Whitby Class

Overview

Country: United Kingdom

Ordered in 1951 as a class of six Type 12 all-welded construction frigates to combat the new generation of fast Russian submarines in bad weather or heavy seas in the Atlantic and Arctic, necessitating large, heavy and expensive steam plant to provide the necessary 30-knot speed. Commissioned 1956-1958 and named after seaside resorts.

With renowned sea keeping qualities they proved popular in service and provided the basic layout of the succeeding Rothesay and Leander frigate classes. The deck design helped disperse water and prevent ice formation, and made washing down easier in the event of Nuclear, Biological or Chemical attack.

The brand-new Torquay participated in the Suez operation in 1956 and after use as a Navigational training Ship at Portsmouth, carrying the first CAAIS (Computer Assisted Action Information System) to go to sea and was not paid off until 1985, the longest serving ship of her class. Whitby undertook a ‘Cod War’ Fishery Protection Patrol in 1973 and in September 1973 collided with the Icelandic Gunboat Thor; classmate Eastbourne similarly collided with Icelandic gunboat Baldur in May 1976. For much of their careers the ships operated with the Dartmouth Training Squadron. A planned sale of Tenby and Scarborough to Pakistan in the 1970s fell through.

Survivors latterly served in support roles. Eastbourne latterly served at Rosyth for engine room trainees from 1979-84, and Blackpool became a target ship and was used for underwater explosive trials at Rosyth.



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