HMS Antrim (D18)

HMS Antrim was a County-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy launched on 19 October 1967. In the Falklands War, she was the flagship for the recovery of South Georgia, participating in the first ever anti-submarine operation successfully conducted exclusively by helicopters. In 1984, she was commissioned into the Chilean Navy, and renamed Almirante Cochrane.

Chilean destroyer Cochrane
History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Antrim
Namesake: Antrim
Ordered: 5 January 1965
Builder: Upper Clyde Shipbuilders
Laid down: 20 January 1966
Launched: 19 October 1967
Sponsored by: Mrs Roy Mason, wife of then Minister of Defence (Equipment), Roy Mason
Commissioned: 14 July 1970
Decommissioned: 1984
Identification: pennant number: D18
Honours and
awards:
Falklands War
Fate: Sold to Chile on 22 June 1984
Chile
Name: Almirante Cochrane
Namesake: Thomas Cochrane
Acquired: 22 June 1984
Decommissioned: 7 December 2006
General characteristics
Class and type: County-class destroyer
Displacement: 5,440 tonnes (6,850 tonnes full load)
Length: 522 ft (159 m)
Beam: 53 ft (16 m)
Draught: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Propulsion: COSAG (Combined steam and gas) turbines, 2 shafts
Armament:
Aircraft carried: 1 × Wessex HAS Mk 3 helicopter Humphrey
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for embarking one helicopter

Background

Antrim first commissioned in 1970 and served her first commission in home and Mediterranean waters.[1] In the mid-1970s, the Royal Navy removed 'B' turret and replaced it with four Exocet missile launchers to give her a much more powerful anti-ship capability. After installation of the Exocet missiles it was found that the missile could be activated by small arms fire, so armoured plates were fitted to the outer sides of the missiles containers.

Operational history

In 1976 her commission included a visit to Stockholm where she represented the Royal Navy at the wedding of the King of Sweden.[2]

Falklands War

In 1982 she formed part of the Royal Navy task force for service in the Falklands War.

Antrim was the flagship of Operation Paraquet, the recovery of South Georgia in April 1982,[3] where she took part in a 400-shell bombardment.[4] Her helicopter, a Westland Wessex HAS.Mk3, was responsible for the rescue of 16 SAS men from Fortuna Glacier, and the crew of two previous rescue helicopters that had crashed. The aircraft played a key role in the detection and disabling of the Argentinian submarine Santa Fe.[4] This was the first ever anti-submarine operation successfully conducted exclusively by helicopters.[5] Captain Lagos, commander of the Argentine forces on South Georgia, signed the surrender document for the Argentine forces there in her wardroom. Lieutenant-Commander Alfredo Astiz signed a separate document shortly afterwards aboard HMS Plymouth.

While supporting the main landing at San Carlos Water, 12 bombs narrowly missed, but a 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb penetrated Antrim. It did not explode or kill anyone, and it took 10 hours to remove.[4] Antrim fired her Sea Slug Missile at an Argentine Air Force A-4 Skyhawk without hitting it.

A name board formerly belonging to her now resides in the Falkland Islands Museum, Stanley.[6]

Chilean Navy

Antrim was decommissioned in 1984 and sold to Chile on 22 June 1984. The Chileans renamed her Almirante Cochrane after Thomas Cochrane, who had commanded the Chilean Navy from 1817 to 1822. In 1994, Almirante Cochrane underwent the same refit as her sister ship Blanco Encalada. This entailed removing her Sea Slug launcher and extending her deck aft to allow the installation of a new, larger hangar. In 1996 she received the Barak SAM in place of her Seacat launchers.

The Chilean Navy decommissioned Almirante Cochrane on 7 December 2006. On 11 December 2010, she was towed to China for scrap.

Affiliates as HMS Antrim

As part of her relationship with County Antrim, she carried a piece of the Giant's Causeway mounted in the ship's main passageway, appropriately also named the Giant's Causeway.[8]

Commanding officers

FromToCaptain
19701971Captain H W E Hollins RN
19711973Captain D A Loram MVO RN
19731974Captain George A F Bower RN
19741975Captain Harry R Keate RN
19751977Captain R Michael Burgoyne RN
19771979Captain Gordon F Walwyn RN
19791981Captain Michael F Parry RN
19811983Captain B G Young DSO RN
19831984Captain Jake D L Backus RN

Notes

Sources

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