HMS Westminster (F237)

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HMS Westminster F237.jpg
HMS Westminster, 2011
United Kingdom
NameHMS Westminster
OperatorRoyal Navy
OrderedDecember 1989
BuilderSwan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Laid down18 January 1991
Launched4 February 1992
Commissioned13 May 1994
RefitLIFEX 2014-2017
MottoFor Nation and for Glory
StatusIn active service
General characteristics
Class and typeType 23 frigate
Displacement4,900 t (4,800 long tons; 5,400 short tons)[1]
Length133 m (436 ft 4 in)
Beam16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Draught7.3 m (23 ft 11 in)
SpeedIn excess of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried
2 × PAC 24 RIBs
Complement185 (accommodation for up to 205)
Sensors and
processing systems
Sonar 2087
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Aircraft carried
Aviation facilities

HMS Westminster is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy, and the second ship to bear the name. She was launched on 4 February 1992 and named for the Dukedom of Westminster.

Operational history


In early August 1995, Operation Harlech was initiated in response to a volcanic eruption in Montserrat. The Westminster arrived off the island on 9 August and provided emergency relief aid. The ship was joined by HMS Southampton on 19 August, both ships provided emergency relief assistance until the end of the month.[2]

Westminster was used for the interior shots in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies as three different (fictional) Type 23 frigates – HMS Chester, HMS Devonshire and HMS Bedford.[3] For the exterior shots HMS Somerset was used with some features added by model construction.

On 3 February 1999, Westminster joined the Atlantic Patrol Ship South, relieving HMS Norfolk which was taking part in Operation Basilica in Sierra Leone. When the situation improved it was decided to withdraw Westminster and she sailed from the area on 18 March.[2]


In 2004, Westminster was assigned one of the Royal Navy's first Merlin helicopters.[4] Also in 2004, the ship was the first to be fitted with the new low-frequency Sonar 2087 designed to detect the most advanced submarines. The technology is controversial as its effects on marine wildlife remain unclear.[5]

In December 2005, the ship's company of Westminster were all granted Freedom of the City of Westminster. 200 naval officers and sailors in full ceremonial uniform paraded through the streets of London from Westminster Abbey to Horse Guards as part of the celebration service. Westminster was chosen as a very rare recognition of her contributions to Westminster schools, local charities and the community as a whole. The honour entitles the crew the freedom to "parade through the City on all ceremonial occasions in full panoply and with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed".[6]

The frigate was deployed to Burma in May 2008 to spearhead the British relief effort after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country, but later had to withdraw after the junta refused to grant permission for aid to be landed.[7]


In March 2011, Westminster took part in Operation Ellamy, the British role in the coalition action during the 2011 Libyan civil war by enforcing a naval blockade.[8] She took part in Exercise Saxon Warrior in the Western Approaches with the US aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush in May 2011, culminating in a so-called 'Thursday War'.[9]

On 23 January 2012, Westminster departed Portsmouth to reinforce the British guided-missile destroyer Daring that was also underway for the Persian Gulf to relieve the frigate Argyll.[10]

Whilst in the Persian Gulf she made a port call in Dubai where one of her sailors (Leading Seaman Timothy Andrew MacColl, 27, from Gosport in Hampshire)[11][12] disappeared, prompting a bilateral search between the Royal Navy and local authorities. He was declared dead by the Royal Navy in May 2014.[13]

In early 2013, she was part of the multi-national Exercise Joint Warrior, practising amphibious operations off the coast of Scotland.[14] In September she was part of the COUGAR 13 task group, for a series of joint exercises in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf.[15] She visited Gibraltar on the way to the Middle East. This came amidst growing tensions between Spain and Britain over the status of Gibraltar; however the British Government described the visit as 'routine'. In September 2013, she practised anti-submarine drills with the Italian Navy's Sauro-class submarine Salvatore Pelosi and the Durand de la Penne-class destroyer Francesco Mimbelli.[16] In the Gulf of Oman, Westminster conducted anti-submarine drills against USS Dallas.[17] In October 2013, she exercised with the Indian Navy off Goa.[18]

On 8 September 2014, she docked at East India Dock, by Canary Wharf, in London. In November 2014, Westminster entered extended refit in Portsmouth; she returned to sea in January 2017 with a new principal weapon system, Sea Ceptor, in place of Seawolf, Radar Type 997 (better known as Artisan) and numerous modifications and alterations to her accommodation and working spaces.[19]

Westminster, in company with Iron Duke sailed with USS George H.W. Bush again, as in 2011, by taking part in Exercise Saxon Warrior off Scotland.[20]

During December 2018 on a tour of the Baltic Sea, Westminster experienced problems with her propulsion and engines while visiting the port of Gdynia, curtailing other port visits in the region.

In July 2020, she took part in NATO exercise Dynamic Mongoose.


Westminster's ship's bell


  1. "Type 23 Frigate". Royal Navy. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Roberts, John (2009). Safeguarding the Nation: The Story of the Modern Royal Navy. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1591148128.
  3. "Multi-role frigate". Navy News. April 1997. p. 9. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  4. "Last Merlin squadron commissioned". BBC News. 21 October 2004. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  5. "New sonar protection for warships". BBC News. 24 November 2004. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  6. "HMS Westminster crew granted Freedom of the City". Westminster City Council. Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  7. Royal Navy[dead link]
  8. "Royal Navy Blockade Forces Gaddafi's Gunboats off the Ocean". Navy News. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2017.[dead link]
  9. "Torbay 'targets' worlds most powerful carrier". Navy News.[dead link]
  10. Blair, David (23 January 2011). "Britain, US and France send warships through Strait of Hormuz". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  11. "Britain's Royal Navy says sailor from HMS Westminster missing in Dubai". The Washington Post. 1 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012.
  12. "British sailor Timmy MacColl missing in Dubai". BBC News. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  13. "Wife's heartache as missing Gosport sailor Timmy MacColl is declared dead". The News. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  14. "Successful conclusion for multinational exercise". Royal Navy. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  15. Ministry of Defence (8 August 2013). "Royal Navy set for Cougar 13". Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  16. "HMS Westminster practises submarine hunting skills". Royal Navy. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  17. "HMS Westminster in hunt for USS Dallas". Royal Navy. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  18. "Indo-UK bilateral naval exercises to be undertaken". The Goan. 15 October 2013. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  19. "'Capital' ship makes first trip as Westminster returns to sea after refit". Navy News. 27 January 2017. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  20. "Portsmouth hosts US carrier strike group ahead of major exercise". Royal Navy. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  21. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 21.11 21.12 21.13 "HMS Westminster affiliations". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.

External links