HMS Norfolk

There have been six Norfolk's, from an 80-gun third-rate to today's powerful and sleek Type 23 frigate. The Norfolk's motto is SERVIENS SERVO (Serving, I Preserve). The ships are named after Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk.

HMS Norfolk (1693)

The first HMS Norfolk was an 80-gun, third-rate Ship-of-the-Line. She was built at Southampton and launched in 1693. The ship displaced 1184 tons, and was shortly afterwards re-built in Plymouth, [[UK. She gained her first battle honour at Velez Malaga in 1704. The ship conducted many important duties throughout her long career. She was the Plymouth guardship, deployed to the Mediterranean Fleet and then to the West Indies as a reinforcement and flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir John Balchen. Her final action was near France in 1744. After being found unfit for further service, HMS Norfolk was broken up in 1749 at Plymouth.

HMS Norfolk (1757)

The second Norfolk was a slightly larger 74-gun third-rate, displacing 1556 tons. She was launched on 8th December 1757 at Deptford. Her commander was Captain Robert Hughes and she flew the pennant of Commodore Sir Piercy Brett. Norfolk emulated her predecessor by reinforcing the West Indies when she escorted a fleet of vital stores and six infantry regiments there. She became flagship of the Commander-In-Chief East Indies Station, Rear-Admiral Charles Stevens and his successor [Vice-Admiral Samuel Cornish]]. Norfolk was decommissioned in 1764 after her return to Portsmouth and broke up in 1774.

HMS Norfolk (1804)

Little details are known of the third Norfolk (1804-06), There are a small number of ships logs, that state that she was a cutter and was hired by the Royal Navy.

HMS Norfolk (1928)


A long absence of a Norfolk in the
Royal Navy was finally ended in the commissioning of a County Class cruiser of 9925 tons. She was launched on 12th December 1928, and completed on 30th April 1930. Norfolk was armed with eight 8-inch guns, eight 4-inch guns, eight torpedo tubes and numerous smaller anti-aircraft guns. She served with the [[Home Fleet], until she re-commissioned for service in the East Indies Station in 1937. At the outbreak of war in 1939, Norfolk deployed with the Home Fleet, but was soon undergoing numerous damage repairs as well as modifications to the ship. Her first repairs were carried out in Belfast after a near-miss by a torpedo from the U-47, the submarine responsible for sinking HMS Royal Oak. Shortly afterwards, bomb damage that she received from a brutal air raid, forced her into yet another repair, this time on the Clyde. After these repairs, she proceeded to the Tyne shipyard for a new addition to her equipment - a radar set.

In May 1941, His Majesty's Ship's Norfolk, Rodney and King George V clashed with the Bismarck. From September onwards, dhe was employed as an escort for the Russian convoys. Norfolk was present with the Home Fleet when they engaged yet another noted enemy ship - the Scharnhorst, on 26th December 1943. She sustained damage in that confrontation which was subsequently repaired on the Tyne but prevented her from being involved in the historic D-day landings. When the war came to a close, Norfolk departed Plymouth for a much needed refit in Malta. This was followed by service in the East Indies as the flagship of the Commander-In-Chief East Indies Station.

In 1949, Norfolk returned to the UK and placed in reserve. She was laid up at Falmouth. On 14th February 1950, she proceeded to Newport to be broken up after a long and proud service of 22 years, in which she gained the Norfolk name, the majority of its battle honours, including the last.

HMS Norfolk (1967)


The fifth HMS Norfolk was launched by Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk in November
1967 and was commissioned in March 1970. Like her predecessor she was, a County Class warship, though this time she was a destroyer rather than a cruiser, and her most potent armament, was not her guns, but her missiles. Norfolk was the first RN warship to be armed with the Exocet missile system. She also became the first warship to carry three independent missile systems (Exocet, Seaslug and Seacat). She had a displacement of 5450 tons and with a length of 520 feet and was quite a large ship, considering she was classified as a destroyer. Her armament were four Vickers 4.5 inch guns in two twin mounts, one of which was later removed. She undertook numerous deployments to the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South Pacific Ocean.

In September 1979,one of the highlights of her relatively peaceful career was flying the Queen's Colour in Sweden when King Carl XVI Gustaf unveiled a plaque to commemorate Admiral James. She had an unwelcome milestone in 1979, when she became the first warship afloat to hold a Court Martial, during the ship visit to Freemantle, Australia. The visit itself was to commemorate 150 years of the founding of Western Australia. In September 1980 Norfolk took over the UK's commitment to Standing Naval Force Atlantic, but shortly afterwards became the Dartmouth Training Ship.

On 17th February 1982 Norfolk, re-named Captain Pratt, departed for her new masters - the Chilean Navy. She still serves Chile proudly as she did the UK and is currently based in Valparaíso.

HMS Norfolk (1987)


The sixth and current Norfolk (F230) was built at Yarrow Shipbuilders. She was launched on the
Clyde by HRH the late Princess Margaret, the Countess of Snowdon on 11th July 1987. She was commissioned on 24th November 1989, and was the first of the Type 23 or 'Duke' Class frigates. The ship is a heavily armed, sleek and modern craft, highly automated with computer systems that significantly decreasing the size of the crew. Norfolk has a crew of 185 compared to the 287 required by the Type 42 destroyer.

She has conducted many roles and missions, including a deployment to Sierra Leone in 2000 as part of a Royal Navy task force ordered to assist in the restoration of peace stability to that war-torn West African nation. She has also served in the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, and the Standing Naval Force Atlantic. Norfolk was also the first Royal Navy warship to be re-armed with the new 4.5-inch Mod 1 gun system. Norfolk is currently on a six-month deployment as the Armilla patrol ship, relieving HMS Sutherland.

HMS Norfolk Statistics

  • Displacement: 4,900 tonnes
  • Length: 133 metres/436 feet
  • Beam: 16.1 metres/52.9 feet
  • Complement: 185
  • Armament:
    • 2 x Quad Harpoon missile launchers
    • Vertical Launch Sea Wolf anti-missile system
    • 4.5in (115mm) Mod 1 gun
    • 2 x 30mm Close range guns
    • 2 x Magazine launched anti submarine torpedo tubes
    • NATO Seagnat and DLF3 Decoy Launchers
  • Aircraft: MK 8 Lynx helicopter
    • Armament:
      • Sea Skua anti-ship missiles
      • Stingray anti-submarine torpedoes
      • Mk 11 depth charges
      • Machine guns
  • Propulsion:
    • Turbines:
      • CODLAG (Combined Diesel and Gas) - 2 x Rolls Royce Spey gas boost
    • Diesels:
      • 4 x GEC-Alsthom Paxman Valenta
    • Electric:
      • 2 x GEC motors

Battle Honours

Velez Malaga 1704, Cartagena 1741, Toulon 1744, Pondicherry 1760, Manila 1761, Atlantic 1941 BISMARCK 1941, Arctic 1941-43, North Africa 1942, North Cape 1943, Norway 1945


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