The Royal Navy Type 21 Association raised funds in support of activities to remember those that have lost their lives in war and peace whilst serving in the Armed Forces. The funds were raised at a successful reunion recently held in Devonport where the eight Type 21 ships were based.
Members of the Association raised £635 to purchase a wooden bench to be placed in The National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire. With the project being led by Committee Members Peter Mosse and David Woollard in conjunction with staff of the NMA, the bench will have a plaque with the names of all eight ships and will form a permanent fixture within the Arboretum for all visitors to use at a place of national importance. The bench is expected to be dedicated in the spring of 2013 in the presence of Association members.
The Type 21 Association will also be represented on Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom and in the Falklands with the laying of poppy wreaths with the Type 21 Association Crest. Wreaths will be laid at The Cenotaph in Whitehall, at the Falklands War Memorial situated in the Maritime Memorial Garden on Plymouth Hoe, and also at The Type 21 Memorial that overlooks San Carlos Water in the Falkland Islands where HMS Ardent and HMS Antelope were lost during the 1982 conflict with many lives lost.
The RN Type 21 Association brings together all servicemen who served on the Royal Navy’s Type 21 Frigates. It has been formed to organise reunions and events and as the Association develops it is hoped that it will be able to offer support and other services to its members.
The Association has already held two reunions in Plymouth which where a resounding success with guests coming from all over the UK, Canada, America, Malaysia and Australia to attend.
Membership is free, and once enrolled there is also access to a dedicated social networking site for all members. Associate Membership is available to family members, staff of Yarrow and Vosper Thornycroft shipyards who built the ships, Royal Dockyard staff, and those in the Pakistani Navy who have an association with the ships.
There were eight Type 21 Frigates that entered service between 1970 and 1975. A general purpose frigate of commercial design, they were known for their distinctive sleek lines, and good turn of speed. They were often referred to as the Porches or Greyhounds of the fleet. They were the first class of Royal Navy ships to be powered by aero derived gas turbines and the crews’ living conditions were a substantial improvement on their predecessors.
All eight ships were always based in Devonport, Plymouth, and for the first time since WWII, the “Base Port” system was reintroduced for those who served on these ships. Once trained to serve on his first Type 21, a serviceman would find that he subsequently served on several other Type 21s in his career, allowing the serviceman, and his family, stability, and familiarity with the ships. This provided a unique bond between all those who served on the ships that was not replicated elsewhere in the fleet. The ships became known as the Type 21 Club during their build period. This informal “Club” came to embody the close unity between the ships and crews.
Seven of the eight ships served with distinction in the 1982 Falklands War. Two of the ships, HMS Ardent and HMS Antelope, were lost during the conflict with many lives lost. The explosions and sinking of HMS Antelope provided some of the most iconic images of the war.
The ships were HMS Amazon, HMS Antelope, HMS Ambuscade, HMS Arrow, HMS Active, HMS Alacrity, HMS Ardent and HMS Avenger. The remaining six ships were de- commissioned in 1994 and sold to the Pakistan Navy. They are still in service with the Pakistani Navy today.