Not even the timely intervention by the Royal Navy in the Libya crisis has been enough to make the government reconsider a cut in the number of fleet escorts. Despite her prominent role in emergency evacuation of nationals and subsequent UN naval blockade, HMS Cumberland duly returned to Devonport a month later than planned for disposal. She was formally decommissioned on 23 June.

She followed HMS Campbeltown into retirement. Prior to leaving the fleet on 7 April, the frigate called at the Scottish town she is named after and also Falmouth to embark veterans of Operation Chariot, the legendary commando raid launched by her predecessor in March 1942.

The ‘greatest raid of all’ saw the obsolete destroyer, packed with explosives, wreck a heavily defended dry-dock at St Nazaire, rendering it useless to the German Navy.


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