HMS Gurkha (F122)

HMS Gurkha was a Tribal-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She was named after an ethnic group located in Nepal, and who continue to serve in the British Army.

Gurkha circa. 1964-1966
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Gurkha
Builder: John I. Thornycroft & Company
Laid down: 3 November 1958
Launched: 11 July 1960
Commissioned: 13 February 1963
Decommissioned: 30 March 1984
Identification: Pennant number F122
  • Ayo Gurkhali
  • ("The Gurkhas are here!")
Fate: Sold to Indonesia 1984
Name: KRI Wilhelmus Zakarias Yohannes
Acquired: 1984
Decommissioned: 1999
Identification: 332
Status: Awaiting disposal
General characteristics
Class and type: Tribal-class frigate
  • 2,300 long tons (2,300 t) standard
  • 2,700 long tons (2,700 t) full load
  • 360 ft 0 in (109.73 m) oa
  • 350 ft 0 in (106.68 m) pp
Beam: 42 ft 3 in (12.88 m)
  • 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)
  • 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m) (propellers)[1]
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph) (COSAG)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km; 5,200 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 253
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar type 965 air-search
  • Radar type 993 low-angle search
  • Radar type 978 navigation
  • Radar type 903 gunnery fire-control
  • Radar type 262 GWS-21 fire-control
  • Sonar type 177 search
  • Sonar type 170 attack
  • Sonar type 162 bottom profiling
  • Ashanti and Gurkha;
  • Sonar type 199 variable-depth
Aircraft carried: 1 × Westland Wasp helicopter
Service record
Operations: Third Cod War

Royal Navy service

Gurkha was built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, of Woolston, Hampshire,[2] at a cost of £4,865,000[3] She was launched on 11 July 1960 and commissioned on 13 February 1963,[2] joining the 9th Frigate Squadron in the Middle East.[4] In 1965 she was present at Portsmouth Navy Days,[5] and again deployed to the Middle East with the 9th Frigate Squadron.[4] On 14 January 1967 she commenced her third commission, leaving British waters on 24 July. She served on the Beira Patrol and during the withdrawal of British forces from Aden before carrying out patrol operations in the Persian Gulf, returning to Rosyth on 14 May 1968.[4][6][7]

In 1975, Gurkha deployed to the West Indies, where the ship performed various duties. In 1976, Gurkha supported Royal Navy efforts against Iceland during the Third Cod War. She sustained superficial damage on 7 May when the patrol ship Óðinn attempted to force the ship towards the British trawler Ross Ramilles, during which Óðinn collided with Gurkha.[8] In that collision Óðinn's port propeller was damaged by Gurkha's starboard stabiliser, forcing her to return to port for repairs.

Gurkha was present at the 1977 Spithead Fleet Review, held in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. At this time she was part of the 1st Frigate Squadron.[9]

Gurkha was reduced to the reserve in 1980, being placed in the Standby Squadron. Although she had been put on the disposal list,[10] Gurkha was removed from the reserve during the Falklands War and prepared for active service.[11] Gurkha remained in home waters, fulfilling duties in the absence of ships that were operating in the South Atlantic. The following year, Gurkha became Gibraltar Guardship.

Indonesian Navy service

After being decommissioned in 1984, Gurkha was sold to Indonesia. She was renamed Wilhelmus Zakarias Yohannes for the national hero Wilhelmus Zakaria Johannes[12] after a radiologist and specialist in X-ray technology. The frigate was withdrawn from service in 1999 and remains laid up at Surabaya Naval Base to await scrapping.

Commanding officers

19651966Commander S Salway RN
19671968Commander R A S Irving RN
19711972Captain D T McKeown RN
19721975Captain V Howard RN
19751976Commander T R Lee RN
19771977Commander D H Barraclough RN
19781979Commander M S Pringle RN


  1. Blackman 1971, p. 356.
  2. Gardiner & Chumbley 1995, p. 518
  3. "Missile Destroyer Cost £15m". The Times (55970): Col B, p. 6. 26 March 1964.
  4. Critchley1992, p. 109
  5. Programme, Navy Days Portsmouth, 28th-30th August 1965, p14.
  6. "Gurkha due home from East of Suez". Navy News. May 1968. p. 7. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  8. "Worst night so far in cod war". The Times (59699): Col C, p. 1. 8 May 1976.
  9. Official Souvenir Programme, 1977. Silver Jubilee Fleet Review, HMSO
  10. Hansard (26 April 1982), Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  11. Hansard (27 May 1982), Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  12. Colledge, J. J. & Warlow, Ben (2010), p. 171


  • Blackman, Raymond V. B., ed. (1971). Jane's Fighting Ships 1971–72. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd. ISBN 0-354-00096-9.
  • 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.
  • Critchley, Mike (1992). British Warships Since 1945: Part 5: Frigates. Liskeard, UK: Maritime Press. ISBN 0-907771-13-0.
  • 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.
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