HMS Sheffield burns shortly after being hit by an Argentine Exocet missile, on 4/5/1982, whilst on RADAR picket duties off the coast of the Falkland Islands.
HMS Sheffield burns shortly after being hit by an Argentine Exocet missile, on 4/5/1982, whilst on RADAR picket duties off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

16 historic photos of the three incarnations of Royal Navy warship HMS Sheffield

There have been three naval ships named HMS Sheffield in the last century – and soon there will be a fourth one to add to the story.

By Deborah Croker
Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 12:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 12:49 pm

The title is one of the most famous in Royal Navy history, with the ships being named after the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire.

All three have also carried fixtures and fittings created in the city – the stainless steel items inspired the nickname of the ‘Shiny Sheff’ for each ship.

The first HMS Sheffield, a town-class light cruiser, was launched in 1936 and saw plenty of action during World World Two, including missions to the Arctic Circle, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

She was also one of the pursuit ships that tracked down the German warship Bismarck after it sunk HMS Hood, the navy’s final battlecruiser. In 1967 she was sold and scrapped.

Four years prior the second HMS Sheffield was born as a Type 42 destroyer but she had a short life. In May 1982 she was badly damaged by Argentinian air forces during the Falklands War, and sank in heavy seas while being towed back to land.

The third incarnation was a Type 22 frigate which was sold to the Chilean Navy in 2003 and renamed Almirante Williams.

The ships will be used to defend the new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Here are some of the historic photos of the three ships we have found in our archive.

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