HMS Glamorgan (D19)

HMS Glamorgan was a County-class destroyer of the Royal Navy with a displacement of 5,440 tonnes. The ship was built by Vickers-Armstrongs in Newcastle Upon Tyne and named after the Welsh county of Glamorgan.[2]

HMS Glamorgan in 1972
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Glamorgan
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs
Laid down: 13 September 1962
Launched: 9 July 1964
Commissioned: 14 October 1966
Decommissioned: 1986
  • I Fyny Bo'r Nod
  • (Welsh: "I Give Way To None")
Fate: Sold to Chile in September 1986
Name: Almirante Latorre
Acquired: September 1986
Commissioned: 1986
Decommissioned: 1998
Fate: Sunk at sea on 11 April 2005 on way to breakers
General characteristics
Class and type: County-class destroyer
Displacement: 6,200 tonnes (6,100 long tons) (full load)
Length: 520 ft (160 m)
Beam: 53 ft (16 m)
Draught: 20 ft 5 in (6.22 m)
Propulsion: COSAG (Combined steam and gas), two sets of geared steam turbines and 4 G6 Gas Turbines producing 30,000 shp (22,000 kW), 2 shafts
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h) (maximum)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) at 28 knots (52 km/h)
Capacity: 471
Aircraft carried:Wessex HAS Mk 3 helicopter
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and enclosed hangar for embarking one helicopter

She was launched on 9 July 1964, and was delivered to the Royal Navy two years later.[2] in 1974, she was the subject of a refit,[3] when 'B' turret was replaced by four Exocet launchers[1] in attempt to provide the Royal Navy, reduced to one strike carrier, HMS Ark Royal, with some surface fighting capability beyond the range of 4.5/6 inch guns. A much more expensive update, costing £63 million,[4] fitted Glamorgan in 1977–1980 with a computerised C3 ADWAS system well in advance of its original fitting, but limited by the essential manual nature of the 4.5" turret and the ageing Seacat and Seaslug missiles.

In the spring and early summer of 1982 Glamorgan was involved in the Falklands War during which she engaged Argentine land forces and protected shipping. In the last days of the war Argentine navy technicians fired a land-based MM-38 Exocet missile which struck the ship causing damage and killing 14 sailors. She was refitted in late 1982. Her last active deployment for the Royal Navy was to the coast of Lebanon in 1984.

In 1986 she was sold to the Chilean Navy, and renamed Almirante Latorre. She served for 12 years until late 1998. On 11 April 2005, she sank while under tow to be broken up.

Construction and design

Two County-class guided-missile destroyers, Glamorgan and Fife were ordered as part of the Royal Navy's 1961–62 shipbuilding programme, as a follow-on to the existing four County-class destroyers ordered under the 1955–56 and 1956–57 programmes.[5] They differed from the previous ships in being fitted with the revised Seaslug GWS2 missile system, which was expected to be much more effective than the earlier GWS1 system, and the use of the ADAWS combat data system to aid control of the ship's weapons.[6]

Glamorgan was 521 feet 6 inches (158.95 m) long overall and 505 feet (153.92 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 54 feet (16.46 m) and a draught of 20 feet 6 inches (6.25 m). Displacement was 6,200 long tons (6,300 t) normal and 6,900 long tons (7,000 t) deep load.[7] The ship was propelled by a combination of steam turbines and gas turbines in a Combined steam and gas (COSAG) arrangement, driving two propeller shafts. Each shaft could by driven by a single 15,000 shaft horsepower (11,000 kW) steam turbine (fed with steam at 700 pounds per square inch (4,800 kPa) and 700 °F (371 °C; 644 K)) from Babcock & Wilcox boilers[8]) and two Metrovick G6 gas turbines (each rated at 7,500 shaft horsepower (5,600 kW)), with the gas turbines being used for high speeds and to allow a quick departure from ports without waiting for steam to be raised.[9] Maximum speed was 30 knots (35 mph; 56 km/h) and the ship had a range of 3,500 nautical miles (4,000 mi; 6,500 km) at 28 knots (32 mph; 52 km/h).[10][7]

A twin launcher for the Seaslug anti-aircraft missile was fitted aft.[10] The Seaslug GWS2 was a beam riding missile which had an effective range of about 23 mi; 37 km with a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet (15,000 m).[5] Up to 39 Seaslugs could be carried horizontally in a magazine that ran much of the length of the ship.[11][12] Close-in anti-aircraft protection was provided by a pair of Seacat (missile) launchers, while two twin QF 4.5 inch Mark V gun mounts were fitted forward. A helicopter deck and hangar allowed a single Westland Wessex helicopter to be operated.[7]

A Type 965 long-range air-search radar and a Type 278 height-finding radar was fitted on the ship's mainmast, with a Type 992Q navigation radar and an array of ESM aerials were mounted on the ship's foremast. Type 901 fire control radar for the Seaslug missile was mounted aft.[13] Type 184 sonar was fitted.[5]

Glamorgan was laid down at Vickers-Armstrong's Newcastle upon Tyne shipyard on 13 September 1962. She was launched on 9 July 1964 and was completed on 13 October 1966.[7]


In October 1968, Glamorgan took part in Exercise Coral Sands, a joint amphibious operations off Queensland, Australia, involving forces from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, visiting Australian ports after completion of the exercise.[14][15][16]

In March 1976, Glamorgan took part in the multi-national exercise Valiant Heritage, a simulated amphibious assault against San Diego. The exercise opened with a live-fire Seaslug exercise in which Glamorgan destroyed a target drone aircraft.[17]

Falklands campaign

At the start of the Falklands campaign, on 2 April 1982, Glamorgan was already at sea off Gibraltar about to take part in exercises;[18] she was immediately diverted to join the main Royal Navy task force, and served as flagship for Admiral Sandy Woodward during the voyage south until 15 April, when he transferred his flag to the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.[19] Her most useful armament proved to be her remaining twin 4.5-inch (114 mm) guns, which were used primarily to shell enemy positions on shore.

Glamorgan was first in action on the evening and night of 1 May when she joined forces with the frigates HMS Arrow and HMS Alacrity to bombard Argentine positions around Stanley. The three British ships soon came under attack by three IAI Dagger jets; two 500 lb (230 kg) bombs fell close alongside Glamorgan, causing minor underwater damage.[20]

Two weeks later on 14 May she was again in action, this time supporting British special forces during the Raid on Pebble Island in the west of the Falklands.[21] For the next two weeks until the end of May she was almost continuously engaged bombarding various shore positions on the east of the islands mainly as part of a plan to distract attention from the landings at San Carlos Water, but also against the airfield at Stanley and in support of British forces ashore. On 29 May she fired a Seaslug missile at the airstrip,[22] which landed in a security area around an Argentine Air Force radar site, killing one Argentine Air Force lieutenant and wounding several airmen.[23]

At the beginning of June, the task force having been reinforced with other ships, Glamorgan was detached to protect shipping in the Towing, Repair and Logistics Area (TRALA), some 200 miles (320 km) away from the islands,[24] but as the campaign reached a climax she was recalled in the evening of 11 June to support the Royal Marines fighting the Battle of Two Sisters.[25]

At 06:37 the following morning, Saturday 12 June 1982, Glamorgan was attacked with an MM38 Exocet missile which was fired from an improvised shore-based launcher. The two MM38 Exocet missiles had been removed from the destroyer ARA Seguí[26] and secured on the launcher, a technically difficult task requiring reprogramming.[27] The launcher was dubbed 'ITB' (Instalación de Tiro Berreta) by the Argentine navy personnel which approximately means in Argentine slang "trashy firing platform".[27] Two MM38 Exocet missiles, their launcher, transporter, and the associated electronics trailer were assembled by the Argentine navy at Puerto Belgrano and flown by a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to the Falkland Islands. A RASIT radar supplied by the Argentinian Army tracked Glamorgan's movements.

Glamorgan was steaming at about 20 knots (37 km/h) some 18 nautical miles (33 km) off shore. The first attempt to fire a missile did not result in a launch. At the second attempt a missile was launched, but it did not find the target. The third attempt resulted in a missile tracking the target. The incoming Exocet missile was being tracked on both the bridge and operations room radar by the Principal Warfare Officer and Navigation Officer.[28]

Before the missile impact, the ship was moving at high speed. After the ship executed a rapid turn away from the missile in the limited time available, a few seconds, the Exocet struck the port side adjacent to the hangar near the stern. The turn had prevented the missile from striking the ship's side perpendicularly and penetrating; instead it hit the deck coaming at an angle, near the port Seacat launcher, skidded on the deck, and exploded. This made a 10 by 15 feet (3.0 m × 4.6 m) hole in the hangar deck and a 5 by 4 feet (1.5 m × 1.2 m) hole in the galley area below, where a fire started.[28]

The blast travelled forwards and down, and the missile body, still travelling forwards, penetrated the hangar door, causing the ship's fully fuelled and armed Wessex helicopter (HAS.3 XM837) to explode and start a severe fire in the hangar. Fourteen crew members were killed and more wounded. The ship was under way again with all fires extinguished by 10:00.[28]

On the following day, repairs were made at sea and, after the Argentinian surrender on 14 June, more extensive repairs were undertaken in the sheltered bay of San Carlos Water.[29] She sailed for home on 21 June, and re-entered Portsmouth on 10 July 1982 after 104 days at sea.[18]

A Memorial was erected in 2011 in memory of the ship and the lost crew at Hookers Point outside Stanley.[30]

After the Falklands campaign

HMS Glamorgan spent many months in late 1982 being refitted and repaired. Two sets of STWS-1 triple anti-submarine torpedo tubes, capable of launching US Mark 46 torpedoes were fitted, while the ship's Seacat launchers were removed, replaced by two Bofors 40 mm guns. The Wessex helicopter was replaced by a Westland Lynx. The ship returned to service in 1983.[31][32]

Her last active deployment for the Royal Navy was in 1983/4 and she was sent on the Armilla Patrol with HMS Brazen. She was originally to sail to the Far East. En route she docked at Gibraltar where the ship's crew were granted shore leave but, within a few hours and with members of her crew still enjoying a 'run ashore' she was back at sea. The bases of the US Marines and French forces in Beirut had been bombed by suicide bombers on 23 October and there were fears that British interests were at risk. Absent crew members were finally rounded up and flown aboard by the ship's Lynx. As the ship had a greater range than the Brazen she set off ahead and raced across the Mediterranean to the coast of Lebanon to evacuate the British peace-keeping troops with her Lynx. With this completed she rejoined the rest of her group and proceeded to the Straits of Hormuz.

Chilean Navy

She was decommissioned by the Royal Navy in September 1986, sold to the Chilean Navy on 3 October that year, and renamed Almirante Latorre.[31][33] Latorre arrived in Chile in December 1986. The Sea Slug system was retained, although only for use against surface targets. A single MBB Bo 105 helicopter was carried. She was refitted from September 1995 to August 1996, with the ship's 40mm Bofors guns replaced by two 16-cell launchers for the Israeli Barak surface-to-air missile and the ADAWS combat data system replaced by the Chilean SISDEF-100 system.[33] She was decommissioned again in late 1998. On 11 April 2005, she sank in the South Pacific while under tow to be broken up.[34][35]


  1. Fitzsimmons, Bernard (1978). The Illustrated encyclopedia of 20th century weapons and warfare. 7. Columbia House. p. 749.
  2. "HMS Glamorgan, the first two years October 1966 – October 1968" (pdf). Axford's Abode. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  3. Cooke, Anthony (1992). Emigrant ships: the vessels which carried migrants across the world, 1946–1972. Carmania Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-9518656-0-9.
  4. Janes Fighting Ships 1981-2. Janes. London
  5. Friedman 2009, p. 192.
  6. Friedman 2009, pp. 191–192.
  7. Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 508.
  8. Moore 1979, p. 598.
  9. Marriott 1989, pp. 102, 110.
  10. Marriott 1989, p. 110.
  11. Friedman 2009, p. 188.
  12. Marriott 1989, p. 102.
  13. Marriott 1989, p. 105.
  14. "Big Fleet Entry Into Sydney: Craft from three countries to visit Australian ports" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy News. 11 (21). 11 October 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  15. "Exercise 'Coral Sands'" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy News. 11 (21). 11 October 1968. pp. 10–12.
  16. "Thousand watch fleet arrive". The Canberra Times. 15 October 1968. p. 11. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  17. "Valiant Heritage and Solid Shield". All Hands. July 1976.
  18. "HMS Glamorgan: Diary of Events". Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  19. Brown, David (1987). The Royal Navy and the Falklands War. Naval Institute Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-87021-572-8.
  20. Tinker, p. 191
  21. Raid on Pebble Island Archived 6 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  22. Tinker, p. 206
  23. "A 35 AÑOS DE LA GESTA DE MALVINAS. PROHIBIDO OLVIDAR". (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  24. Tinker, p. 209
  25. Scales, Robert H. (1990). Firepower in Limited War. Diane Publishing. pp. 221–223. ISBN 0-7881-1228-7.
  26. Scheina, Robert L (2003). Latin America's Wars: The age of the professional soldier, 1900–2001. Brassey's. p. 316. ISBN 1-57488-452-2.
  27. YouTube video discussing setting up the ITB and showing its firing, narrated in Spanish
  28. Inskip, Ian (2002). Ordeal by Exocet: HMS Glamorgan and the Falklands War, 1982. Chatham. pp. 160–185. ISBN 1-86176-197-X.
  29. Villar, Roger (1984). Merchant ships at war: the Falklands experience. Naval Institute Press. p. 65. ISBN 0-87021-845-X.
  30. Navy News (2 March 2011). "Falklands 'forgotten ship' finally honoured". Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  31. Marriott 1989, p.108.
  32. Sturtivant and Ballance 1994, p. 416.
  33. Baker 1998, pp. 99–100.
  34. MoD release detailing date and position of sinking, 25 July 2008
  35. Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.


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  • Baker, A. D. (1998). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998–1999: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: U.S. Naval Institute. ISBN 1-55750-111-4.
  • Friedman, Norman (2008). British Destroyers & Frigates: The Second World War and After. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-015-4.
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen, eds. (1995). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Inskip, Ian (2002). Ordeal by Exocet: HMS Glamorgan and the Falklands War. Chatham. ISBN 186176197X.
  • Marriott, Leo (1989). Royal Navy Destroyers Since 1945. Shepperton, UK: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1817-0.
  • McCart, Neil (2014). County Class Guided Missile Destroyers. Maritime Books. ISBN 978-1904459637.
  • Moore, John, ed. (1979). Jane's Fighting Ships 1979–80. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-354-00587-1.
  • Sturtivant, Ray; Theo, Balance (1994). The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-223-8.
  • Tinker, David (1982). A Message from the Falklands, The Life and Gallant Death of David Tinker, Lieut. R.N. from his Letters and Poems. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-006778-7.
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