HMS Cornwall

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From The Shipping Times:


The top story of course in Britain today is the plight of the 15 crew of HMS CORNWALL (F99) as they continue to be held by the Iranians, but little in the news is said about the actual vessel they serve on. We feel Shipping Times readers may like to know more about the vessel.

She was built by the then Yarrow Shipbuilders at Scotstoun on the River Clyde, the shipyard now owned by BAE Systems and deployed as one of the three yards in Britain building the Type 45 destroyer.

She was laid down on 14th December 1983, launched on Monday October 14th 1985 and commissioned into the Royal Navy at Falmouth on April 23rd 1988 by the late Diana Princess of Wales who was the ship's sponsor.
Story at
It is interesting to note that, although vessels of the 'Type 22' class are officially described as "frigates", several of these relatively large ships have traditional British cruiser names such as Cornwall and Cumberland, which underline their status within the fleet (HMS Cornwall can, if necessary, act as a flagship). In WWII, a frigate was normally smaller than a destroyer, while I suspect that in the US navy the terms "frigate" and "cruiser" may have entirely different connotations.
Very few navies have ships today that can be called cruisers in the sense that we understand, and the only one that may possibly even build more ships classed as such is the U.S. Navy and perhaps the Russians if they can get their fiscal act together.

As with anything else, the size of these vessels has increased dramatically as the requirements of the mission dictated. Destroyers for example started out as "Torpedo Boat Destroyers" to deal with the percieved threat posed by such craft to battleships in the latter part of the 19th century. Since then, the size of these ships has grown to such a degree that the difference between a destroyer and a cruiser is so minimal as to be essentially meaningless.

Frigates in the modern sense started out as reletively inexpensive vessels called destroyer escorts designed for convoy escort and protection from submarines. To a limited degree, they were also expected to provide anti-aircraft protection. What we have now are larger vessels which still carry out the same mission but which are larger now then a World War Two era destroyer.
In the modern British navy, the term "destroyer" is typically applied to vessels which have a primary anti-aircraft role, such as the 'Type 42s'. Modern frigates seem to be primarily anti-submarine vessels. Both these types are much bigger than WWII frigates or destroyers. Indeed, the dimensions of the present day HMS Cornwall, which has an overall length of about 482 ft, equate very closely with those of the "Titanic era" HMS Cornwall - a three-funnelled coal-fired cruiser, with a length of around 475 ft (although, as she was armoured, her displacement was much greater).

The navy has no escort type vessels of the WWII frigate or destroyer type - although it could be argued that the present-day 'Island' class patrol vessels, which were built on trawler lines, have an affinity with WWII corvettes.
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