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Warspite (S103)

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: SSN Grp2
Fate:


The boat is laid up at Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, Devon.


Warspite was the third of Britain's nuclear-powered submarines, and the second (and final) of the Valiant class. She was launched on September 25, 1965 by Mary Wilson, the wife of the then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and entered service on April 18, 1967.

In October 1968, Warspite is thought to have collided with a Russian Echo 2 submarine it had been shadowing in the Barents Sea, causing serious damage to its large central fin. The government cover story claimed that Warspite had hit an iceberg. She made her way first to Lerwick, where a carpentry team overnight hastily erected a scaffold over the central fin and covered it with a black tarpaulin, so that on the following day, any spotter planes flying overhead would not see any apparent damage to the vessel.

Warspite was then towed to Faslane and later to Barrow, to have her fin replaced with that from her sister ship, HMS Churchill.

Warspite also suffered a serious fire whilst in Liverpool on May 2 in 1976, caused by a broken coupling spraying oil. Repairs and refitting took two years.

She was finishing her refit just as the Falklands War started. After the war ended she carried out a long patrol around the island and the Argentine coast.

The 20m pound submarine was decommissioned in 1991 following the discovery of hairline cracks in the primary coolant circuit during a refit.

Warspite chiefly operated out of HMNB Clyde, at Faslane (the former Clyde Submarine Base) with the Third Submarine Squadron (SM3).

Notable commanders of this vessel include the Falklands Conflict Battle Group Commander, Rear Admiral Sir John 'Sandy' Woodward. He went on to become the Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command and rose to the rank of Admiral.


Events

10-12-1963 : Laid Down
25-09-1965 : Launched
18-04-1967 : Completed
02-05-1976 : Warspite suffered a serious fire whilst in Liverpool caused by a broken coupling spraying oil. Repairs and refitting took two years.


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Valiant (S102)