

HMS LIVERPOOL returned from Operation Unified Protector on 7 November 2011, entering Portsmouth Harbour after more than seven months of operations off Libya. She had fired over 200 rounds from her main gun during the conflict.

On 7 February 2012, HMS LIVERPOOL escorted a Russian task group centred on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov from the Channel, off south-west England, to the seas off south-west Ireland. The task group of two warships and five support ships were making their way home to the Northern and Baltic Fleets of the Russian Navy.

In March 2012, HMS LIVERPOOL took part in Exercise ‘Cold Response’, a NATO winter war games exercise being conducted in northern Norway, where she acted as an escort to the helicopter carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and the amphibious assault ship HMS BULWARK.

The ship made her final visit to the city of Liverpool on 29 February 2012 where on Saturday 03 March and Sunday 04 March 2012, the general public were invited on deck to look around the ship.

HMS LIVERPOOL was formally decommissioned on 30 March 2012 and scrapped in October 2014.

Reference

FOI 2019/01021 dated 06 February 2019.

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