HMS Arethusa - F38 - 1965 - 1989

The 8th in line to bear the name Arethusa, a Leander class frigate, she was launched in Cowes, Isle of Wight on 5th November 1963. This was the last warship to be built on the island in the yard of J. Samuel White & Co..

HMS Arethusa - F38

Bearing the pennant number F38 she was armed with the latest surface, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine weapons and associated equipment.

Arethusa - F38 Deck Plan

Commissioned on 24th November 1965 under the command of Captain Ronald Day Butt CBE RN, she served with the fleet for 24 years and was finally paid off in April 1989.

The first Commanding Officer of the 8th HMS Arethusa 1965-67, Captain Ronald Day Butt CBE RN

The first Commanding Officer of the 8th HMS Arethusa 1965-67, Captain Ronald Day Butt CBE RN
(photo courtesy of Arethusa Association)

Captain Ronald Day Butt CBE RN

Captain Ronald Day Butt CBE RN with Arethusa's Battle Honours
(photo courtesy of Arethusa Association)

Arethusa F38 taking it green

F38 taking it 'green', photographed from Ark Royal in the Med' early 70's
(photo courtesy of Dennis Slaytor)

electrical_mess_1972.jpg

Electrical mess 3E 1972, Geoff is in the white T shirt, let me know if you recognise any of the other faces
(photo courtesy of Geoff Banks)

F38 at the 1977 Silver Jubilee Spithead review, note that the forward gun turret has been replaced by a missile launcher. When this photo was taken the boilers were off-line so she was towed out to her mooring and the port side was painted with red lead paint!
(photo courtesy of Steve Dickinson)

Arethusa F38 Highland Tour 1978 from Brittania

F38 in 1978 photographed from the Royal Yacht Brittania with HM The Queen in the foreground while F38's crew cheer the Queen's ship. I believe this photo was taken by the late Lord Lichfield, apparently HRH was wearing her slippers when this was taken.
(photo courtesy of Roy Heald WEM(r) )

Arethusa F38 Leaving Portsmouth 1979

F38 leaving Pompey in 1979 outbound for a tour of the Far East.
(photo courtesy of Steve Dickinson)

F38 in the Azores

F38 in the Azores during the late 1980's for refuelling
(photo courtesy of Dave Wilkinson)

F38 from the ship's helicopter

A nice photo of F38 from (presumably) the ship's helicopter, the caption reads "West Bay 1966"
(photo courtesy of Arethusa Association)

Arethusa March 1984

F38 closing to fuel (from RFA Grey Rover) during exercise United Effort from Norfolk (VA) to Norway, March 1984
(photo courtesy of Arethusa Association)

F38 after IKARA conversion

Nice aerial view of F38, an official RN photo, click on the image for a higher resolution image or click here for a 1280x1024 image, if you'd like a larger image please ask me via email, thanks to a 2.50 purchase on eBay I have a 5k x 4k scan of the original 10"x8" print of this image on file, take this to your local D&P store and you will get a nice print.
(photo courtesy of Martin Mitchell)

F38 Leaving Portsmouth 1979 with HMS Sheffield in the background.
(photo courtesy of Steve Dickinson)


In 1990/1991 the Admiralty decided that HMS Arethusa was to be used as a target vessel for various weapons in the Western Approaches.

On a fine bright morning, the 5th June 1991, Arethusa was attacked by missiles and guns from four ships, by a helicopter-launched missile, two torpedoes and two depth charges, and by bombs dropped from fixed wing aircraft.

It is a great tribute to her builders, Sammy White's at Cowes, that the old lady put up a prolonged fight. She finally gave up the unequal struggle and slid beneath the waves.

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