HMS Devonshire (D02)

HMS Devonshire was the first of the County-class destroyers and the first Batch 1 ship of the Royal Navy. The ship was built by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead near Liverpool. With a displacement of 5,440 tonnes (6,850 tonnes full load), Devonshire was named after the English county of Devon. She was launched on 10 June 1960 and delivered to the navy two years later.

United Kingdom
Name: HMS Devonshire
Ordered: 24 January 1956
Builder: Cammell Laird
Laid down: 9 March 1959
Launched: 10 June 1960
Commissioned: 15 November 1962
Decommissioned: 1978
Identification: Pennant number: D02
Fate: Sunk as a target on 17 July 1984
General characteristics
Class and type: County-class destroyer
Displacement: 5,440 tonnes (6,850 tonnes full load)
Length: 158.6 m (520 ft 4 in)
Beam: 53 ft (16 m)
Draught: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Propulsion: COSAG (Combined steam and gas) turbines, 2 shafts
Speed: 31.5 knots (58.3 km/h)
Range: 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km)
Complement: 470
Aircraft carried:Lynx or Wessex helicopter
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for embarking one helicopter

Operational Service

In 1962 Devonshire was commissioned and became the first operational Royal Navy ship to fire the Seaslug missile.[1] Following work up, she sailed for the Mediterranean, followed by a return to her home port of Portsmouth. From here she then sailed for Bermuda and the United States.[2] She returned to Portsmouth just before the end of 1962. Captain George Cunningham Leslie OBE, served as Commanding officer from 1965 to 1966.

On 31 August 1966, Devonshire collided with the tanker British Sovereign off the mouth of the River Elbe. No-one was injured on either ship.[3]

Captain Peter Buchanan served as Commanding Officer from 1973 to 1974. Devonshire was involved in patrol duties in the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean Sea, but was not involved in any armed conflict of the United Kingdom. Like the other first batch of County-class ships, Devonshire was fitted with the Sea Slug anti aircraft missile defence system. She attended the 1977 Silver Jubilee Fleet Review off Spithead when she was part of the First Flotilla.[4]

Decommissioning and disposal

Devonshire was decommissioned under defence cuts in 1978, though was immediately offered for sale to Egypt, but the sale did not go through. Laid up in Portsmouth harbour for six years, the ship was used as a target, first for testing the new Sea Eagle air-launched cruise missile, then sunk by HMS Splendid as a target on 17 July 1984 (two days after the Sea Eagle test) in the North Atlantic, whilst testing the Mark 24-Mod-2 Tigerfish torpedo.

Media references

A fictional HMS Devonshire was mentioned in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

See also


  2. Commissioning Book, HMS Devonshire 1962-1964, HMSO
  3. "Collision court acquittal". Navy News. November 1966. p. 15. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  4. Official Souvenir Programme, 1977. Silver Jubilee Fleet Review, HMSO


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