HMS Fearless History

The Name HMS Fearless has a long history within the Royal Navy and has over time gained some historical Battle Honours:
Heligoland 1914
Jutland 1916
Norway 1940
Malta Convoy 1941
Mediterrenean 1941
Atlantic 1941
Falklands 1982


HMS Fearless the LPD was a Royal Navy ship that was built in 1965 and saw service until being de-commissioned in 2002.
One of two Fearless-class landing platform docks the other being sister ship L11 HMS Intrepid, both ships were based in HMNB Portsmouth and saw service around the world. Fearless had one of the longest terms of service of any RN ship and over her 37-year life she would be one of the best remembered.
She was the last steam powered surface ship in service with the Royal Navy and would be part of some great moments in history.

Fearless was the first purpose built LPD used by the Royal Navy. Built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolff yard, she was launched in 1963 before undergoing trials and commissioning in 1965.

Following commissioning, her first operational tasking was acting as a command platform for British Counter-Terrorism operations in Aden, operating Royal Air Force aircraft and the Irish Guards prior to the British withdrawal as Flag of a 25 ship task group.

In 1968, she was the venue for talks between Harold Wilson and Ian Smith over the future of Rhodesia. The latter had unilaterally declared independence from Britain due to Britain’s insistence on the removal of white minority rule.

In 1972, Fearless ferried several Centurion AVRE demolition vehicles, derived from the Centurion tank to Northern Ireland to be deployed there as part of Operation Motorman.

In 1977 Fearless would be featured in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as the ship which picks up Bond’s escape pod. The filming took place the previous year near the island of Malta.

In 1982 the Falklands War was to see both sister ships go to sea together with Fearless to be the Command ship for land based operations, mainly due to the fact she was at that time commissioned and fitted with the modern satellite communications equipment centre.

The ships were part of the British naval force committed to Operation Corporate, the 1982 Falklands War. Fearless was host to the staff of amphibious force commander Commodore Michael Clapp (Commodore Amphibious Warfare (COMAW)), and Commanding Officer 3 Commando Brigade, Brigadier Julian Thompson and his staff, as well as elements of the landing force. As a result of the conflict, Royal Marine Coxswain Corporal Alan White received a commendation from the Task Force Commander, Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse, for his part in rescuing 41 crew from HMS Antelope using Foxtrot 7, one of four LCVP landing craft carried by Fearless.

The loss of LCU F4 and the loss of 6 of her crew was to be a devastating blow to the ships crew and the replacement for F4 was never to carry the F4 out of respect to those lost.

She was placed out of commission for three years in 1985 prior to a two-year refit at Devonport, recommissioning in 1991. During this refit, her 1940s-vintage 40mm Bofors cannon and 1960s-vintage Sea Cat anti-aircraft missile launchers were replaced by 20 mm BMARC and Phalanx CIWS guns.

From 1991 until 1995 she continued one of her main roles supporting the sea training phase of initial officer training, undertaken at Britannia Royal Naval College, as part of the Dartmouth Training Squadron.

She was due to undertake an operation in the Gulf, but that was handed to HMS Ocean in 2000. Her last major duty was to take part in amphibious exercises shortly before decommissioning.

Fearless was decommissioned in 2002 and awaited disposal in Fareham Creek, Hampshire, moored alongside her sister ship Intrepid. In October 2007, it was reported that Fearless was to be scrapped in Belgium, five years after the vessel was officially mothballed in Portsmouth.

On 17 December 2007, Fearless was towed to Ghent in Belgium to be broken up.

This was the first warship successfully exported for recycling by any western government that fully complied with international agreements and the principles concerning environmentally sound management of waste.[5]

Replacement LPDs were ordered during the 1990s with Albion and Bulwark. They were commissioned in 2003.

Seven ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Fearless:

  • HMS Fearless (1794) was a 12-gun gunvessel launched in 1794 and wrecked in 1804 in Plymouth Sound in the company of a dockyard lighter. Heavy weather forced both vessels to cut from Cawsand Bay and drove them ashore near Redding Point. That only one man was lost was due to the efforts of Cawsands fishermen with lanterns and ropes.[1]
  • HMS Fearless (1805) was a 12-gun gun-brig launched in 1804 and wrecked, without loss of life, in 1812 on rocks of Cape St Sebastian near Cadiz.[2]
  • HMS Fearless (1837) was a wooden paddlewheel survey vessel, formerly the GPO’s Flamer transferred and renamed in 1837, and broken up in 1875.
  • HMS Fearless (1886) was a torpedo cruiser launched in 1886 and sold in 1905.
  • HMS Fearless (1912) was an Active class scout cruiser launched in 1912 and scrapped in 1921.
  • HMS Fearless (H67) was an F class destroyer launched in 1934. She was damaged by aircraft and scuttled in 1941.
  • HMS Fearless (L10) was a Fearless-class amphibious warfare ship launched in 1963. She participated in the Falklands War and the Gulf War, and was paid-off in 2002.