HMS Antelope (F170)

HMS "Antelope" (F170) was a Type 21 frigate of the Royal Navy that participated in the Falklands War. Her keel was laid down 23 March 1971 by Vosper Thornycroft in Woolston, Southampton, England. She was commissioned 17 July 1975. She was the only unit of the class never to be fitted with Exocet launchers.

"Antelope" took part in the Falklands War. On 23 May 1982, while "Antelope" was on air defence duty at the entrance to San Carlos Water, protecting a beachhead established two days earlier, she came under attack by Argentine A-4 Skyhawk jets.

Two 1,100 pound (500 kg) bombs struck the ship on the starboard side, killing one crewman, Steward Mark R. Stephens. After initial damage control efforts, "Antelope" proceeded to more sheltered waters so that two EOD technicians from the Royal Corps of Engineers could come aboard and attempt to defuse the bombs. On the fourth attempt to defuse one of the bombs, a time-delay device detonated the weapon, killing Staff Sergeant James Prescott and severely injuring Warrant Officer Phillips, the other member of the EOD team. The ship was torn open from water line to funnel, with the blast starting major fires in both engine rooms which spread very quickly. The starboard fire main was fractured, the ship lost all electrical power, and the commanding officer, Commander Nick Tobin, gave the order to abandon ship. Tobin was the last person to leave the ship, and about five minutes after his departure, the missile magazines began exploding.

Explosions continued throughout the night, and the following day "Antelope" was found to be still afloat, but her keel had broken and her superstructure melted into a heap of twisted metal. "Antelope" broke in half and sank that day. TV and stills pictures of "Antelope"'s demise became one of the defining images of the Falklands War and appear repeatedly in histories of the event.

On 27 January 2002, a diving team from HMS "Montrose" replaced the Naval Ensign on "Antelope". The wreck is designated as a prohibited area under the Falkland Islands Protection of Wrecks Act [Protection of Wrecks Ordnance 1977 (No. 12) 7 July 1977 (Falkland Islands)] [Protection of Wrecks (Ardent and Antelope Designation) Order 1983 (No. 2) 20 October 1983 (Falkland Islands)] .

As per Naval tradition, the first offspring born of the crew is given the honour of being christened on board. Mike Duncan Kenneth Hedges son of John and Margaret was born on 5 June 1974. His name was engraved on the ship's bell, which was on board the ship when she sank.

References

External links

* [http://www.sama82.org/garden/2/3/7/home.htm Memorial Webpage for SSgt James Prescott]


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